Nital Etch – ‘Simulacrum’
Nital Etch is a project out of Washington State, from a town considered by many to be a truly dreadful place. It is a morally, spiritually, and economically desolate landscape. The sound of Nital Etch seems to confirm that: One man with strings and some pedals creating the soundtrack to a nonexistent film, probably envisioning an unidentified rotting corpse lying dead in a ditch, only to be discovered months later because no one missed them. Hyperbole aside, I honestly think that this project would be doing movie soundtracks if it weren’t for all of the schmoozing involved. Incisions or Obsolescence are pieces that could have been used for the score to the Joker movie. The avenues of (dark) ambient, classical, and experimental electronics explored here can carry the rawness for a noise show, or the aptitude to present as an opener for Pamelia Kurstin. Simulacrum is a collection of highlights from previous recordings to date, all of which have yet to be released into the physical realm.
Credo In Deum – ‘Blood Soaked Sand’
Credo In Deum is the current chosen project name for one Massachusetts native Robert LaBarge, formerly known under the moniker “Buddhist on Fire”, among others. Buddhist on Fire was active at least from 2007 to 2011, although some of the audio files from his now defunct SEAM label, on archive.org, are dated as early as 1997 within the metadata of the ID3 tags. There is an admittedly obvious influence from the work of Muslimgauze throughout my excavations, and similar to Muslimgauze, Buddhist on Fire was wildly prolific, having at least 260 releases during a relatively short period of time. Another thing that occurred to me, was that there’s an apparent series called “Hell 365”, with each entry numbered “HELL-015” and so forth. This is to suggest that an “album”-length release was published every day for evidently at least one year. Of those that I saw, all of them were exceeding 60 minutes in length. Many tracks by Buddhist on Fire were percussive in nature, and it was this quality that I first found strikingly hypnotic when I discovered the project on a recycled tape from RRRECORDS around 2012. However, when I explored that vast catalog of works by this artist, I found a significant amount of work that was much more expansive, textural, definitively noisey, and generally experimental than what I’d expected. I initially wanted to include some material by Buddhist on Fire as part of “ESCHATOLOGY”, a 24 way split box set across 12 tapes that NO PART OF IT label was doing, but being that those cassettes were all limited to 20 minutes per side, and since many of the chosen tracks that I’d liked most were longer than 20 minutes by themselves, it became necessary to edit extensively. I came to learn (and this came to me from LaBarge himself) that all of these releases are not only available for free on archive.org, but they are also available to publish freely within the public domain. With that kind of freedom, and with LaBarge apparently AWOL after his one single illuminating reply to me, I meddled with some of the tracks, and I edited excerpts as best I could. I tried to cram the essence of what I thought would be the most representational tracks by Buddhist on Fire into 20 minutes of condensed and focused sound. You’ll find herein what I considered and chiseled down into a CD length release, including what I’d decided on for the ESCHATOLOGY compilation . It could have easily been two, or even three times as long, considering what I’d culled from several hours of listening. Here is a little sampler of the pieces I’ve found with what I think is that glaring creative “spark” that I think some of us helplessly gravitate towards. By the way, Robert LaBarge has since converted from Buddhism to Catholicism, and wishes for any future releases of his work to fall under the name “Credo In Deum”.
Trou – ‘Grjòthaugr’
“TROU” (meaning “hole” or “void” in French) is a project which has been active for around ten years. Grjòthaugr has been reissued from a lesser known cassette back in 2017. Like another favorite TROU tape, “Nebelsturm” (2012), Grjòthaugr is a hypnotic, loop-based, trance-inducing industrial noise/ambient release like no other I’ve heard. It’s hard to tell for sure what makes these three lengthy tracks remain compelling for 15 to 35 minutes each. It could be Reichian phasing, moderate adjustments of effects, very careful layering, or maybe some other methods, but whatever the case may be, these loops of unknown origin take us on a journey. Much like locked grooves, Grjòthaugr’s three simple loops welcome us into a void, where sounds change and mutate with the listener’s engagement, and can appear to transform dramatically with slight changes in positioning. Much has been said about minimalism in art, and many a minimalist risks more than others the stigma for falling short of anything beyond mediocre. Here, whether it is sourced from tape loops or direct signals, we have a glaring example of compelling minimalist experimental music and noise. TROU is also known for creating exemplary harsh noise and HNW, and their releases are often diverse and wide-ranging, but Grjòthaugr, one of the outliers in the project’s vast catalog, stands as a crowning achievement, obviously worthy of a wider audience.
Blood Rhythms – ‘Zerrissenheit’
Mainly what Arvo Zylo did with recording sessions playing on John Cage’s first prepared piano! It is worked over in his signature style of excessive layering and looping, and also features contributions from Dave Phillips, Bruce Lamont, and Blake DeGraw.
Thirteen Hurts – ‘Threshold’
THIRTEEN HURTS is the chosen project name of one rather elusive character who calls himself One-Eyed Zatoichi. Active for many years, and having released the well-received “UVB-76” on NO PART OF IT label before, we were given the go-ahead to release two prior full-lengths under the THIRTEEN HURTS moniker. Enthralling, almost soundtracky, heavy electronics with no noise swashes or synthesizers to speak of, listeners will no doubt enjoy the very unique and compelling work here, which was released in digipak CD format with almost no promotion.