Nothing less than two of the most acclaimed acts out there nowadays, together in a collaborative project with a new attractive artist, such as Igor Krugutolov, and a young label with an outstanding prior release and a promising future added to the mix, and the cocktail can do no wrong! This collaboration CD was created by Bastard Noise, Igor Krugotolov, and Chaos as Shelter. Bastard Noise is the noise project of ex-Man member Eric Wood, Igor Krutogolov is known for his project Agnivolok, and Chaos as Shelter is known for their multitude of releases on various labels such as Crowd Control and Drone. This CD contains a strange mix of noise and folky sounds (singing and traditional instruments). An interesting scheme composed of 5 tracks with an interesting progressive content where the Pythagoras-inspired channel between geometry and inner/outer harmony finds its way. With more than an hour of recorded stuff and such a small number of tracks, you can easily infer that all of them are long ones. All but the introductory one, where we can find some static noise, scrap manipulation and serene, ritualistic, monastic-like male chants that increase its intensity along the almost 4 minutes it lasts. Surpasses expectations.
First Impressions being what they are tend to form the cast you use to mold any subsequent encounters. With Chaos As Shelter this means that memories of “Midnight Prayer / Illusion” prime my instincts for a descent into some dark and spiritual waters. The scent of age and runish script is not all that unfamiliar to “The Geometry of Soul” but the shapes and angles are much more obtuse than expected, no doubt due to the influence of the other two collaborators. Bastard Noise is quite self-evident, his name a truism as far as his sonic outline is concerned. Igor Krutogolov is an unknown element to me so the exact nature of his contributions are not well determined.The disc opens with “Point Of No Return” which in different circumstances could suggest an odd mastering related accident at the pressing plant. I say this because the components fit easily into the Chaos As Shelter mythos – hymns, resonant low end swells, found sound, mostly what one would expect from prior interactions. What is less familliar is a frequency dependent distortion that lays fully across the the peaks of the recording like a crispy coasting of charcoal and shiny aluminum shards. I like it, the dryness and sparkle it adds lends a certain stress to the piece but it is very much an external treatment as opposed to an integral component.
The liner notes nor the label’s website expand at all on the process leading to this release but I am going to risk eating my own sweaty foot by laying the core of the second track at the doorstep of Bastard Noise. The microphone dangling in front of the PA monitors here seems thoroughly uncomfortable staying put in any position for than a brief moment. The resonant frequency locked onto my by the wandering mic placement is constantly whipping about but if you can brave the initial invasiveness of it, it becomes more glassy and musical as the track’s other components move up through the ranks into the foreground. Around this squeaky merry-go-round is a gang of slowly lumbering swells which meet with a burst of distortion before going their separate ways to the holy lands.
“Triangle” is like the blowback from Genocide Organ with its high voltage thronging and reek of heavy industry. Perhaps this is Igor’s stylistic contribution and if so, bless his black heart for the much needed catharthis. Red eyes glowing through billowing acrid smoke this one is (and any other pretentious but satisfying phrases you like to use when describing pure industrial musics).
“Live” delves into drone based microsound and easily eats up two minutes before the listener is particularly aware of it. Tack on another 7 or 8 before it becomes apparent that this is a tricky deconstruction of some of the underlaying vocal samples throughout the disc. Overly glacial perhaps but hypnotic and if you have the patience to wait through the development cycle of tones that might have been programmed using a TI graphing calculator, you will find it quite beautiful.
The final track exits the previous calm immediately with a death industrial type seething that merges a low slung dread (hard and auto-panned sinusoids through a very digital sounding plate reverb) with a blurbling inner voice of irregular distortion squashed into the little bit of space at the back of the eye sockets. It’s quite menacing at times, not from any in your face aggro but due to the suggestion that you are about to lose mental control of normally repressed thoughts. Subtle and not without a lingering strength.
Chaos as Shelter were definitely the draw for me when I first pulled this from the envelope but the mingled influences here have created an equally satisfying hybrid of noise, pure industrial and spiritual ambient music. The range is wide enough to be hard to pitch this in a single direction but even without a super tight focus, it is a satisfying stylistic collision that has me circling the block for yet another look.