with some new items from cold meat industry , Bizarre Uproar , the eastern front and more..
Happy to inform :
Topheth prophet will release the next album by French veteran unit Mourmansk 150.
these are fantastic news as M150 has been personal favorites of mine for a while.
No fucking compromise !!!
Nowhere 2 hide and nowhere 2 run Nowhere 2 hide and nowhere 2 run Liberation Liberation Genocide shall be done Genocide shall be done Genocide shall be done!!
“L’enfant qui n’apprend à l’école ni la morale, ni l’instruction civique ne comprendra pas plus tard qu’être citoyen ne signifie pas seulement avoir des droits.”
Nicolas Sarkozy, 2007 01 14
Welcome to the new version of Topheth prophet website. instead of writing the html myself I decided to move to wordpress platform that fits all I need and a lot more.
the distribution section was updated and a lot of the prices were reduced so check it out!
some news :
the next releases will be a new album by KADAVER and a wonderful collaboration album by Chaos as Shelter , Grundik + Slava and Igor Krutogolov. I will upload some tracks in the next few days.
Sadly, this is actually the second release from Topheth Prophet to hit my in-tray recently which involves people who are now dead. The first of these was This Time,,, It’s Cancer by Kadaver, which was originally scheduled for release on Slaughter Productions in early 2007, but which appeared on Topheth Prophet following the suicide of Marco Corbelli, founder of Slaughter Productions and Atrax Morgue. In the present case, the deceased party is not the prolific producer, sound engineer and musician Maor Appelbaum, who was Israeli-born but is currently resident in the USA and very much alive, but his collaborator Hollowing, a.k.a. Matt Gibney, who was also a member of SOIHADTOSHOOTHIM and the proprietor of Rectrix distro and label, who died in January 2006. Maybe all this death inescapably goes with the territory, given the morbid and shadowy musical netherworlds that artists like these inhabit, but still, it’s kind of depressing.
Collaborating Torture consists of one long 54-minute track, recorded by Matt Gibney in 2005 and then mixed and augmented by Maor Appelbaum. In this, it resembles Mourning Duet, Maor Appelbaum’s recent collaboration with Clint Listing of As All Die, which is also a single long composition. However, Collaborating Torture is an altogether darker work than Mourning Duet, with a sound situated somewhere between the black ambient of projects like Archon Satani, Shining Vril and Sistrenatus on the one hand, and the ineffably sinister conjurations of the Aural Hypnox stable on the other – a potent combination indeed.
The piece opens with distant, deep echoing tones and thick layers of forbidding drones coiling and tumbling over each other. A simple repeating chime keeps time, providing a rhythmic axis around which the ambient darkness swirls. Around the nine-minute mark, orchestral fanfares briefly evoke a martial atmosphere before being submerged back beneath the surface of the ongoing, restless whirlpool of reverberating beats echoing through the void. There are fragments of melody here and there, but nothing remotely approaching conventional song structure. The atmosphere remains resolutely obscure and baleful. After some jangling, distorted piano at around 18 minutes, Collaborating Torture moves into a more subdued middle phase. The steady chime is still there, but very much pushed into the background, and the noisy, chaotic beats of the piece’s early phase disappear. Long, eerie drones and sinister hisses predominate – whilst this is certainly quieter, it’s far from restful. Orchestral brass reappears at 26 minutes, inviting comparison to the ‘Macht Muzik’ of Polish act Horologium, although Horologium’s work tends to be much more stridently rhythmic than this. At 31 minutes, a sequence of mid-frequency tones cut through the thick layers of low-end bass rumble, shortly followed by stray, isolated guitar notes. Orchestral chords fade in and out of the sludgy, enveloping, almost suffocatingly thick ambience which oozes from the speakers like a fat black flow of bitumen. The piano reappears, tuneless and remote. After some minutes of quieter, more subdued drones, the music becomes more insistent and overwhelming at around 41 minutes. Overlapping waves of noise build in intensity, as the piece moves relentlessly toward its endgame. At 45 minutes, assertive church organ chords appear, and the orchestral brass reappears before the piece fades to silence.
Collaborating Torture is an intensely bleak work, likely to appeal to those who are seeking out the most effectively immersive work the dark ambient genre has to offer. But be warned, this is a trip that only fearless and experienced psychic voyagers will want to take. If you’re not ready to dive in at the deep end and cosy up to the dwellers of the abyss, then give this one a miss.
“Collaborating Torture” was created through the collaboration of two artists who shared a dark ambient vision; the increasingly prolific Israeli Maor Appelbaum (Grave In The Sky, Poochlatz and many others) and Rectrix Records founder Matt Gibney’s solo project Hollowing. Gibney, who also recorded with SOIHADTOSHOOTHIM, sadly passed away shortly after the pair completed the album and before they could meet up in person. After two years, Topheth Prophet and Heart & Crossbone Records jointly release the album that the two of them created from their shared vision.
Consisting of a single 54 minute track full of heavy, dark drones, “Collaborating Torture” is a haunting, shifting mass of sound that evolves, expands and contracts as it progresses. Layered drones intersect as chimes gently ring out and voices from another dimension call out from deep within the rumbling depths of sound. Although less bassy than most drone based recordings, “Collaborating Torture” focuses more on a sweeping, swirling maelstrom of encircling sound that encapsulates and cocoons. Adding to the more atmospheric and ethereal aspects are creaking, chinking, chiming little sounds that resemble movement and activity in the shadows while dominant layered drones and obscured ritualistic chants sweep all around in dark swathes. After building and building the layers of sound, they are stripped away and, while the earthquake-like drones rumble beneath the feet, the sound opens up, the chants and delicate chimes become clearer as if observing some ancient ritual deep in an underground cavern with painted symbols and burning torches. As sounds build and fall again, the addition of short passages of acoustic guitar and rattling percussion can be made out amongst the murky layers.
Although “Collaborating Torture” is heavy, dark and oppressive, the feeling it creates is more atmospheric than disturbing. The ever-present layers of droning sound rumble constantly accompanied by monk-like chants deep within. The addition of small slithers of sound bring light and a glimmer of hope to a grim landscape that flits between lengthy segments of relative calm and short phases of disquiet and unrest.
To be honest: I never heard of Matt Gibney, musician and labelowner of
Rectrix, and so his passing away in January 2006 went unnoticed by me. Not by Maor Appelbaum from Israel, with whom he shared ideas and worked together. Appelbaum before worked with Maurizio Bianchi but in Gibney he found another lover of anything dark. In the fifty-four minutes that span this disc the two walk the darkest paths available in music. From the rattling of bells at the beginning to the more spacious paths in the middle end, things remain grim and dark. Industrial music for sure, but the industries are longer at work here. It’s a bleak, empty, barely lit landscape that once had activity, but it’s no longer there. Everything is gone and the nuclear fall out is heavily amplified by these two men. Rain drops become small but effective bombs, falling on rusty metal sheets that are on the floor of an empty warehouse. This is not pleasant music, but then that was never the idea, I assume. It’s highly effective music at work here. Deep bass rumbling, mean high end sounds and other means are put to work here. Quite an achievement, I’d say, and surely not of the weak minded. If depression isn’t there, it may such things after hearing this. Nice, I’d say, although I wouldn’t want to hear this every day, but this hard to swallow pill needs to be taken, at least every now and then. (FdW)
Here is a collaboration between Maor Appelbaum, an artist I am unfamiliar with and the late Matt Gibney’s project The Hollowing. For those of you who do not remember the contributions that Matt made to the noise scene, he ran the excellent dark noise (when such a term had relevance) label The Rectrix who released debut albums from such artists as Chaos As Shelter and Wilt. I did have a chance to witness The Hollowing live many years ago but this collaboration leans in a much different direction then the insanity I witnessed that night.
Collaborating Torture is probably first and foremost a drone album, although many of the elements here seem a bit dated, harkening back to the late 90’s dark noise sound. Echoing drum beats, creepy synth melodies, noisy bell sounds and tons and tons of reverb are some of what you will find here. As so much of that music did, this carries on many of these ideas a bit longer then they warrant interest which is a little disappointing. Consisting of one, long, 54 minute track, Collaborating Torture certainly would be a stronger piece of it had been condensed down into about 30 minutes.
There are moments here where I am drawn in, the first 10 minutes are dynamic, shifting synth sounds, more organic and concrete elements that work nicely. The noisier melodies are somewhat repetitive and so forgettable that being forced to hear them over and over again just magnifies the redundancy to a place where it definitely should not be. On top of that the drums that don’t really sound like anything more then echoing standard drum kit sounds just add to the monotony.
Around 18 minutes in things finally die down a bit and are able to breath to provide a thankful respite. The ambient elements here are a little more airy and undulate in a character that is quite pleasing. There is definitely a lot of thought put into these tracks, even in the quieter parts there are detailed layers strategically placed to form a carefully composed ambience which works for multiple listens. Eventually the track works up into more abstract and atonal melodies, drifting and creepy.
The production here is one thing that I have a problem with. Since a similar effect is used throughout the disc the frequency range is in the same place and it seems that the ultra high and low frequencies are softened so, that their barely audible. Everything is forced into the mid range by the noisy reverb which is applied, and which also adds that riding-in-an-airplane aspect to the track which makes it quite difficult to endure. I feel that if some different types of reverb were used, maybe some delay instead, or just a focus on dry mixing some of the elements the disc would have been much more effective.
It makes sense that this disc really sounds like it should have been released 10 years ago, and it probably would have made much more of an impact back then. But at this point it seems like most of the methods used here are “old tricks” that have come and gone and now are used much more tastefully by current artists. Not to say this is a bad track it just sounds quite dated. I’d recommend this to people interested in old-school dark noise like Gruntsplatter, Wilt, Murderous Vision, etc.
Next album from the Tropheth Prohpet label presents the Italian collaborative project, consisting of Federico Esposito and Mauro Sciaccaluga, that both originates from the hardcore punk-scene. In the UR-project, the two composers move into more introvert sound spheres of claustrophobic ambient noise. Containing four lengthy pieces of dark compositions, the expression is first of all built on thick drones that emerge from a combination of subdued noises, distant sounds of voices and industrial sounds. The atmosphere is apocalyptic and dark, with a psychedelic touch that sometimes reminds of earliest Pink Floyd thanks to the frequent use of distorted guitars and acid-like electronic soundscapes, especially on the final track “Happy hour (abattoir lounge)”. Where the first reviewed split-album was extremely upfront in style, this album demands for more deeply listening
Trieb is very satisfyingly grim, suffocating & dank excise in murky old school industrial, damed electro-acoustic, barren ambience and noise matter. As the album progresses you are pushed deeper and deeper into a subterranean, decaying and clanking hell hole.
The project was set up in 2003 by two Italians Federico Esposito and Mauro Sciaccaluga who Surprisingly are from a hardcore-punk background and have been in the following bands: Heartside, Never Was, Downright, Kafka & Stalker. There were joined in 2005 by Andrea Ferraris who has worked in many Italian hardcore, indie and post rock bands. Trieb is the projects third releases and the first wider available release after two ltd CDR releases. To create their sound the trio use a mix of; multiple electric bass’s, Theremin, violin, various pedals, cymbal and percussive matter, electronics and field recordings. Through out they managed to conjure up a very tangible nasty and brooding atmosphere that’s often dense airless and hopeless- full with clunking percussion, doomed black bass lines and general black/oppressive sonic matter. I can really see people who enjoy the likes of Wolf Eyes and The Skull Defekts at there more dense and suffocating really diging this.
Unforgiving in it’s grim, dank and nasty atmosphere yet hypnotic and bleakly compelling, Thrieb is a highly accomplished and rewarding ride- check out Ur myspace for a taster of Thrieb grim sonic fruits.
Ur is an Italian trio hailing from Genoa, and consisting of Federico Esposito, Mauro Sciaccaluga and Andrea Ferraris, who between them have musical backgrounds ranging from hardcore punk to experimental post-rock. Their fourth full-length Trieb, which is released on the Israeli experimental label Topheth Prophet, contains four lengthy tracks (lengths ranging from ten to 17 minutes) of improvisational drone-based ambient, with the instrumentation used including contact mics, violin, two bass guitars, pedals and effects, percussion, samples and field recordings, resulting in a nice balance between acoustic and electronic sounds, something like the Polish project Hati or the Swedish trio Keplers Odd (both reviewed elsewhere in Judas Kiss).
‘The Belly Of The Earth Is Open Wide’ opens with a steady siren-like oscillating tone underpinning deep shifting drones, the siren cutting through the bass and lending an air of tension and anxiety. Various metal percussion is heard, with a steady build in volume towards the middle of the track. Ur’s percussive approach is similar to that of Tomasz Krakowiak. Past the midpoint, the sound thins out into bleak mid-frequency drones punctuated by loose percussion, a bit like some Moljebka Pvlse or Beyond Sensory Experience. The mood of the track is uncomfortable, but not excessively dark. ‘Recurring Dream’ initially maintains a similar feel, with steady background drones overlaid with busy squalls of electronic pulses and shrill whistles, though the later half of the track is noisier and harsher, with drones flaring up into waves of muffled roaring and some heavily distorted vocals (I think) and chuckling discernible at points. ‘The Room Of Wounds’, the album’s longest track, is much calmer than its predecessors, opening with a steady low circuit hum and disconnected, reverberating bass guitar notes -this track especially reminded me of the guitar-based ambient drone of Keplers Odd. After a few minutes of this low-key approach, the sound thickens slightly with the addition of some background drone, but the desultory plucked bass continues, interspersed with metallic scrapings and rumbles. There are indiscernible processed vocals and mysterious rattling sounds. The track has an exhausted, desolate feel to it. The closing track ‘Happy Hour (Abattoir Lounge)’ has fewer incidental noises, being more concerned with Nordvargr-style smoothly overlapping layers of drones and thin, attenuated shards of feedback.
Ur’s blend of avant-garde experimental rock jams with drone-based black ambient appeals on a number of different fronts, though I like the tracks with percussion more than the ones without. Trieb is a limited-edition CD release of 300 copies, and it comes in an oversize black and white card sleeve, which opens right to left, Hebrew-style.
Ur is a fairly new industrial music project having been formed in early 2005 by Italian musicians Federico Esposito and Mauro Sciaccaluga. Since the inception of the project Andrea Ferraris has joined the ranks of Ur flushing out the all Italian crew. Drawing upon the experience of these three accomplished musicians Ur transcends musical boundaries allowing each musician to draw upon their previous experience in the multifaceted Italian hardcore, industrial and power electronics scene.
Ur’s musical identity can be traced back to the origins of industrial music as it emerged in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s through the visions of such bands as Throbbing Gristle, SPK and Non. Like these early industrial music pioneers Ur also emphasizes musical improvisations and has likewise utilized live music events to further develop and explore the projects sound and identity. Like many of their old school industrial peers Ur also seeks to pair the musical side of their project with the feral and unpredictable aspects of improvisational exploration. Trieb is the fourth commercial release by Ur following previous albums released on the emerging Romanian label Mask Of Slave and the ever prolific Italian label Afe Records. Trieb sees Ur partnering with Israeli allies Topeth Prophet records who have become established as one of Israel’s premier industrial labels. This cross cultural global partnership is testimony to the diversity and friendship that pervades the international industrial scene.
The music on Trieb is heavily influenced by improvisation and lends itself to rather long songs the shortest being just over ten minutes and the longest track running well over seventeen minutes. The improvisational nature of some elements of the music make good use of the generous song length and the song length also adds to the feeling of listening to a more organic live performance rather than a studio recording. The four songs that comprise the album are built around elements of dark ambient, industrial, drone, and power electronics with no one element becoming too dominate. Instrumentation and sound sources range wildly from such traditional acoustic elements as bass guitar and violin to more abstract media such as field recordings, samples, mic techniques and the ever present array of effects and modifications. The resulting sound is quite holographic and three dimensional in stereo though I found the same quality lacking when I listened on moderate priced headphones. The mixture of electronics and acoustic generated sounds makes for an interesting mix of contrasting elements at play.
Trieb begins with the opening song “The Belly Of The Earth Is Open Wide” which begins with a oscillating sound wave that creates an unsettling atmosphere of cold tension. Slow waves of crescendoing dark ambience emerge from the background and traces of the bass strings can be heard amidst the swelling waves giving the sound an acoustic signature and a bit of warmth. This union of electric and acoustic sound continues to evolve while high pitch tones erupt and fade and distorted voices struggle to break free from the dominance of the background ambience before being consumed whole by the rumbling jumbled waves of bass. Random sounds are mixed in throughout the length of the song as the emphasis remains on atmosphere and the creation of a subterranean mood. The music contorts and evolves unsettled and frenetic sounding like the creaking haul of an abandoned freight ship and some half dead mechanical animal in death throes all at once. There is an authentic sense of psychic darkness as if the authors of the music are intentionally delving into less explored aspects of both music and psyche. I found that on my home stereo at medium volume the music was completely engulfing and I found myself fully immersed for the entire thirteen plus minutes of this lengthy song.
“Recurring Dream” follows the nocturnal visions of its predecessor with muted industrial sounds and disjointed sounds that slowly build in volume as the song takes shape. The song structure begins rather loose and improvisational compared to the more predictable nature of the previous track. Immediately noticeable is the random nature of the sounds and the inconsistency in the pairing of sounds. The previous emphasis on flow has been abandoned for a far more complex attempt at pairing diverse and much more angular sounds into a common soundscape. Sounds are roughly layered upon one another only occasionally finding cadence. There is also a more aggressive tone to the music that is more akin to the power electronics scene than its dark ambient or industrial cousins. The music excellerates into a powerful improvisational journey that at times is fluid and engaging and at others challenging and dominating. The use of some old school oscillating effects and the shear force of some of the sounds will give some familiarity to industrial and power electronics listeners but the over all mixing of the cocktail is rather signature to Trieb albeit not totally original.
“The Room Of Wounds ” opens with a very improvisational beginning that grabbed my interest immediately. Here we hear something distinctly not industrial, dark ambient or power electronics in nature. drawing upon a more electro-acoustic approach Trieb deliver a sonic adventure filled with layers of carefully placed sounds that create a jagged musical narrative that feels at once delicate and imaginative. The heavy handed approach of earlier songs is abandoned as sounds are placed far apart on the sound stage with plenty of room between. Instruments and samples have clear distinction allowing for a truly three dimensional sound stage in which the listener feels as if they are in the studio with the artists. The music takes on an almost ritual tone in its careful construction with random sounds giving way to one another with some twisting and howling while others mumble and rumble. The the sound of bass strings and scraping metal are expertly paired alongside random mic feeds and industrial static. While one musical element drones on meditatively another contorts through spasms of distortion. The resulting tapestry is primal and immersive. Half way through the song you barely notice almost ten minutes have passed. Ur takes the listener out of the delicate bliss of the first half of the song and administers a bit of pain the second half by migrating the song into a denser stew of sound driven by industrial drones and darker musical elements that abandon the airy expanses of the first half and take the listener into more murky musical waters for a dark ending.
The last rack of four titled “Happy Hour (Abattoir Lounge)” begins with a rumbling background of industrial unrest and various high pitch drones cresting over the surface of the industrial rumblings. The mood is once again cold and a bit technical like the moments at an industrial show when the musician heads into self indulgent playing leaving the audience behind. The sound here is challenging and will be easier to digest for noise and power electronics fans. I found my tolerance wavering as the song progressed as musical punishment isn’t quite my thing. There is a true sense of distress and discomfort communicated through the music with the high pitched layers continuing to build into an almost unbearable wall of squealing sound. The only redeeming element the listener has to hold onto is the fluctuating rumblings of the obscure bass in the background of the song. Near the end of this epic track voices get thrown into the blender with the rest of the sounds but they don’t add much to the song in terms of substance as the lyrics are completely indistinguishable. “Happy Hour (Abattoir Lounge)” brings the album to a close with a very noisy finale.
Trieb is definitely recommended for those looking to explore the hybridization that is currently occurring in the industrial music scene. Its refreshing to see musicians breaking down genre boundaries and exploring music for the sake of music instead of making music for a specific music scene or genre. This emphasis on musical hybridization and improvisation may be challenging for some listeners but for those of us who have neared exhausting many of the familiar genres Trieb will be welcomed as innovators who are striving to define the new direction of industrial music bringing it back home to its roots while freeing it from the confines of genre restriction at the same time.
The Topheth Prophet label is relatively new (started around 2002) and, most special, hails from Israel! This label promotes the local noise scene to be heard in to the rest of the world. Didn’t know they had a noise community there. The focus of this label is in the noise, power electronics and dark-ambient field.
Ur is actually an Italian project from Federico Esposito, Mauro Sciaccaluga and Andrea Ferraris (who came in later), with their first release in 2005.
The music and aesthetic of Ur is very much grounded in the industrial origins of the 70’s and relies a lot on improvisation. Though it’s nice to know were they are coming from with their music, it does from time to time drags along. The album consists of four songs, with each around 15 minutes in length, and for some of the tracks, that’s pretty long. It’s all nicely done but I miss some tension those bands in the 70’s did have. I think it’s more interesting to see them perform live. Not that this is a bad album in any way, but I miss some real inventive touches. The album just goes and then stops, and doesn’t have a real standout moment. It’s a nice release, but nothing too special. But time will tell with their next output.
A split disc, with one long track by the Swedish trio Moljebka Pvlse, five by the Israeli duo, Seventeen Migs of Spring and one shared.
Moljebka Pvlse is Karin Jacobsen (bells, thunder tubes, walking on leaves, Styrofoam), Mathias Josefson (field recordings, electronics, mix) and Martin Nordin (violin) and their pieces here are fascinating. This whole general area of processed field recordings has become fairly crowded in the last couple of years and even solid works can get lost in the shuffle so hearing something like the opening 27-minute piece, “Ravha”, is a real joy. The “walking on leaves” accreditation above might seem a tad precious but those sounds are major ingredients here, along with transportation hub hubbub (including the recordist explaining himself to a passerby), abstract industrialiana and a huge sense of space. The violin comes lurching, sawing into the scene, eventually carving out a plaintive line amidst the bang of metallic sheets, soft bells and a distant argument. It ends with some whistles and quietly clattered metal; wonderful piece. The collaborative track is a fine, understated rumble, well-molded.
The four participants in Seventeen Migs of Spring gather under the noms K-76, Gurfa, B-74 and Discord, wielding, one presumes, an array of electronics. It sounds as though field recordings are also present, though they’re worked into drones and kneaded into the largely dark, brooding ambience on the first cut featuring only this quartet. Others, like “Alternative Current”, evoke mid 60s tape pioneers like Raaijmakers and Koenig (I’ve encountered a good deal of this sort of sound lately, a reinvestigation of that decade’s electronic avant-garde), complete with blooping swirls, low burbling growls and quasi-metallic clangs, though rather more aggressively than their forebears and lacking much poetry of those earlier works. The pieces are effective enough at what they shoot for, it’s just that I find their somewhat claustrophobic character of less intrinsic interest than the spaciousness created by Moljebka Pvlse. Mileage may vary for different listeners, though; the Migs do what they do well.
Well worth hearing, especially for that fine, fine “Ravha”.
It’s amazing how much we as humans take for granted the full spectrum of our sensory cues (especially sight followed by hearing) in order to enable us to navigate and make sense of the world around us– so imagine the sense of displacement and separation should any of us lose the use of our eyes, the prime sensory organ. While we can do without touch, smell and taste (and hearing to a degree) and not suffer too much, it’s that convergence between sight and sound especially that helps us to locate ourselves within a spacial framework. Take away the visual cues and suddenly the world becomes a strange place; it may as well be another planet entirely.
The preceding long-winded preamble does have a point; Moljebka Pvlse’s drone and field recording pieces are a good illustration of how the world becomes that strange place without the benefit of sight. ‘Rahva’, the twenty-six minute opening track, is indeed another planet, where even the sound of a lone mournful trumpet takes on a disturbingly unfamiliar colour and shade. The same goes for the dog barking in ‘Calm Gardens (at night)’, the track created by MP along with K-76, Gurfa and B-74 of SMoS; the apparently dichotomous simultaneity of the familiar and yet unfamiliar. By isolating commonplace sounds like voices and everyday life and weaving them around subtle drones and tones the pieces detach themselves from what we take for granted and are removed from their proper places. We are encouraged to reassess our relationship with both the mundane sounds and noises that are a part of our everyday experience. This seems to be MP’s particular forte, the ability to shift sound sideways and make it seem as if we are experiencing them for the first time.
The five pieces that comprise Seventeen Migs of Spring’s evocatively titled suite ‘Electricity Gardens’ are aptly named; serried ranks of pylons marching across miles and miles of fields or the buzzing flowers of conductors and transformers in the walled beds of the ubiquitous substations. Metallic boings, clangs, buzzes and hums crackle with a barely contained energy that just wants to break out; despite the uninspiring and unpromising track titles the pieces surprise with an animation and power entirely in keeping with the subject matter.
Again, we can hark back to the point I made about Moljebka Pvlse’s pieces: the point about taking things for granted. Electricity is such a major part of our everyday lives that we almost cease to function as a civilisation when it suddenly stops flowing. In the same way that we take our eyes for granted we also do the same with that light-switch, never once stopping to think how we would cope without either of these essential elements. I may be miles off in my interpretation; however given the current concerns with energy generation and its future then I think it’s entirely natural to entertain this train of thought.
A quietly thought-provoking CD, created by very different sound-artists who nevertheless know how to shepherd their materials to conjure up the right atmosphere and images in order to set off thought-patterns that help instigate re-evaluation and reassessment. This one’s definitely a keeper…
This split release between Sweden’s Moljebka Pvlse and Israel’s Seventeen Migs of spring seems to revolve around the concept that electricity is an enveloping part of our environment, in all but the most remote regions of our planet. The artists choose one unifying factor to make their point, which is field recordings, but overall the two use divergent means of expression.
Moljebka Pvlse, in this case are represented by a three piece band. Apart from mainstay Mathias Jacobson, Maria Nordin appears on violin. Karin Jacobson is credited with bells, thunder tube and walking in leaves on styrofoam. Their album-side length opener, Ravha, is without question the standout track here. Everything which follows appears relatively insignificant in comparison, not that the rest of the album is at all bad. The track at its inception is made up of all found sounds, collaged in such a way to make music of everyday sounds, whether it be public address systems or abstract electrical current hum.
What is especially intriguing is the fact that, though they are assembled for forward motion, the sounds don’t sound fussed with or overly modified in the studio. The act of using environmental sounds in the Cage-ian spirit that music is natural and needn’t be created by traditional instruments is certainly nothing new. But Moljebka Pvlse appoint these sounds with a refreshing lack of adornment, and a willingness to let the elements speak for themselves. They don’t make an attempt to shape them for their own means. And that’s just the first half of the piece. One would think that the addition of musical elements would be at odds with the tone of Ravha, but it works surprisingly well. The violin, in particular, melds nicely with the background sounds.
So, yes, the rest of the album pales in comparison to this towering achievement. Seventeen Migs of Spring offer five tracks here, and they seem more interested in the bluster of electricity. They attack these pieces, credited as Electricity Gardens, with fuzzy noise, and a more abstract focus. Their music is bold and arresting in the beginning, but after a few minutes, becomes a bit tiresome. This album is worth owning in the very least for its exceptional first half. Any joy that can be gleaned from the second half is merely a bonus.
I came across this project a couple of years ago and it happened because of themes of Barzel that provoked huge discussions here and there throughout the internet. As a matter of fact I was rather surprised too because this artist from USA, armed with pro-zionistic ideas, side by side with all the other politically oriented projects in the power electronics scene, takes a rather unique position. This album (amalek of all the many meanings it has, also means enemies of the Israel) “Born to Destroy Amalek” is the latest release of his, made on Israeli based label Topheth Propheth. It is the second album in the discography of the artist and it took five years to complete it since the debut one. It’s not new that releases that deal with extreme political attitudes are often depreciated “in principle” or so. I am not jewish and I will never fully understand the idea spreaded by Barzel, but by that what I see and what I hear, I can form an opinion that it is clearly fullfilled – beginning with the design of this album (the cover leaves no questions) and ending with almost full hour of hateful odes of power electronics, dedicated to enemies of Israel and to Israel itself. The sounds that I hear here are more dark philosophical thoughts than plain and straightforward brutality. The most aggressive song is “Born to Destroy Amalek”. Under thick shell of noises the title of the song is repeated like a mantra over and over again. In the very end of this song the sound becomes calmer and ends with several layers of samples and one unbinding phrase – “And the war went on”. Everything else in this album – gloomy visions, rich with samples, mostly from speeches and reports with the main idea – revenge. For the biggest part the mood itself is created because of these samples because the vocal is not used in so many songs. E.g. the song “Ha’ Shomer (The Guard)”. The sound – pulsating synth and two samples being braided on top of it. Two eyes for an eye, teeth for a tooth… Another such example – the last song in the album – “We Shall Wash Our Feet In The Blood Of The Wicked”. On moody musical/noisy background one idea is declared that the revenge is an important value. And yes, I wouldn’t like to describe one and every piece in this album – it is a bunch of dismal incitement for revenge, wishes of strength to Israel, slow, dark songs, from time to time dissecting ears with noisy salvos. Non typical, good and really powerful album the idea of which I see fully completed.
Written by Simon Collins
Power electronics is always highly aggressive, angry music, but it’s quite rare for that anger to be focused into a coherent ideological programme beyond the moral nihilism and misogyny which many power electronics acts indulge in. The New York-based project Barzel is a notable exception to this general rule, declaiming “Enemies of ZOG Beware!”, offering “Industrial Strength Zionism” and advocating a radical pro-Israeli stance. Born To Destroy Amalek is Barzel’s second album, following their debut release A Shield Of Defense And The Word Of The Son of Blood, also on Israeli label Topheth Prophet. ‘Amalek’ is a name traditionally used to refer to enemies of the Jewish people. Barzel’s MySpace page carries quotations from Meir Kahane, who, for those who don’t know, was an American rabbi, founder of the Jewish Defence League, and who held ultra-Zionist views which made him, roughly speaking, the Jewish equivalent of Ian Paisley.
It’s only fair to point out that I personally do not share Barzel’s pro-Zionist stance – like most of the people who stand outside this particular arena of conflict, I see wrongs being perpetrated by both Palestinians and Israelis in what seems like an endless cycle of violence and retribution. I spent some time in Israel in the early 90s, during the Intifada, and I’ve never seen so many guns in my life. So, having noted where Barzel is coming from, ideologically speaking, I’ll confine myself to talking about the music, which probably makes me a wimp and a coward, but hey, I’ll probably get a pro-Palestinian release to review next week, so I’d like to preserve some neutrality.
Born To Destroy Amalek contains ten tracks, weighing in at 56 minutes. After ‘Zion Ascendant’, a brief intro using vocal samples, the listener is pitched headlong into the
rumbling flamethrower gouts of combative noise and ear-splitting high frequencies of ‘Through Clouds Of Fire’. ‘Lone Wolves Of Zion’ is more restrained and minimal, with a chopping helicopter-like pulse rhythm providing a backdrop for heavily distorted vocals. The title track ‘Born To Destroy Amalek’ follows, with the title repeatedly spat out through a barrage of noise and feedback – a convincingly belligerent track, although British listeners are apt to find that a distorted mechanical voice shouting “Destroy!” conjures images of Daleks, rather than Israelites! ‘Ha’Shomer (The Guard)’ offers a quiet place of respite, with vocal samples arranged over a background drone: “Two eyes for an eye, teeth for a tooth.” ‘New Sicarii’, the longest track at over eight minutes, opens with what sounds like extremely distorted bass guitar, before moving into rhythmic loops of penetrating mid-frequency tones and corrosive buzzing. ‘Victory’ is an echo-filled composition of bass rumbles and vocal samples, ‘This Land Is Our Land (Greater Israel)’ overlays incessant loop rhythms with harsh, jagged eruptions of vocals and deep throbs, and ‘One Truth, Not Two’ returns to a more typical power electronics sound, with daunting sheets of textural noise and vocal samples. The album closes with ‘…We Shall Wash Our Feet In The Blood Of The Wicked’”, a lengthy piece which harks back to the restrained drones of ‘Ha’Shomer (The Guard)’.
Overall, Born To Destroy Amalek is an above average release, varied enough to sustain interest and with righteous anger to burn, with ‘Through Clouds Of Fire’ and ‘New Sicarii’ being the highlights of the set. It’s likely to find favour in the power electronics scene regardless of its political message. People who enjoy Slogun, Con-Dom, Fire In The Head, Streicher, Grunt or Sektion B will enjoy Barzel as well. The album comes in a nice matt-finish softpack, with a front-cover image of a muscular arm wielding a sword in defence of the Star of David. Copies ordered directly from Topheth Prophet also come with a bonus 3” disc containing one extra track.
For those of you not in “the know” Barzel is a extremist Zionist power electronics unit twisting the more traditional conservative white power extremist stance that many pe projects espouse and putting his own Jewish Orthodox spin on things. This album comes at an interesting time to me as I just finished watching the film “Paradise Now” about 2 suicide bombers on the Palestinian side of things and the issues they faced while deciding their own fate. Now I get a taste of the “occupiers” side of things and it seems a bit harsh.
The general sound here is quite a lo-fi one, but there’s a lot of open space and room to breath in this recording which you don’t find as often in lo-fi recordings like this. The material in parts is as minimalist as the great power electronics project Death Squad, but at other times like in “Victory” I am reminded more of Morder Machine, good company for sure.
There are 10 tracks that make up Born to Destroy Amalek and I enjoy every one just fine. Some of the shorter tracks which feature political spoken word samples are mixed a bit too loud and the editing is somewhat shoddy on them, but they break things up and offer a little more depth to the concept so I tend not to mind them too much. The great thing about Born to Destroy Amalek is that it offers a good balance between pure power, harshness, and stranger more creative experimental styles which add much unique flavor to the album and make it more then just another pure pe release.
Probably the track that stands out the most due to the strange sounds is “This Land Is Our Land (Greater Israel)” which features a strange little repeating synth loop combined with yelled/almost whispered vocals, blasts of white noise, and a gurgling synth. The elements almost don’t even seem to match but there’s a few moments in Born to Destroy Amalek in which this is the case so it ties into the rest of the album succinctly.
As far as pure power goes the mark is hit in the title track “Born to Destroy Amalek” with the vocals just being very passionate and the noise which meshes together with competency being quite dynamic and varied. “New Sicarii” is yet another powerful track with strange alternating currents humming in a semi-rhythmic fashion to form a thick wall of hate.
The great thing about Born to Destroy Amalek is that it easily culls multiple listens with it’s variety of sounds and diversity of styles. I’m not really into the concepts as much here but they are presented with taste and focus both of which I can appreciate. As my first exposure to Barzel I am pleasantly satisfied and will be keeping an eye out for further propaganda issued by this artist.
“And lo! On the eighth day God said ‘I perceive that it’s much too quiet around here…’ and so he divined that he should createth some noise. And lo! To cover up the quiet, God created he him Barzel. Perceiving Barzel and his works, God saith; “I have given life to Barzel to cover the quiet with noise, and I perceive that it is GOOD noise!’”
Indeed, judging from this latest opus from the Israeli noise-maker, he is also God’s appointed archangel of sonic destruction, laying to waste the enemies of the Chosen People through his solid barrages of sound. Regardless of how you view the merits or otherwise of Zionism or the tortured politics of the Near East, it’s undeniable that the sheer force of this album is built upon the ‘industrial strength Zionism’ that informs every piece on here. In my experience it’s apparent that Israel is a veritable hotbed of PE creativity, whether motivated by politics or not, and where it IS utilised in such material the passions engendered lend such outbursts an angry urgency in a very similar way that many acts harness the anger at both the perceived and apparent injustices of the Western world in their musical rants. What is immediately obvious here though is that Barzel manages to successfully marry his politico-religious views with a keen sense of composition and a feel for sound and the way it should be used to best effect.
In other words this isn’t just a simple case of all-out ear-raping noise just for the sake of it or for it to merely act as an incidental backdrop to vehemently spat out distorted vocals – instead Barzel has carefully constructed the platform from which to launch his vituperative attacks, and he has done so with a very obvious craft. While still making use of the flesh-grinding, skin-blistering, and brain-mushing sheets of angry grating machine noise and granularity, tethered to explosions and detonations of shockwave sound, creating the impression of massed aerial engines and weapons of war ranged on the field of battle, that constitute much of this genre, Barzel has nonetheless been careful to shape the sounds, so that while the anger and venom blast through easily enough, it isn’t a constant searing noise – I could even say that these approach being ‘proper’ songs.
Take a song like ‘Through Clouds of Fire’ as an example; sheets of cleansing fire billow outwards, singeing and blistering all within reach, exemplified by bursts of grainy detonations and their aftermaths, the searing heat roiling out in furnace intense heat-waves; aided and abetted by a piercing anguished scream of pain riding the billows, pain that is both descriptive of spiritual pain and also the righteous pain of an angered deity. All that remains of the battlefield is a smoking stench-ridden desert, where not even the carrion birds dare to venture. The title track ‘Born to Destroy Amalek’ (a reference to a tribe of peoples that the Biblical King David waged war against) doesn’t really leave much doubt as to what its intentions are; nuclear Armageddon and radioactive obliteration until nothing is left, plain and simple, and all suggested by the use of battering blankets of gritty noise and machine rumbles, overlaid with malice-soaked vocals. Likewise, the closing track, the eight minute ‘We Shall Wash our Feet in the Blood of the Wicked’, which is as quiet as it gets on here, proclaims “Revenge is an important value, the Talmud says that it is one of the greatest things: revenge is great” set against a stuttering rhythmical rasping beat underpinning a sinister hair-raising swathes of organ and echoed with what sounds like voices raised in shouted protest.
What I think of the sentiments expressed here is actually irrelevant, but I will admit to having certain reservations; however for the purposes of this review, whether I agree or disagree is not the issue and I remain strictly neutral. Indeed, the contents are almost telegraphed defiantly from the front of the striking cover (a hand grasping an upraised sword within a Star of David); no-one can accuse this of being shy about shouting from the rooftops, so if your sensibilities are easily offended or outraged, then stay firmly away. This is indeed militant and right up in-your-face close, brooking no argument; in fact you can probably feel its white-hot furnace-breath on your face it’s that close. On a purely superficial, and aesthetic, level (and ignoring the political), this grabs me by the balls and shakes me until my brains bleed – and for that reason alone I like it. I am walking a tightrope by declaring that, but from the point of view of the music itself, I stand by it.
Born to Destroy Amalex is a Molotov cocktail of Death Industrial, power electronics and brooding/ grim atmospherics littered for military/religious dialogue samples.
This is this New York based projects second releases of what they call ‘Industrial Strength Zionism’ and It brought most to mind a more subdued, sample based and bleak ambient take on their noisy and roaring Israel label mate’s lietterschpich. This is a sonic landscape were jagged and dusty noise infected beats shimmer and sting with ominous and bleak oily synth melodies. Barked/ distorted and angered vocals pin you against the wall. To calmer but just as sick and hopeless lo-fi drones and desert machine gunned ambience slips and ebbs like mournful and quietly angry solider- as looped military/ religious text samples are circled. There’s a nice selection of pace of track through-out and while this is not the most original thing your likely to stumble across its effective, brutal and not with out it’s own atmosphere and identity.
Another worthwhile release from this Israel based label, This time expanding their catchment area beyond the middle east, but still keeping with-in the labels Firey remit.
Completely brutal and awesome Industrial release from these two projects. This is a feature-length release in a strange little EP sized package with one of those foam knobs to hold the CD that opens from the left. Drone Lebanon opens things up with the absolutely angry and harsh sounding “Old Cities, New Romans.” The entire release seems to be expressing the notion that Israel, through an overarching foreign policy exercised over the entire Earth, has become the new Roman Empire, in fact acting as an extension of the original Rome. Pretty interesting stuff. Drone Lebanon are an Israeli unit who utilize Hebrew music and iconography in a similar way to the early work of the group Laibach.
Playing both sides of the argument, Drone Lebanon very intelligently shows a good long look at the big picture. Depicting the realities of war and nationalism and brutal and harsh is simply telling it like it is. They also incorporate 80s-style synths much like early artists of the genre (SPK, TG, Monte Cazzaza) in a very effective manner. DL even manage to concoct a nursery-rhyme adaptation that is in no way hokey or stupid sounding. The final track from these guys, “The Third House Will Be Built From Stones From The Arch Of Titus,” works as an excellent sayonara from these guys, building up a tension that the other tracks play off of so well. Ultimately it is somewhat anticlimactic, and it definitely has me wanting to hear more from this project. It begins ends with some guy talking about the second coming of some Messiah guy. Very impressive and weird.
Wertham is a very talented Industrial/Noise guy from Italy named Wertham working with the great, underrated John Murphy (Kraang, Shining Vril, SPK, Whitehouse, Death In June, Knife Ladder, etc…). It is appropriately incredible. The two tracks on here are somewhat akin to a modernized version of the great work that Murphy did with Kraang, super-long psychedelic electro-noise excursions that journey through temples of destruction and beauty. “La Distruzione Del Tempio” harshes the listener for upwards to fifteen minutes, and the pain is quite enjoyable. The second and final track from Wertham, “Aelia Capitolina” is all-to-brief even at the hefty weight of six minutes. For fans of Industrial Records, Broken Flag, Come Organisation, et al, this is a fantastic and indispensable release. Highly recommended for repeated listens on the way to war.
Interesting split from Israeli label Topheth Propheth. Participators in this record – apocalyptic bourgeois from Israel Drone Lebanon and Wertham from Italy. They both present their emotions about two “sacred” cities of the world expressed through sounds. When I first heard about this album I thought that it would be some kind of a “battle” between two teams of power electronics. But let it be. Drone Lebanon opens this split with his 5 songs and this is the release where this artist presents the biggest number of his works in one album. He still hasn’t released full one, but took part in various compilations etc. But this split was done with Wertham and that says much. And my first impression about Drone Lebanon is really not bad. This creator brings interesting and good quality industrial/power electronics enriched with spices of Eastern folklore. E.g. the first piece begins with a folk song which lasts in background till the very end of it and gives some “spiritual” feeling to sounding noises and shouted vocals. As far as I noticed this is not completely unique case for the artists from these lands for rather often the sound of industrial goes together with folklore. The second piece again – enjoying of sound samples of horns or some similar instrument that later goes under noises and at the end song stays with pure melody like in the beginning. During the third song “Self Hating Jew” agressive vocal and noises are being mixed with even some sort of EBM/industrial beats I should say. As for me personally the last two songs of Drone Lebanon are the weaker part of the album. Their sound is rather sharp and digital. And also the feeling comes that the artist from Israel simply wanted to put a little too much of everything into these five songs. Two songs smell of Eastern landscapes, then we go through dancy beats and at last we arrive to some sort of digital experiments.
Wertham gives me to enjoy two pieces and stands securely in the side of Rome. The colleague from Foresta di Ferro and many other projects John Murphy has helped Wertham adding his vocals in this record. The first song – almost 16 minutes of good power electronics. It’s a pity that there are no lyrics, so the voice simly takes a function of one more instrument. Long, but not monotonic. Somewhat oppressing, but at the same time colorful contribution of Wertham to this split. The second song is more atmospheric. It fits with two tracks of Drone Lebanon from the very beginning of the album, though hides in much darker shadows between heavy rythms, religious samples and roughly trimmed record. Not bad contribution from Drone Lebanon and a good one from Wertham. All in all it is 50 minutes of diving to meditation in-between two “sacred” cities.
Two new albums from Topheth Prophet have been launched and once again it is seriously interesting materials that has been sent from the Israeli label. First album reviewed, belongs to some of the most interesting noise/power electronics heard for quite a while. Being a split CD, the album titled “Roma & Yerushalayim” presents two interesting artists from the power electronics scene, Israeli artist Drone Lebanon and Italian artist Wertham. Opening with Drone Lebanon, the opening track sends the listener into religious atmospheres of ritual chant. Shortly after religious act is being overwhelmed by crushing waves of destructive electronics wiping out any sign of musical tone. The combination of Middle-Eastern music culture and crushing symphonies is extremely effective. As the album develops, Drone Lebanon makes a slight change into more technoid sound worlds with the piece titled “Self hating jew” that reminds of early Wumpscut added some excellent black metal-sounding distorted vocals of Drone Lebanon. Other moments of Drone Lebanon takes the listener into ambient atmospheres, though don’t expect any sonic tranquillity from this guy. Second artist on the split album, Wertham, opens his part of the apocalyptic show with a sweet children’s choir, soon after completely destroyed by hordes of high frequency noise. The first piece from Wertham is a long epic piece of ambient noise, consisting of eastern chants, expressive noise moments, distant voices and buzz-drones. Though circulating in the same stylish spheres Wertham is slightly more subdued compared to the harsh sounds of Drone Lebanon. Though both artists should appeal to all listeners of grinding music.
Written by Simon Collins
The Israeli label Topheth Prophet has built up a cult reputation over the past few years for releasing thought-provoking and challenging industrial and electronic music, and this new split CD is constructed around a strong concept based on the nationality of the artists involved. Rome and Jerusalem were rival power centres in the ancient world, with starkly contrasting, even antagonistic, value systems. To quote the press release for this album: “The battle between Rome and Jerusalem continues through the ages. Spirituality vs. materialism, two cities, Civitate Dei vs. Sin City. But which is which?”
The first five tracks on Roma & Yerushalayim come from the Israeli power electronics act Drone Lebanon, the solo project of a musician called ch4. This is the first Drone Lebanon to have reached this reviewer’s ears, although there have been several previous cassette and compilation releases from 2002 onwards, and the Drone Lebanon website contains a statement of intent which is a lot easier to copy and paste than it is to summarise or understand, so here you go:
“Drone Lebanon supports the Apocalyptic Bourgeoisie lifestyle of escapistic Tiki lounge epistemology and realistic survivalism ontology, exotic cocktails and bomb shelters, occult office cubicle rituals and shopping mall transgressions, suburban bunkers and heavy-traffic-induced road rage, middle eastern redemption through hyper-hedonism and ultra-consumerism, outbursts of latent Jewish anxiety integrated with common bourgeoisie atrophy.”
Make of that what you will!
I don’t know for certain whether the artist behind Drone Lebanon is Jewish or Palestinian, and I’m not going to risk making a fool of myself by guessing and getting it wrong, but within these tracks, recordings of both Jewish and Palestinian origin are used to add a distinctive local flavour to the music. Opening track ‘Old Cities, New Romans’ is constructed around a recording of Arabic chanting, bringing the noise with frenzied roared vocals, pulverising percussion and punishing waves of harsh, corrosive electronics. In contrast, the fifth track, ‘The Third House Will Be Built With Stones From The Arch Of Titus’, opens and closes with extracts from a preacher discussing the appearance of the Jewish Messiah, in a manner reminiscent of the militant Zionist power electronics projects Barzel, whose Born To Destroy Amalek album also recently appeared on Topheth Prophet and was reviewed by Judas Kiss. Drone Lebanon’s ideological stance, however, is much less clear-cut than Barzel’s, although clearly both projects derive much of their inspiration from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Perhaps Drone Lebanon’s most interesting track is the bizarrely catchy ‘Self Hating Jew’, which samples a radical Zionist preacher and sets the speech to hard EBM, with vitriolic screamed vocals and harsh noise adding pungency and edge to the track whilst never totally overwhelming the beat and melody. It’s hard to imagine without hearing it, but this track is actually danceable, with some resemblance to German hard electronics acts like Preussak and Wumpscut. All in all, Drone Lebanon’s set is interestingly fresh and varied, and this is a name to place alongside 20.SV, Kadaver and Lietterschpich as part of a small but energetic middle-eastern power electronics scene.
After the wreckage has settled from Drone Lebanon’s airstrike, it’s time for the more familiar Wertham. Marco Deplano, the project’s founder, is joined on this recording by the industrial scene veteran John Murphy, who also performs with Marco in Foresta Di Ferro. Although John Murphy is best known as a drummer and percussionist, he’s credited with samples and vocals for this recording. ‘La Distruzione Del Tempio’ is lengthy – over 15 minutes – and is more or less a monolithic, sustained blast of full-on power electronics, with a sampled recording of the singing of carefree children at the beginning and end, and faint traces of it sporadically surfacing though the inundation of queasy noise. ‘Aelia Capitolina’ is a somewhat more subtle piece, with sampled spoken-word vocals discussing God’s power, muted beats and looped brass in the background, and industrial ambient atmospherics, adding up to an orchestral-inflected sound not too dissimilar to Toroidh or the Polish project Horologium. This is much more agreeable to my ears than the abrasive strains of ‘La Distruzione Del Tempio’, but that’s really a matter of personal taste. In any case, Roma & Yerushalayim succeeds in delivering a good variety of different styles of noise and electronics whilst never being anything less than intense.
Roma & Yerushalayim is available as a limited-edition CD of 497 copies (why not 500 copies? Search me – maybe it’s some Kabbalistic numerological thing), and the colour card sleeve opens from right to left, in proper Hebrew fashion.
Chronicle Of Chaos
The album is thematically united through the notion of Rome’s (Roma) and Jerusalem’s (Yerushalayim) fortunes being inextricably linked.
Young up-and-comer Drone Lebanon represents Yerushalayim, the overriding them allowing them to explore their preferred avenues of Jewish, Israeli and Zionist identity, politics and culture. And I mean explore; Drone Lebanon is not a political band, not in the sense of propagating a particular viewpoint and leave it up the listener to take what they will from the music. Song titles such as “Michael Dennis Rohan” and “The Third House Will Be Built With Stones From the Arch of Titus” mean little to me, but those au fait with his preferred topics may understand them without the aid of online staples Google and Wikipedia. As before, Drone Lebanon performs a harsh and extremely noisy post-industrial. I wouldn’t quite call it a noise album, as it is fairly varied in its approach, but remains uncompromising throughout, even when it calms down. Comparatively speaking, of course.
Wertham only provide two songs to Drone Lebanon’s five, but the amount of time allocated to each band is roughly equal. Unlike their split partners, Wertham are scene veterans that have been around for ages. Although Wertham adhere to the split’s conceptual thread, I don’t think that they are as fully immersed in the politics as Drone Lebanon. That’s by-the by; they still produce power electronics that takes the intense dissonance down a notch, but still far away from anything remotely akin to easy listening. This is clearly an experienced band, as the numbers are cacophonous and long but not boring.
Each band brings their own flavour to the proceedings, simultaneously similar to and distinct from each other, and can be strongly recommended to those with an interest in the genre.
Again a release from the Topheth Prophet label, this is a split between Drone Lebanon and Wertham, so expect some heavy and dense noise.
The concept of the album is somewhat geared around the idea that the fall of one will be the rise of the other, in this instance its Roma and Yerushalayim.
The album is divided in two parts, with the first five tracks for Drone Lebanon and the last two for Wertham. The expected noise is indeed true! The album opens with ‘Old Cities, New Romans’, in which we first get samples from a Yerushalayim psalm before we get martial drumming and harsh noise and some screaming vocals are added later. A pretty intense piece with a taste of things to come. Well, the noise in the first one is nothing compared to the next song, ‘Michael Dennis Rohan’. This man was has attempted to set fire on the Al-Aqsa mosque but was arrested on August 23, 1969. The song again starts with samples of a Yerushalayim psalm/choir. Then we get some nice sounds which leads you to believe we are turning into a more ambient path. But nothing could be further from the truth, as the song turns into excessively harsh noise. Screaming vocals and high-pitched sounds turn up throughout the whole track. This is pure rage and excellently done! The third track, ‘Self Hating Jew’, track starts with some media samples about hating Jews. Then we get some dark electro tunes, which almost seem like it is going to turn into some endzeit electro track, but then the screaming power electronics vocals turn up again. Without those vocals, the track sound very electro friendly. The fourth track, ‘A lullaby for Larisa and Yigal Amir’s Newborn’, starts with the well-known lullaby, stuck between manipulated sound. Halfway the song turns into a harsh industrial track, before ending in a more drone oriented segment. The last track from Drone Lebanon is ‘The Third House will be built with stones from the Arch of Titus’. This starts out with the now obligate media samples. Then a dark drone comes in and harder sounds are added as the song progresses and eventually the song turns into a power electronics track. That was Drone Lebanon, nice to meet your acquaintance!
The first song by Wertham, ‘La Distruzione del Tempio’, is pretty long, around 15 minutes. It’s a hard industrial track with power electronics elements. All kinds of sounds are added throughout the song. The last track, ‘Aelia Capitolina’, is the quietest track on this album. The track is a combination of media samples and low rumbling sounds.
This is a very good industrial/power electronics release with a nice concept. Most of the tracks are very hard and intense, which is why this release is so good! Highly recommended to the lovers over hard industrial music.
You know you’re in for a tough review of a split when you really like one artist and are not at all into the other. Roma Yerushalayim is a split CD that deals quite a bit with politics, politics mixed with religion. The concept here is one that has and will be explored endlessly because it is always changing. Since I know little about the plight of the Israel or Judiasm and even less about the Zionist political situation I am going to refrain from commenting on the concepts here and stick to the noise.
Drone Lebanon is up first and this is my first exposure to the project. With 5 tracks their material spans about 30 min here and I am enjoying it immensely. Their mix of electronic synth music, noise and power electronics is a success on all fronts. Each track has it’s own thing going on here which makes for Drone Lebanon’s side to be a particularly engaging listen. There’s a heavy dosage of raw noise pummeling, absolutely tortured vocals, and… synth arpeggios? Yes, that’s right, they’re in here too and it fits together perfectly. The material is almost like a mix of Irakarah and Haus Arafna.
Aside from the political samples and unique and tasteful mix of electronica elements with power electronics the actualy mixing of the different layered sounds on Drone Lebanon’s side is very well executed. All sounds are crisp, clear, and defined in order to deliver a very harsh and heavy sound. I’d say the production here is on par with something Thomas Garrison of Control might be able to pull off. It’s a well balanced mix of digital and analog sources.
Unfortunately I just can’t get down with Wertham’s material. This is the second release of his I’ve reviewed and as with the first it leaves me wanting, with expectations unmet. The tracks are long, the sounds are lo-fi and clumped together and the compositions are so dense it gives the impression that everything is just crowding in on itself. On top of that the samples aren’t as obscure to me and I really tire of relgious samples unless they are strange or subversive in some way. Wertham’s opener “La Distruzione del Tempio” – I don’t speak Italian, but I’m guessing that might mean “Desotroying the Temple”? – is no less then 15 minutes long and it just drags on and on.
“Aelia Capitolina” is a little shorter with more industrial rhythmic gestures. I enjoy this track quite a bit more but it still pales in comparison to the Drone Lebanon material and it’s mixed and produced to just be so much more understated. I feel like this could have benefitted if some of the layers were a bit less drenched in reverb and more upfront, some nice hard industrial clanging and blasts of noise instead of these vague whispy layers buried under miles of distortion and reverb.
Let me stress that the Drone Lebanon material on here is enough alone to grab this split. They’ve got an original thing going on here and they’re doing with very well. I can see a lot of great potential for them. In the end though, this is one of those splits where one side is great, the other side, not-so-much. You can’t win ‘em all.
Written by Simon Collins
Originally due for release on Slaughter Productions in early 2007, this album’s release was delayed by the suicide of Marco Corbelli of Slaughter Productions and Atrax Morgue, who was a friend of Michael Zolotov, the Israeli musician behind Kadaver. Now available via Topheth Prophet in a limited edition of 500 copies, This Time… It’s Cancer is the tenth Kadaver release (including the inevitable collaboration with Kenji Siratori), and is dedicated to the memory of Marco Corbelli.
The eight tracks of This Time… It’s Cancer add up to 52 minutes of playing time (although that includes a lot of silence on the aptly named closing track ‘A Silent Cry Of Despair’), and from start to finish, it’s a determinedly nasty, misanthropic, nihilistic album. Kadaver’s devastatingly bleak power electronics are accompanied by vocal samples of distressing news reports, in the vein of Brighter Death Now. ‘Fetus-Size Casket’ deploys an almost intolerable barrage of screams over static and piercing high frequency tones, recalling Stallagh, ‘Teddy Bears In The Sewer Draining Outlet’ is one of the best track titles since Megaptera’s ‘Sludgy Heads Found In A Handbag’, whilst the song itself is a fully-fledged bombardment of noise in the tradition of the Japanese masters, but my favourite track here is actually ‘C Is For Cancer’, which overflows with spaced-out layers of cold, clipped, metallic drones which swoop, soar and roar through an corrosive void, more like Archon Satani-style death ambient than straightforward noise or power electronics. Even so, nothing whatsoever on this album qualifies as easy listening, unless you count the passages of silence on the final track, and even then you’re just waiting for the hellish noise to start again. Kadaver make harsh music for a harsh existence. As it says on their T-shirts, “Kadaver supports the total annihilation of the human race… thank you for your cooperation.” There is also a new Kadaver CDR album, Running With Scissors, available now from the German label SkullLine.
Chronicles Of Chaos
Kadaver’s earlier excursion in sonic torment was recorded at an extremely loud and unnecessary volume level, but thankfully, his latest amusical excursion has been recorded at a more reasonable level. Perhaps mastermind Michael Zolotov has realised that this would be excessive on an album that lacks extraneous niceties such as harmony or melody. On second thought, what would one expect from a man who is essentially (early) Carcass’ electronic equivalent, bestowing his audio constructions with titles guaranteed to have any grindcore freak drooling? (Best examples are “Poisoned Vaginal Doorway” and “Ejaculation from Beyond the Grave”.)
_This Time… It’s Cancer_ is considerably more varied — although it will all sound like, well, noise to the uninitiated — and the different textures are more effective at sustaining attention than simply trying to overwhelm the listener with endless waves of distortion, white noise and tortured metal. His constructions are not nearly as random as they may first appear, and structure, however much it may be hidden under layers of violent feedback, can be discerned.
Kadaver may be no Merzbow or Fire in the Head, but this addition to his oeuvre is not without merit and will provide a few distracting moments for the tinnitus afflicted.
This release has some sadness attached to it – it was originally due to be released by Slaughter Productions, headed by Atrax Morgue’s Marco Corbelli. As many by now will know, last year Corbelli decided that he had had enough and sadly felt the need to take his own life. Corbelli was a personal friend of Michael Zolotov, the man behind the Kadaver project, and consequently this album, finding a home on Israel’s Topheth Prophet label instead, is dedicated to him.
Anyone familiar with the harsh electronic venom of Atrax Morgue’s work will immediately realise, after listening to this CD, why Corbelli wanted to release it. This is black vomit and savagery in the same misanthropic vein of hatred that AM used to exploit and to the same equally nasty effect. Harsh swathes of bitter electronics, nerve-rending noise, abattoir sounds and the pained screams of the lost and damned conjure up images of the vile stench that is humanity – the sole purpose of this one seems to be to let you know just how fucked up we as a species really are. This captures perfectly the pain of being alive in a world going downhill with alarming alacrity (and getting faster and faster every day) and nobody seeming to know where the brakes are. As an example, track two, ‘We are the Disease’, sums it up neatly, both in title and music; teeth-grinding and skull-piercing squeal and feedback, the machine going about its deadly but necessary business of gutting out all of the uselessness and removing it permanently from society. Another example, track six, ‘Ejaculation from Beyond the Grave’, sounds like a series of implosions and spontaneous combustions, descriptive of the seemingly innate nature of our species; witness our current headlong dash towards self-destruction and the lack of political will to halt our slide into oblivion. It ain’t going to take much to tip us over the edge either…
Zolotov has managed to encapsulate the prevalent zeitgeist of the modern age with this set of eight pieces (BTW, the last track, ‘A Silent Cry of Despair’, although indexed as being 20:01 long, is actually only just over five minutes of actual music with three short belches towards the end), with all its attendant pain, anguish, frustration and degradation. This is like a poisoned splinter working its way towards the heart where it can spread its black venom, causing the flesh and muscle to wither and die. This is the world we and our children are inheriting – will THEIR children look back at us with fondness and warmth? On the strength of ‘This time… It’s cancer’, the prognosis is not looking too good.
Michael Zolotov goes under an alias Kadaver. Over the years, he’s released quite a number of highly limited edition releases. He’s now putting up on offer a comparatively much wider release [500 copies!]. “This Time….It’s Cancer” is not exactly a happy record. On his My Space site, Zolotov quite candidly states, “Well, it’s no lie and definitely not an attempt to sound “evil” but I truly hate people. Beyond what words can describe. Over 99% of the human race is worthless in my eyes and I feel noting but anger and repulsion for them. But as I am infected with a human mind (you can despise your human qualities but you cannot ignore and skin all of them off) I do have the need and will to find the specific individuals who can understand and RELATE to what I feel (and vice versa).” Through Kadaver, Zolotov wants to share an excruciating pain and fury that is crushing him. It’s a way for him to externalize what he’s feeling deep inside. From piece titles alone, one can get a sense of the direction the music takes. I wouldn’t expect “Tender Mutilation”, “Fetus-size casket”, “Ejaculation from Beyond the Grave” or “Teddy Bears in the Sewer Draining Outlet” to be pop songs about love. What a slaughter of sound this is. The scorching, demoralizing, ear-popping, screaming, stench that escapes from the speakers is truly worthy of the moniker of hell. For those brave souls whose nerves are made of steel, this is the soundtrack of being buried alive. Welcome to paradise!
– Tom Sekowski
I highly enjoyed last year’s “Light and Roundchair” from Kasyansky (Creative Sources 062), the first I’d ever heard his work. Now comes the equally intriguing, rather different “Floating Point”, based on pieces done for three dance companies. Not only are the sounds more overtly derived from field recordings but to a great extent the structure is more like film collage, briefly episodic and often discomfiting, layering elements heard at various sonic depths atop each other in a manner suggesting images in greater or lesser degrees of focus. There’s spare piano that pops in and out as well, single-noted and vaguely tonal, like a sliver of Feldman. The storm clouds of static from his earlier release still appear, but only momentarily as do scattered voices, dog barks, various weather-related phenomena and intimations of other “standard” instruments. Periods of silence or near silence fall into place throughout. Those who like a dollop of “music” with their field recordings will find a treat here.
Descriptive listing doesn’t really do the work justice however. It’s more the creative positioning of the sounds, the subtle psychological impact that they, so arranged, may or may not have on the listener. While of course this applies to any music, the sort of dream logic employed in works like this will succeed or not on the subjective associations made by the listener, whether or not the transitions ring true and the sounds chosen feel right. I found myself increasingly drawn in on each hearing, more readily summoning captivating visual images to mentally accompany this soundtrack. A fine album.
Posted by Brian Olewnick on June 5, 2007 6:07 AM
About Grundik Kasyansky we a little more than about Lietterschpich, that he has three previous releases (Vital Weekly 524, 530 and 548) and that he plays feedback synthesizer, field recordings, theremin, samples and assemblage and here on ‘Floating Point’ one Fyodor Makarov plays toy concertina. The music is an ‘audio collage based on three works written for dance’, all mixed up into one piece, so the relevance of the music for dance is gone, I’d say. In his previous releases Kasyanksy was a man who showed his love for quiet music, with a big role for silence among the silence, and perhaps a soft peep here and there. But on this new release he makes a step forward. It may end out in his usual soft mood, but over the course over the thirty-six minutes that go before that he brings his material alive through a very strong audio collage. Field recordings and feedback, and occasional bang on the toy piano: it makes up quite a strong release. At times I was reminded a bit of Andrew Liles, even when Kasyansky’s music sounded at times more fully loaded than Liles. It marks a great step forward for Kasyansky and is by far his best release to date.