Feather Ghetto Movers – F.G.M., Portable Noise Kremator – Moeilijk Doen (Knife in the Toaster, 2010)

Posted in Feather Ghetto Movers, Knife in the Toaster, Portable Noise Kremator by HOLIDAYS on July 29, 2010

Feather Ghetto Movers – F.G.M.

I think most listeners would be in the same position I’m in- “Feather Ghetto Movers”? What does that even mean? Either way, it didn’t stop me from putting this one in the deck, and even enjoying it.

F.G.M. puts forth some extremely sporadic concrete noise, which becomes immediately apparent on the first side. It’s loud, distorted, and completely jumbled up into little rhythms to complete chaos. While entertaining for the first few minutes or so, it does get awfully repetitive and less interesting as the rest of the side continues on. BUT, the second side redeems the tape well, delivering the same concrete style, but using far more interesting bits of sound, ranging from distorted messes to some fuzzed out guitar. You hear many of the same samples over and over again, but it’s the arrangement that keeps my ear interested.

It’s a bit tough to decipher what the image presented on the j-card actually is, as it’s just a xerox on thin computer paper, but whatever it is, it’s certainly something worth studying for a moment or two. Seems they had more to say on the inside, but it’s falls short in visibility due to the xerox. The tape itself is a recycled one, but it still sounds great and matched the length well. I can’t call this one a priority- probably worth a trade or bargain unless you really dig chaotic concrete noise.

Portable Noise Kremator – Moeilijk Doen

PNK is a noise artist from Belgium who seems to have been around for a few years, but Moeilijk Doen is my first taste. The english translation of “Moeilijk Doen” is “hard to do”, but the actual significance of this is beyond me.

I used to have a roommate in college who often poked fun at the music I’d listen to, describing it as “internet noise”. “Are you connected to the internet?” he’d often asked, and for the first time, he may be right. There’s decent chunk of the first side of this tape that literally sounds like someone having a conversation with their 56k modem. Thankfully, it doesn’t last long, as the rest of the tape turns into a slowly yet constantly morphing beast, going from slow churns, to rough rhythms and synth chirps, ending with a dreaming synth air raid.

The second side begins much like the first, and it’s here that what I’m hearing becomes more decipherable, as it’s not connecting to the internet, but it’s close! More like a cellphone too close to a TV. The sound is completely annoying and we’ve all heard it before. Wait, and what’s this? Yep, didn’t notice it off the bat, but sure enough, it’s the same as the first side. Despite the track listings giving A and B, it’s all jam packed on either side of the tape. Did I notice it at first? Not immediately, but it didn’t take long. So what does it mean for me? Well, either the first side was really, really good and I just enjoyed going through it again, or there was nothing genuinely memorable within, outside of the annoying modem/cellphone/TV sequence in the beginning.

The packaging follows what seems to be Knife in the Toasters usual- thin xerox. The tape itself is a recycled C34, but just as the other, it still sounds good. The artwork is beyond me, showing just a series of X’s and numbers that I can only assume have some value, but to me, they mean very little. There doesn’t seem to be too much offered here with this one, and I’d say it’s passable.


Holographic Beast – Perpetual Filth (2009, Know/Care)

Posted in Holographic Beast, Know/Care by HOLIDAYS on July 27, 2010

Starting off rather spacey and ambient, this debut release may comes immediately off rather tame and dreamy within the first few seconds like a call of sirens, but quickly pulls you into a two-faced journey of comfort and hostility. Perpetual Filth is a release to be reckoned with, presenting 40 minutes of juxtaposed styles, going back and forth numerous times before concluding so elegantly, making the entire listen well worth the time spent.

Rarely is filth so wonderfully matched up with blissful, memorable moments of softly handed sounds, as it rears its impeccable nature of tortured spurts of blunt desperation and fierce sounds, lending to best quality of this release- a wonderful array of sounds that can cater to most any fan of the noise genre.

Holographic Beast has initiated themselves wonderfully in the genre with a very presentable tape featuring great labels and very pro, glossy j-card. Limited to 100 copies, Perpetual Filth has been available for quite some time, and is still very well accessible and recommended for any fan under the rather large noise umbrella, as there’s plenty of sounds to appreciate. Future rotations are certainly in the forecast as well.

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Remnants – Skeptics, Santorum – Santorum I (Imminent Frequencies, 2010)

Posted in Imminent Frequencies, Remnants, Santorum by HOLIDAYS on July 16, 2010

Being my first exposure to both artists, as well as the label, I’ve found a nice soft spot for all fifty minutes worth of music that both of these releases encompass.

Remnants – Skeptics

Cutting right to the chase, Skeptics is a bit hard to put your thumb on an overall sound and feeling for the release when contrasting either side. The first side is warm but rather dreary. It’s not too dark, but certainly not a bright, feel good sound. Overall, it’s rather melancholy with slow moving synth drones that throb around and through one another. The second side takes a rather different sound, starting off very distorted and somewhat abrasive while some brighter synth sounds slowly break through, until a mash of fluttering sounds fully penetrate and then subside once again.

Both sides show different sounds, but in my ears, they both maintain a certain melancholy feel, which I think lends itself as a great quality to the release. The artwork is interesting, looking like astral charts or something of the sort.

Santorum – Santorum I

While Skeptics runs at an appreciative 30 minutes total, for my ears, Santorum I is nothing but criminally short 20 minutes. Just as you could expect from the artwork, which features dark image of a woman just standing on some stairs, the music is dark and lonely, promoting feelings of gloom and uncertainty. The first side may be the gloomiest of the two. It’s like a slow churn through an tenebrous passage to which there’s no expiration aside from the physical end of the tape.

The second side isn’t as gloomy as its predecessor, but it doesn’t come as much of a revival in feelings, as it’s more of a slow drift, sounding rather dismal, and once again, melancholy. Overall, it creates a wonderful conclusion for once again, criminally short tape. I suppose it may be a good thing, because I’ll certainly be looking forward to Santorum II.

Both of these tapes were a bit low-spirited in sound, but done so well. It’s certainly lonely music for lonely people. Essential late night drive or reclusive tunes that are worthy of many listens in the future, as well as anticipation for future sounds from both artists, and label.

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A.R.GH – Abuse (Prime Unit, 2010)

Posted in A.R.GH, Prime Unit by HOLIDAYS on July 16, 2010

Abuse was a bit tough at first, just as the title would promote. It wasn’t until the second listen that I perked up a bit to what I was hearing, and found an appreciation for it. First and foremost, this is definitely a NOISE release. While it’s a no brainer, I emphasize it because while first listening to it, all I could think of was a Merzbow documentary/videozine entry I had seen where Masami Akita described his first ventures into noise- simply making music he suspected no one would want to listen to. Based in Santiago, Chile, A.R.GH (moniker of Andres Rojas) has been around since 2005, presenting only one other entry prior to Abuse, his first physical release.

Said to have been recorded with a minimal setup, it shows through the sound on both sides, sounding rather thin; a sound that often goes back and forth from irritating feedback, to loud, genuine distorted noise, but still shining through with enough dynamism to keep the release interesting enough to move forward. My first listen seemed rather enduring (probably where I get words like ‘irritating’ from), but was the second time around that I found an appreciation, mostly through the sounds simplicity, and irritation. I felt as if it put me back in a place I hadn’t been in awhile, almost as if I were listening to it without ears trained for noise once again, which was a surprisingly good feeling.

Abuse makes its mark as a good back-t0-basics noise release. It’s simple, and just as noise was intended to be presented by Merzbow- it’s certainly music that many people would not want to hear- but not here. The only real bone I feel I have to pick with release is the length. I took my second listen one side at a time, and it was within those sessions that I was able to better orient my mind in regards to how I felt about the release. On a much more positive note, the packaging for this release is pretty impressive. While I enjoy alternative packaging for cassettes, the more professional presentation goes a very long way as well. The artwork (by Francisco Rivera) is quite peculiar and certainly gives you something to look at through the 40 minute duration of the tape.

As I’m writing this, all the copies (a very small edition of 20) have been spoken for, but I believe it’s the releases to come that should be given attention. While Abuse stands well as an entry level, I’d say Andres has a decent foundation to build upon.

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Posted in Uncategorized by HOLIDAYS on July 15, 2010

Things have been slow here recently due to a rather lengthy moving process. Reviews should start flowing in steadily in the next day or so. Sorry to those who have submitted recently and haven’t seen any words yet. Shouldn’t be long now…

Wasteland Jazz Unit – Marked By Lines (5nakefork, 2010)

Posted in Uncategorized by HOLIDAYS on June 27, 2010

My relationship with Wasteland Jazz Unit has been awfully short- it was probably about 2.5 years ago that I drove from central Illinois to see them open for Wolf Eyes at the wonderful Art Lodge in Cincinnati- a show that didn’t leave me feeling all that curious as to their rather large catalog of releases.

Fast forward to today. Being my first exposure since that show, my expectations of Marked by Lines was fairly hazy. Not quite knowing what to expect, I do know there’s no better way than a C20- in my opinion, the perfect length for most noise releases. The first side starts off promising- loud wailing of horns on top of some heavily distorted feedback- but all too quickly, a droning feedback takes over everything, while the no-longer-as-wailing-horns subside below. The second side is far more interesting, as throughout the entire side you have the constantly abrasive wailing horns and feedback (not nearly as overbearing as the first)- all played in a much more chaotic fashion, delivering a very energetic cacophony.

Both tracks are rather alike, but still very different, and after considering the release as a whole, I feel as if the second track (the more chaotic of the two) was not only the most interesting, but also gave a more tolerable amount of headroom for close listening and enjoyment, while the prior (even being a bit more droning and minimal) had me just easing the volume knob and anticipating the nearing end- the same way I felt when I saw the a couple years ago when I saw them live.

It’s hard to say where I stand now with WJU- I’m not necessarily turned off, but I’m not quite turned on either. With a rather impressively large catalog of releases, it’s hard for me to tell where this one stands without more prior knowledge, but what I can say is that the presentation given by 5nakefork is one of the finest I’ve ever seen (in general). Marked By Lines is packaged in an oversized 6×9 ziplock baggie that houses both a thick piece of cardboard with pasted on artwork and the tape itself literally tied in, and a wonderful little booklet of additional artwork and a few liner notes.

I’m sure current fans of WJU I’m sure would be in for a treat with this one- and with that said, those who are yet to be exposed may be enticed by the wonderful packaging as well as the shorter length.

Red Electric Rainbow – LSD Sunshine (905 Tapes, 2010)

Posted in 905 Tapes, Red Electric Rainbow by HOLIDAYS on June 22, 2010

It’s when I get to hear a tape like this that I’m reminded why I love music in general. For me, it’s this kind of music that gives me genuine warmth and inspiration as I listen to it. Both sides of this 35 minute tape produces sounds of wonder creating all sorts of tantalizing thoughts and images of calm and soothing as well as fantastic in nature – vast reefs, traveling at light-speed, electric dreams- the works.

While you can objectively categorize this as being ambient music, when really studied, LSD Sunshine has a ton going-  striking me as being more than your average ambient recording.  Floating above warm subtle textures, extremely dynamic and vibrant synth sounds are constantly migrating, never giving a true moment, to which I have no choice but to appreciate each movement as they come.

A truly remarkable tape from an artist who deserves your attention. LSD Suicide makes for a wonderful companion on a clear summer night and is certainly worth more than just a single rotation. And being limited to 50 copies, there’s no better time than now to pick it up.

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Whistlers at Ellsworth Station, Antarctica 1957 (Død Univers, 2010)

Posted in Død Univers by HOLIDAYS on June 21, 2010

I admittedly had no clue what I was getting into when I invested in this set. I was sort of under the impression that the whole Antarctica thing was some kind of tale, like an “Extreme Music from Africa” type of deal, but what I got instead has turned out to be one of the finest, most fascinating listens I’ve ever had.

The source of this release is said to be an old, dusty acetate found in the back of a record store, containing actual recordings from August, 1957 in Antarctica, where “whistlers”, or atmospheric sounds were recorded for whatever research. Each track is introduced by a rather monotone curator (possibly a J.B. Brown- as labeled on the original acetate- but there seems no way to be quite certain), describing characteristics of the sounds heard in each recording, including echos, swishes, hiss, etc. While it’s rather stop-and-go, but I felt that my listening to this was more for education than enjoyment- like watching a documentary about a movie instead of watching the movie itself. The recordings themselves of the “whistlers” are great- they’re very rhythmic, and often play off very cold and eerie, sounding almost like evidence that would be presented to Skully and Molder type characters for something unexplainable. It’s truly unique and captivating- I don’t recall ever hearing anything like this before.

Whistlers at Ellsworth is presented in a beautiful set, including two 3″ CDRs housed in individual black sleeves, all in a nice 3×3″ box that including a small card of track titles, and is accompanied by a one-sided C27 as a extra, titled “More Apparent than Real” (taken from a description given by the narrator on one of the recordings) that utilizes found sounds from the acetate. While unfortunately being just a one sided tape (only 13 minutes of material), it still makes the perfect companion to the discs- as you can now “watch the movie” after being educated on it.

Død Univers has certainly given these recordings a wonderful presentation, but sadly, the set is limited to a mere 50 copies, and once they’re gone, they “will never be reproduce”. I really hope this isn’t the end for these recordings. Between the actual and potential material, the possibilities are endless. In parallel, I look forward to seeing what else Død Univers has to offer- with a presentation like this, their name is certainly something to keep an eye out for.

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T. Hannum – Mount of All Lands (5nakefork Records, 2010)

Posted in 5nakefork Records, T. Hannum by HOLIDAYS on June 19, 2010

While I’m familiar with Locrian, this is the first I’ve heard of Terrance’s solo work, and in my opinion, his being one half of one of the finest bands out of Chicago, there’s no reason for this tape to be sub-par. Paired up with some aesthetically pleasing packaging put together by 5nakefork, you’re definitely in for one sound product.

According to the label, either side of this tape is described as being an ascent, and a decent- a description that need not be read, as the feeling is strong throughout the release. The first side starts of harsh and abrasive- coming off like quite a push/shove as layers of heavy distortion collide with rhythmic sounds that break through, in-and-out until finally reaching a sort of calm, in which the distortion settles beneath some more relaxed gusts of cleaner, warmer sounds.

The B side- or the decent- starts off calmer than where the first side left off- a bit eerie, but literally like that of reaching the clearing of a mountain top. This time around, it’s winds of distortion that slightly break the blissful sounds in-and-out- leaving enough head room to even allow yourself to dose off peacefully- as the calm lasts through the duration of the recording, until a slowly opened valve delivers a denser sound- giving the decent it’s final release.

Wonderfully packaged, this C20 (said to be limited to “around 50”) is “sandwiched” in by 2 long pieces of artwork- one on heavy brown stock, and the other a transparency- both complimenting eachother well. The artwork- while a bit cartoonish- is still eye catching and fascinating enough to keep you staring throughout the duration of the tape. This tape is an absolute must to all fans of Locrian- but it’s certainly a taste that can rub off on any fan of noise as well. There’s certainly nothing to not like.

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Satoshi Kanda/Nick Hoffman – Split, Nick Hoffman – Anima (Pilgrim Talk, 2010)

Posted in Nick Hoffman, Pilgrim Talk, Satoshi Kanda by HOLIDAYS on June 11, 2010

Satoshi Kanda/Nick Hoffman – Split

This C47 begins with Satoshi Kanda’s “Two Tracks Recorded Simultaneously”, which begins interestingly enough with each stereo channel playing two completely different styles of noise- one rather soft and subtle ambiance, and the other more abrasive and  sporadic. This goes on for a little while until a very mysterious silence takes over- for better or worse- for quite sometime. I don’t mind it, but it certainly had me troubleshooting the tape and my player for a little while before coming to grips with the fact that the tape sure enough wasn’t over, as the audio comes back in and concludes the side with a long drone. All of which- according to the label page- is done with milk bottles, which actually took me by surprise having heard the tape, then later read the description.

Hoffman’s track is overall much more abrasive, starting with a back and forth between abrasive assaults of distortion and busting low end, to eerie bursts of sound and crackling- a lot of which seems to abruptly stop in a wide range of volumes. Half way through, the quieter moments begin to very work well as they arise anticipation- reminiscent of seeing lightning and awaiting the thunder- unlike the predecessor which just struck me as confusing. The rest of the track is more minimal and less energetic and distorted (aside from a few moments).

Definitely worth a listen. I probably could have appreciated Kanda’s side a bit more had I known what I was getting into- or simply relaxing and letting the tape play out- instead of dicking around with my player like a chicken without a head. But it certainly doesn’t take away from Hoffman’s track, which makes this a great tape. Maybe both sides should be played simultaneously? Support the label- buy two of them and try it out. The release is a C47 with great artwork on orange paper. Very simple, but very enjoyable.

Nick Hoffman – Anima

Anima is more like the Regosphere/Hoffman split I reviewed around a week ago in sound and instrumentation, unlike the split above. Again on a C47- this tape is very eerie and can be a bit unsettling. It seems to be influenced by a Lovecraft quote recited inside the artwork from The Rats in the Walls, stating “I heard voices, and yowls, and echoes, but above all there gently rose that impions, insiduious scurring; gently rising, rising, as a stiff bloated corpse gently rises above an oily river that flows under undless onyx bridges to a black, putrid sea.”

The quote is a mouthful, but just the first line is enough, as this tape certainly gives an eerie vibe like that of voices, yowls, and echoes rising. While the idea of a corpse rising from a river as it attributes itself to is a great mental image, when I heard this, it was more like opening a basement door to an abandoned psych ward and finding a tortured jazz band stuck in purgatory.

As stated above, the entire release is minimal in instrumentation, with the first side- “Earth Altar”- giving sounds of a trumpet and tortured, desperate vocals (or simply “voices”)- either separate, or layered on top of one another- it’s haunting. The second half of the track is very minimal, with even creepier trumpet and vocals softly coming in and out, as well as sound sounds of shackles and desperate wimpering. The second side, titled “Into the Clouds” is where I’ve taken the “jazz band” term from- while still given some squealing trumpet sounds as heard on the first side- they’re now accompanied by drawn out drum hits. The percussion definitely adds something to the release in its entirety, and gives me, personally, a whole new level of appreciation for the tape as a whole. The percussion becomes more a part of the music towards the end of the track, and concludes the tape wonderfully.

I’d definitely recommend this to anyone who digs minimalism- more specifically, acts like Graveyards, as that’s what it reminds me of a lot. It’s a excellent release with great, simple artwork, and I can’t wait to let it age on my shelf until the leaves start to fall in autumn, when I’ll definitely be bring it back out for a few more spins in my tape deck. Get this one!

Satoshi Kanda: satoshi.kanda [at] gmail [dot] com,

Nick Hoffman: bumbrelladonkey [at] hotmail [dot] com,

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