Various Artists – Stray Dog
8.21.15 by Jacob DeRaadt
I’ve been looking forward to listening to this compilation ever since I picked it up at Ende Tymes Festival in Brooklyn a few months back. For many of us die-hard noise fanatics, caffeine is the perfect modern drug paired with anti-musical electronics. For this head, the substance of choice is an iced espresso. Short attention spans satisfied by brief blasts of ego annihilation.
P.I.G.S. starts off Side A with a track of on-the-red, over-saturated, crisp digital harsh tones that flicker through the stereo field, resembling what one imagines a roman candle would sound like with proper internal amplification. When the track first starts, I had the thought that my headphones had bit the dust. Any time that my perception gets distorted in this manner, something of substance has been achieved. KIRA follows with another slice of harsh noise. While texturally satisfying to this listener in some moments, they indulging what sounds like mixer feedback farting through a butt plug. Yuck. F.T.P. gets things back on track with some blown-out, full-spectrum assault bordering on the HNW (harsh noise walls for the uninitiated) attack of mid-period Oscillating Innards. The attack is sudden and over before one gets a chance to analyze the damage done. Short and to-the-point, the way I like it. Next is Los Angeles veterans Sissy Spacek with their signature brand of cut-up noisecore. Tip-toeing the tight-rope of harsh electronics and noisecore is what they do best, and this is a more straight-forward example of their ongoing war against eardrums. Barely-dicherable vocals riding a wave of chaos and destruction (de)constructed from fragments of abused guitar strings and broken cymbals. Yummy. Sects begins their track with a short sample of German voice followed by a cut-up attack and ends with another short vocal sample. Nothing sticks with me on this one. The Pig Lady, a side project of Sissisters/Patrick Murch, follows up with a churning loop of grating feedback that slowly builds with a layer of static. This furious circular motion abruptly drops out to reveal a disintegrating pattern resembling a blank tape loop. Yes! Give me more contrast and asymmetrical movement like this, people. Wrong Hole delivers another head-scratcher of stereo confusion involving high-end tones and sounds of cardboard boxes being kicked around in an empty room. Subtle tape warbling accentuates crackling feedback that is constantly disintegrating into new corroded forms. A near-perfect intersection of tape manipulation and harsh noise.
Side B kicks off with Constrain (Kevin McEleney of the Heavy Psych label) known for the brevity and raw focus of his compositional style. Full of screeching acoustic feedback that contrasts a singular style of cut-up technique. Again, short and sweet. Kirian Arora brings the corrosive forces of constantly blasting noise that reveals a sinister background of slowed-down vocals, interrupted by a short segment of junk noise. Allegory Chapel, Ltd. brings dead static shifting around the stereo field. Not the most shining example of this veteran’s work, but a decent study in putrefaction nonetheless. AMK (Anthony Michael King/Banned Production), Elden M., and GX Jupitter-Larsen (mastermind behind the Haters) end the compilation with an oddball blend of natural sounds and record manipulation looping against a background of twirling electronic detritus. Any experienced listener can pick out the separate roles of each performer on this live piece.
All in all, a good representation of Los Angeles’ harsh noise scene. Unfortunately, the cassette edition is sold out, while a CD reissue has been made. Get it from Oxen.
P.I.G.S. – Dyskinesia
Kira – Now She’s Black
F.T.P. – I Can’t Breath 3:23
Sissy Spacek – Material Consumption
Sects – untitled
The Pig Lady – Republican Marriage I & II
Wrong Hole – Imposing Blanks
Constrain – Life Trap
Kiran Arora – Catalepsy
Allegory Chapel Ltd. – Nakhon Phanom
AMK, GX Jupitter-Larsen, Elden M. – live at dA Center for the Arts