Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Die Reitenden Leichen - Trutz (2009)

Die Reitenden Leichen has quickly become one of my favourite projects in the current noise scene, and is no doubt my favourite wall noise project. Blutgericht, which I already posted before, was the first release I heard by this guy, and it simply blew me away. Since then I've bought every DRL release I managed to get my hands on. Unfortunately, the runs are usually small, and I sadly missed out on the earliest releases; however, almost everything that came out since Blutgericht I do have, and every last second of it is nothing short of amazing.

Trutz is another tape I received a while ago. It was released in the same batch as the epic Statik Fanatik, a relentless, incredible 2xC60 box (which was posted over at Music Stinks), and both releases are pure harsh wall works. Trutz (according to the accompanying flyer an "outdated [I guess archaic] word for Trotz (defiance)) is a C20 with two sides of walls that are as pure and nihilistc as they get. As such, they are more like the typical unchanging streams of crackle the genre is known so well for than Blutgericht, a work so varied and so geniously put together that even the greatest opponents of the genre could only love it. In that sense, then, Trutz is more of an acquired taste, or maybe more a release for wall fanatics only. However, like on Blutgericht, the walls are so, so good; the two sides crackle, fizzle, rumble like there's no tomorrow. Monstrously low thunders supporting violent high-end crunching. Genius.

The art is astonishing again. A beautifully designed J-card Xeroxed on heavy, matte paper; great typography, brilliant looks. The case itself is folded in an A3 flyer and the whole thing comes in a plastic zipper bag (scans are in the .rar; if anyone has any clue as to what the 'VVON' (in red pen) on the J-card's reserve may mean please get in touch...). Trutz was limited to 13 copies and if I'm not quite mistaken it's definitely sold out. So please, by all means, enjoy this digital version.


Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Nihilist Surfin' Group - Music for the New Yorker (198?)

Now there's a tape. As much as The Gerogerigegege seems shrouded in mystery, the oddly-named Nihilist Surfin' Group (no doubt referencing the Nihilist Spasm Band) is even more of an enigma. The band released a small handful of tapes (I think; I only knew of this one but Discogs recently saw another added) and appeared on some compilations (Garbage Sandwich and Lapse from Virtue; perhaps some others too, but I haven't the faintest clue). The tape I have has no information whatsoever on it, except for a postal address - the Vis á Vis postal address, to be precise. Ah! Bells start ringing. Could this be...?

Well, let's keep it mysterious for a little while more, shall we. The Discogs page for Juntaro Yamanouchi, firstly, doesn't really seem to make a mystery of the whole thing. He's listed as a member of both The Gerogerigegege and Nihilist Surfin' Group, and that could be the end of it. However, in the short history of Turbine (the record label that put out Senzuri Fight Back) and Juntaro Yamanouchi (read it here), NSG is said to consist of some friends of Juntaro - Juntaro's not explicitly described as a member of the group, and it even seems to be suggested that he was not part of it at all (the Anal Sadist page suggests something similar in saying that "a trip to Japan in the summer of 1991 resulted in a three hour studio session of collaboration with Anal Sadist, The Gerogerigegege and The Nihilist Surfin' Group"). Further information on the project, at least on the web, is scarce; artnotart, for instance, which is maybe not the most complete but certainly the most interesting of Gero sites around, makes no mention of NSG at all. So perhaps the matter isn't as clear-cut then.

Back to the tape. Information on it is likewise scarce - and what information does exist is vague or even contradictionary. The year of release I'm not sure about - it's not listed anywhere, and adjacent catalogue numbers from the Sound of Pig label aren't much of a clue either (SOP242: 1989; SOP246: 1987; SOP249: 1989 - SOP248 is a mystery then, but anywhere between 1987 and 1989 seems a fair bet). The title I was pretty sure about, but to be honest I'm a bit lost there as well. Discogs lists it as Music for the New Yorker, and the Sound of Pig website used to list it under that title as well, I'm quite sure, but there it has surreptiously been changed to Howling at the Sun for some reason. The tape itself, however, has Music for the New Yorker typed on the inside of the J-card, so phew - that we know then. It has some 38 minutes of music on it; originally this is supposed to've been a C46 (say both Discogs and Sound of Pig), though my reissue is a C60, with the A-side being 26 minutes long, and the B-side being 12 minutes long.

So we're pretty much in the dark then, about the whole thing. And so we stick the mysterious tape in our tape deck and press play. Fortunately, just two minutes in, we're suddenly treading familiar ground: Story of the Thalaba suddenly makes its droning appearance. And suddenly, we are confident that this is a Juntaro tape after all (in the booklet for Senzuri Power Up, Juntaro is credited for vocals and guitar tuner on this track - no other artists listed whatsoever). And we cherish it.

Juntaro is known to have been prolific. Doubtless a good part of the cassettes stacked on the shelves of his tape wall were of his own recordings, and it's been often asserted that 7"s or compilation tracks were only shorter snippets from much longer tapes filled to the brim with more material in that same vein (to think that there may be a tape with more Yasukuni Jinja material... I'd trade my entire record collection for such a tape). Should such a tape ever see the light of a day it would be a most glorious thing for Gero fans. Music for the New Yorker, in a way, is exactly such a tape. It's basically 40 minutes of Thalaba-like material; both droney and screechy, uncomfortable, harrowing, screaming mad, genius. I guess that's as big a recommendation as I could give for this treasure. Seriously, check it out.

Of course, the original tape has long been OOP - would one ever turn up on eBay or Discogs you'd surely have to pay a lot for it. However, Sound of Pig has been making their back catalog available again for something like $10 per tape. Here's your chance of getting yourself a unique entry in the Gero catalog. If you need some persuading, just give this thing a spin. It's really, really good. Enjoy!


Sunday, 22 November 2009

Torturing Nurse - NanaNanaNanaNanaNanaNana (2005)

NanaNanaNanaNanaNanaNana is doubtlessly the best-known/most infamous release of Torturing Nurse, they themselves being easily the best noise outfit out of China (not to knock others - many a good one out there). Since 2004 they have been steadily churning out releases, but quite astoundingly the vast majority of their output is actually highly enjoyable. They've tried their hand at many a style, though the style they've probably best come known for (and at which they are so, so very good) is the typical analog junk noise; clashing junk metal sounds, amateur guitar shredding, piercing screams, etcetera. Nana is slightly different, being very screams-heavy and focusing less on the analog noise. It's no less great than their regular material, however (of course).

Years back, Nana was my introduction to Torturing Nurse, and it won me over on the first track, straight-away (a most impressive four seconds). If there was one adjective I found most fitting for it it was 'inane', and I still think it's a pretty solid descriptor right there, but it fails to capture the pure intensity of the disc - so perhaps we should opt for 'insane'. What you hear is 23 and a half tracks of drunken screaming ('screamo vocals', said the label's website back then) and random noises, and then the same 23 and a half tracks in reverse. The result is alienating and plain weird, sounding something like a Junko tribute gone wrong, or a post-noise-gig screaming contest recorded in a Shanghai back alley.

Torturing Nurse has gone on to record so much more since then, and has committed an astonishing amount of greatness to tape, CD, vinyl and DVD. However, Nana is still one of the highlights of their discography. Obscurica, the label that put this out, doesn't seem to be around anymore; the website went down a year or two ago, and I haven't heard anything of Patrick, the guy that ran it, since. Unfortunate, certainly, because it was really brilliant; many a great disc was released on it. If you can find a copy it's well worth it!


Machinefabriek - Manchester (2005)

Although Machinefabriek has been putting some of the most interesting sounds for years already, he only really started getting wider attention from 2008 onwards. Previously primarily self-releasing his recordings, Rutger Zuydervelt has started branching out since then, and has released on labels such as Digitalis, 12k and Korm, in addition to having contributed to the prestigious Mort Aux Vaches series. However, Zuydervelt was already brilliant in those earlier days, in my opinion at least; his earliest output was noisy, primarily (a collaboration with Fever Spoor; discs like Piepshow (Beepshow), Hieperdepiep (Beep Beep Hooray) and Hiss Panic), but newer work would sound increasingly more idiosyncratic and intriguing.

Manchester is a 2005 disc which was self-released on a 3" CDr with very pretty (the only suitable word) artwork to suit the sounds on the discs; the aesthetics of Machinefabriek had since the earliest discs evolved into something often referred to as "gruizig and prettig" (grainy/fuzzy and pleasant, more or less). Grainy electronics embedded in a world of wonder; an appreciation for the littlest thing and a love for the curious among the common. Manchester is largely inspired by a trip to Manchester Zuydervelt undertook just prior to recording; titles refer to people, places (Ryan, Mosey, Bye Bye Bradford), while the songs themselves likewise draw from impressions, encounters (we hear some field recordings; a street musician). The sounds are varied, with the tracks ranging from abstract reverby sound experiments (Curb) to small songs (Ryan). As varied as the disc is, however, all songs share a common aesthetic (grainy and pleasant), while the flow and cohesion Zuydervelt manages to achieve, well, it's quite remarkable. A beautiful little disc which seems to express so many things all at once - a sense of wonder, a touch of melancholy, a grain of hope. Highly recommended.

Very much OOP, unfortunately, though Boomkat offers MP3s of the thing for sale (well, really now...). You'd probably have to shell out for a physical copy (there's one for sale over at Discogs for 25 British pounds at the moment), so just enjoy this digital version instead.


Friday, 20 November 2009

The Gerogerigegege - Live Greatest Hits (1991)

Doubtlessly this can already be found somewhere in the blogosphere, since pretty much every (major) Gero release has been posted at some place at some point (the only things that have yet to find their way to the web are your typical ultra-limited releases, and some older exclusive releases like the Gero-P tape and the 1985 ZSF tape). Nonetheless, Live Greatest Hits hasn't really, I think, got the attention it so very much deserves, and though I'm quite sure there's a rip somewhere I'm not sure where exactly... so here we are.

The Gerogerigegege barely needs an introduction - or so I hope. Juntaro Yamanouchi, the mastermind behind it all, recorded avidly and without end in the mid to late 80s and throughout a good part of the 90s (though a large part of the 90s releases actually had material on them that was recorded in the 80s), only to disappear ever so suddenly in the early 00s, sparking rumors of death, incarceration, insanity, and so on. The disappearance, however, only contributed to the already existing enigma, and to the myth of The Gerogerigegege. Already the band had established itself as one of the most out-there outfits in the noise scene.

Their output is possibly some of the most varied and simply weirdest in the entire genre: Juntaro was above nothing and was glad to commit anything to tape. As such the discography has some typical noise records (e.g. Nothing to Hear...) and some excellent noisecore recordings (a good part of the 7"s, including their probably best known one, Yellow Trash Bazooka), but also plenty different and stranger things. On Endless Humiliation drunken rambling is layered over distant piano improvisation; Veel Plezier offers a quirky (yes, quirky) mix of Japanese radio drama sounds; other recordings showcase the sounds of taking a dump and the sounds of masturbation. Elsewhere, Juntaro saw fit to appropriate sounds and release them as Gero material, either slightly modified (All My Best...) or even simply as is (split with CSMD; Showa, arguably). The strangeness of it all is clearly what appeals to many, but above all it's doubtlessly Juntaro's knack for simply putting together excellent material, regardless the style, methods, and so on.

Live Greatest Hits is another joy of an album. Though the recordings are live alright, there's little in the way of greatest hits to be found here, of course (what had you expected, really?). Instead, the three live cuts (recorded, respectively, in 1991, 1990, and 1987) offer an excellent (aural) insight into what Gero shows must have been like (the plethora of textual accounts on the web certainly do them justice, but you only start to quasi-experience them when you hear them). The first track ("a tribute to Suicide", says the booklet) consists of some 15 minutes of a drum machine beat which then speeds up a bit and then slows down, running underneath continuous sounds of Gero 30 masturbating furiously, to finally finish with a typical Japanese tear-jerker of a ballad. There's so much to love here; from the piercing screams that here and there interrupt the continuous stream of gasps and moans from Gero 30, to the incredulous reactions from the audience, to the perfect song that wraps it all up. I won't spoil all the fun; it's best to just experience this whole weird thing yourself. If you take offence to homo-eroticism, by all means, best let this one slide, but if you're not adverse to a little gay excitement, here's the record for you.

Clearly OOP of course, as is everything on Vis a Vis, though you can probably find yourself a copy if you search the right distros or keep an eye on Discogs. Good luck finding this fucker!

Lo! (MU again; I'm sorry -121 megs)

Or separate tracks at MF:

1. 1991年3月2日 川崎クラブチッタ
2. 1990年4月4日 ギグホール
3. 1987年1月17日 半蔵門マンション201号

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Die Reitenden Leichen - Blutgericht (2009)

When I picked up this tape earlier this year I hadn't an inkling what greatness I was about to hear. I basically bought it because the description sounded good and because the artwork looked great (goes for all Monolitische Aktion tapes, really), and, like I said, little did I know just how much the sound (the sound!) would transcend that by miles.

Die Reitenden Leichen is wall noise project from Germany and (if I've got my facts straight) it's the same guy behind MX Nihil (and behind Monolitische Aktion), Matthias. Now wall noise seems pretty much the hype of the day (or of yesterday, I don't know), and as is the scene is flooded with disc upon disc upon tape upon tape upon record (less so though) of walls which the makers claim are progressively more nihilistic, bleak, unchanging, pure, and what-not. Needless to say not all of it will be actually very good, and actually a good part of it will actually be shit, actually. Those who all too desperately jump the bandwagon seem to be under the impression that wall noise is a fairly effortless venture, since there is (often) so little composition (or structure, generally) and only sound instead. However, to achieve good, no, great, texture, pace, crackle, still takes effort, perhaps a lot of it, and though the wall noise scene has garnered more criticism and incomprehension than praise, perhaps, extreme dislike of the phenomenon likely stems more from misinformation and the genre's unfortunate ubiquitousness (and, of course, bad taste on part of the haters). In fact, the scene has spawned many an excellent record. Blutgericht is perhaps a good start.

Like I said, a good deal of the wall noise available is claimed by artists and labels to be pure, nihilistic, unchanging, static, etcetera, and perhaps the relentless 60-minute unchanging crackle is something of an acquired taste? Blutgericht, however, is as pure as it is varied. Filling one side of a C60, it evolves (then barely noticeably, then more abruptly) from wall to wall; this skillful variety is pretty much unheard in the genre. The textures themselves are incredible throughout; various levels of fuzz and crunch, and a steady, very pleasant pace throughout the 30 minutes the thing lasts. As it was quite adequately described by Elliot from In Cat Hat Pants, "wall noise bleakness and really compelling muffled sound throughout different textures".

Excuse my rambling; to summarize: just give this thing a shot. Unfortunately it's already sold out (edition of 10, so yeah), but perhaps you're lucky enough to grab some newer releases (all of which are great as well). Sorry for the shitty sound; as soon as I stumble upon a better playback device for my tapes I'll upgrade this ish. Five tracks, but ripped as one thing since it's hard to indicate where one track ends and another begins. Doesn't really matter anyway, since it's best to listen to it whole. Enjoy!


Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Astro + Reiko.A - Lilith's Ilium (2007)

It's kind of ironic (or well, maybe it isn't...) that this CD was released on such a small (but no less great) label, seeing as it's something of a wet dream to anyone who is into old-school Japanoise. What we have here is a live collaboration between Hiroshi Hasegawa (i.e. Astro from C.C.C.C.) and Reiko Azuma of (primarily) Merzbow fame (having contributed to Flare Gun, Artificial Invagination, Marfan Syndrome, etc. - not the least of Merzdiscs!), recorded live at Penguin House in Tokyo.

In the booklet from the Early Works box set, Fumio Kosakai described C.C.C.C.'s sound most fittingly as "psychedelic, cosmic and erotic". He went on to (rightfully, no doubt) assert bass player Nagakubo's vital importance to and even leading role in the achievement of the sound, but, especially with later Astro recordings in mind, it is little controversial to state Hasegawa had a hand in it as well. Lilith's Ilium is highly psychedelic and cosmic (eroticism is less salient, at the least), with Hasegawa's synth whooming and spacing all throughout; Azuma plays the theremin and lays down some more of her laser gun sounds (which fit perfectly here). The results is interesting and captivating: Hasegawa seems to do the broad strokes, lays down the structure of the work, fills the track wholly with an unending buzz, while Azuma fills in the details, filling in the higher end of the mix more sparingly.

Lilith's Ilium is definitely no longer in print, but if you put in the effort you can probably still get a copy. It may be worth trying Ronez of Doufu Records (which seems to've been revived fairly recently), and you can also find a copy of it in Astro's webstore (some last few copies).

In the mean time, enjoy!

Lo! (MU unfortunately, since it's slightly over 100 megs)

V/A - Yellow Power Scum (1991)

To immediately break my self-imposed rule... Yellow Power Scum is, in fact, still available from the label that put it out, Beast 666 (now known as Beast 777). So why post it? Well, two reasons. Firstly because this gem regularly pops up on Discogs, eBay etc. for the most outrageous prices (usually described as "incredibly rare" and what-not), while, like I said, it's actually still available from the label for a mere 500 yen (so do Hitomi a favour and buy it... and pick up some other great tapes while you're there) shipped!

The second reason is, of course, that Yellow Power Scum is simply bloody brilliant. Easily my favourite noise/other/other compilation even if it's just, what, 11 minutes long? Even if the sounds don't appeal to you the tape is pretty special; your typical awful Eye artwork ("Aids-A-Delic!", it screams; "Destroy Yo, Dick" it shouts) and, among other things, a rare (and awesome) Gerogerigegege track and two Masomania tracks (Solmania + Masonna = win) make this a sort of accumulation of everything that was so great about late 80s/early 90s Japanoise/Japother. Regardless, the material is perfect. Two TV hosts discussing The Gerogerigegege while snippets of noise are heard in the background ("Pre-Stage"), highly energetic harsh noise (Masomania), rock'n'roll done right (Boredoms) - there is little this comp doesn't have.

Please enjoy the shit out of it. Sorry for the shitty quality. Please buy!




Starting today I will regularly be posting some of my favourite records, tapes and CDs from my collection. These will be (almost?) exclusively OOP records, for any number of reasons. Hope you like.

If you ever see your stuff on here and would like it removed just let me know. :o)