Saturday, 13 November 2010

Die Reitenden Leichen - Bedem (2009)

Admittedly, due to inattention and an obscenely busy schedule on my side, this is probably one of the most poorly updated of noise etc. blogs out there, but yeah. Then again, all quality - can't argue with that, fuckers. November - seems time for an update. Here we go.

So yes, the HNW scene. It's been long since any strand within noise has so divided folk; long since any strand within noise has been so ridiculed and shit upon by people who you'd expect, reasonably, to be open-minded, but I guess that's all relative. The two main issues people have with the genre, it seems, are 1, that it claims a sound as its own that is by no means exclusive to the genre, nor was invented by its prime exponents, and 2, that it is a scene void of originality, concerned only with putting out derivative giallo-obsessed tapes in painfully limited quantities. Fortunately for us fans, neither holds true. While HNW certainly has sonic precedent, true walls, as they were slapped to tape first by McKinlay and the likes, where undeniably an innovation. Walls of noise - the type of full-spectrum barrage of screech and white noise such as much of the wonderful output of Incapacitants - had been around for a good while, but the unmoving static wall of crackle was decidedly fresh.

As for the second argument, this is only still put forward by those with the littlest of interest in the genre, and the tiniest scrap of knowledge of it. HNW has been branching out in every direction; while releases with limited quantity are still the rule, the scene has spawned many an innovative artist (TFT/Fragile, Bachir Gemayel/Insurgent), has numerous manifests dedicated to it (notably, among others, are any and all by Romain Perrot (Vomir), Matthias M├╝tzlitz (Die Reitenden Leichen) and Kevin Jansen (Svartvit/Un)), has decidedly not limited itself to derivative giallo-crackle. Subject matter has seen artists drawing upon politics, nihilism, satanism, women, sex, etc., to quite generally name just a few - one only needs to consider such different artists as Vomir, Griz+Zlor and Insurgent to get some idea of the genre's diversity. Soundwise there have equally well been major developments, with different approaches to crackle and full-spectrum walls of sound having yielded fascinatingly different results (contrast, for instance, Un's tapes from the WallWhores 3xCS box set (HFFL) and The Rita's Thousands of Dead Gods).

Arguably, the scene, since its advent, has become primarily concerned with itself. Trades and sales mainly happen between a core group of dedicated fans, with only a small group of artists sparking, quite unfortunately, any sort of interest beyond the HNW addicts. Recent developments, however, suggest HNW is slowly but surely crawling outside its strict confines; HNW fests are taking place everywhere and anywhere; webzine MusiqueMachine reviews a steady stream of HNW releases and has, to date, interviewed a good number of HNW artists; A View From Nihil has received some unexpected mainstream coverage; Vomir was the subject of an excellent article in The Wire and has had two releases put out in relatively huge quantities, Renonce and Proanomie. On the verge of breakthrough? Who knows. What I do know is that the genre has offered and still offers some of the most captivating noise in recent years. Releases such as Bachir Gemayel's St. Charbel, Die Reitenden Leichen's Blutgericht and The Cherry Point's Night of the Bloody Tapes are some of the most exciting noise works released this side of 2000.

Today's post features another Die Reitenden Leichen release. It goes without saying that Die Reitenden Leichen is one of my favourite HNW-projects out there, if not my single favourite; Matthias has the most amazing talent for textures, and his distinct combination of thick bass rumbling, crushing crunch and violent crackle is simply perfect. Bedem is a recent release that was put out in an edition of 15 and has, unfortunately, sold out already; a true shame, since it is, again, bloody excellent. Presented as a yellow C20 in a yellow case with trademark brilliant artwork from Matthias himself, a trained graphic designer - and it shows - it is another venture in relentless, brutal wall-making, and it is, again, insanely great and bloody perfect. Remarkably refined textures in two devestating tracks that, despite the compositions being definite walls, allow room for minute changes and developments, which only make Bedem all the more compelling.

Bedem (128k version, updating soon with better quality)