Dots - Dots as reviewed by intransitive

October 30, 2012
Distant ambient throb like the chirps of idling medical equipment. At times, "Dots" sounds like it may be playing from the stereo inside a car parked a couple of blocks away. Simple, nearly weightless/motionless repeating patterns... but rather than mere background "elevator music" (as the artist describes it), this stuff has some sharp edges that irritate. That's not a bad quality (at least, not to me), but it's also not as simple as the album may initially seem.

Scrog - Learning Compromise as reviewed by intransitive

December 12, 2011
edited over 9 years ago
When I lived in Florida, I used to see these guys play every chance I could get. Live, they were wicked slow... very much influenced by Swans, circa "Cop" and "Young God". Their first 7" doesn't really capture that, unfortunately. It's more normal emo/hardcore, with spare Dischord-like production. To really get an idea of what Scrog were like when they found their stride, this isn't the place to begin. The songs sure are good, but my pals used to play 'em at the wrong speed in order to better approximate the live experience.

Hula (2) intransitive

November 22, 2011

Perennial Divide - Purge as reviewed by intransitive

November 11, 2011
A massive LP of harsh punk/funk/dub from Sheffield, just a few years too late to get cited in the same breath as Cabaret Voltaire, Hula, and the rest. Screaming saxophone, shrieking feedback, clobbering industrial rhythms, and grey noise with a compellingly unhinged energy. To compare this lost classic with anything wouldn't be fair, but the closest landmarks could be the disorienting dub/noise of The Pop Group "Y" and Cabaret Voltaire "2x45", or the fractured compositions or Captain Beefheart "Lick My Decals Off, Baby" and Pere Ubu "The Modern Dance".

"Purge" was reissued on a CD, but sadly in a different version with the vocals removed. I dunno why, since Corrigan (aka Jack Dangers, who built on PD's spacious dub, jazz, and electronic noise in his next band, Meat Beat Manifesto) was a singer whose maniacal rant/croon was on par with Peter Hope or Mark Stewart.

Twelve Cubic Feet - Straight Out The Fridge as reviewed by intransitive

October 23, 2011
Now here's a record that's overdue for a reissue treatment of some kind. Spindly post-punk of the Essential Logic/Family Fodder variety, angular and forceful. Sure it's not as groundbreaking as the similar-minded bands that were their contemporaries, but as an artifact of the DIY sound of the time it's pretty dang top. Seven quick songs, all of 'em good. A spacious production that feels alive with sincere joy.

Vertonen - "We Had A Few Sprinkles Today, But Not Enough To Help Out In The Garden" as reviewed by intransitive

October 22, 2011
I like pretty much everything about Vertonen, but most of all I like how he doesn't care one whit for doing the same thing over and over again. When you pick up a Vertonen album, it's unlikely that you'll get what you think you'll get... but it is likely that the music will be uncommonly thoughtful and compelling. This album, out of all of 'em, is my favorite. The sound is a low, distant hum that might be coming from below the floor or across the street (or both). It sort of bubbles up, maintains an atmosphere of implacable dread, and then steadily dissipates like a gas. There's a hidden narrative in this music, a low-level menace that's just a hair beyond what's accessible, but it works better as sly implication than obvious emotion-specific reference.

Nurse With Wound - The Sylvie And Babs Hi-Fi Companion as reviewed by intransitive

September 17, 2011
NWW generally gets pegged as "difficult" or "dark", but this one (my favorite) is hilarious. Like seriously laugh-out-loud, with actual jokes in it. A dense collage that seems to reference schmaltzy lounge and easy-listening records. Quick language fragments punctuate the juxtaposed swing melodies and LP skips, grounding it all in a recognizable absurd humor that makes this one of the most accessible platters in the NWW catalog. Someone (Foetus?) croons a few bars of a mangled classic, someone else suggests an absurd phrase to be used as a title, and someone somewhere howls and laughs... the tense and strange atmosphere is so carefully constructed that each new listen reveals more action bubbling beneath. In that sense, it's on par with "Trout Mask Replica", "The Lighthouse", or "Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers" on sheer amount-of-information-per-minute.

Sukora - Oeo as reviewed by intransitive

August 20, 2011
One side is an arrhythmic tapping on what seems to be a contact mic with no effects on it. the other side seems to be the sound of a record's run-out groove. It's simple, and yet... this is an enjoyable record! I especially like the first side, which instead of being precious, manages to create a certain calming atmosphere. There's no concept or pretense, either. It is what you think it is. Nice.

Nuisance Beacon - Nuisance Beacon as reviewed by intransitive

August 20, 2011
edited over 8 years ago
An overlooked noise monster by an artist who (apparently) only made this one album. I guess it'd be hard to top. This s/t CD is a massive, relentless machine roar which maintains its fierce pounding tension for the duration. I'm reminded of classic industrial albums by Vivenza or Esplendor Geometrico, or even (a contemporary) Nerve Net Noise at their most rhythmic... the humanless, emotionless chug of a factory. Each sound has depth, with round thrum of booming bass and overtones of metal shearing.

Greater Than One - Kill The Pedagogue as reviewed by intransitive

August 9, 2011
A mysteriously overlooked classic of mid-80s industrial music, lovingly rescued from obscurity by Brainwashed as the first stage in their major Greater Than One reissue program. This album, a remastered reissue of their first cassette, is a grimy slab of bleak noise punctuated with pounding metallic percussion and slow, smeared, snarling voices. Early SPK and Lustmord (who, unsurprisingly, published an LP by GTO not too long after this tape came out) explored similar territory. The original tape came with all sorts of photocopied art inserts and doodads, scans of which are helpfully included here. So is the "Lay Your Penis Down" cassette as mp3s, which is a nice complement to "Pedagogue". High quality all 'round, clearly made by an advocate with great respect for the band.

The New Blockaders - Changez Les Blockeurs as reviewed by intransitive

July 27, 2011
an absolutely essential, indisputable classic of "noise music". this is an album that can be listened to a hundred times and still keep its mysteries intact. it'll also be just as confounding and compelling the hundredth time as it was the first. many have guessed at the process used for making this music - is it tape loops? all live and acoustic? is it metal being thrown around a shed? how does it maintain its odd density and cyclical rhythm? beats the hell out of me, but i can say this: there isn't any other recording that sounds like this one. not even the TNB records that came after it, solid as many of them are.

United States Of Belt - Pancake Alley as reviewed by intransitive

August 8, 2010
When this band was based in Boston (they've since scattered to New York City and Upstate), I saw them every chance I could. The recordings they left behind are stunning... it still kinda blows me away that more people STILL don't know about 'em. So here's yr chance... composed field recordings and bits of Americana, vaguely narrative and definitely cinematic... not as abstract as Eric la Casa or Francisco Lopez, but not quite linear or clear-cut either. This particular album seems to describe what it's like to wake up in US of B's imaginary "America". A small town... people doing something (making breakfast?) just out of earshot, the fuzziness of dreams becoming clearer as the fog of sleep slowly clears... and then, fireworks? Every sound is so richly recorded, and the layers of sounds/signifiers not as clear as they may at first seem.