Blastitude Number Seven
issue 7 april 3001
page 3



SPITE. By Chris Sienko. Continued.

Tension Hook: "Sounds of Defection"
After reading the liner notes ("recorded and mixed using particularly fubar’d stereos…boost the treble and turn it up") and hearing the first few minutes, I figured this was all about the high end, like the Amyl Migraine tape, also formerly on Spite. After the beginning section, though, the tape becomes a more jolly and easily digested pup. Endlessly entertaining to those that are already noise fans, but not something to convert the newcomers. Tension Hook is varied and textural/playful enough to not be helped by the Mother Savage "extra harsh rework/remix" that he got on the "Underground Canada" comp. This is a very pleasing album. Like going to see Itzak Perleman or Van Cliburn, you don’t expect him to take the medium to strange new vistas of interpretation, but you expect solid performance and entertainment, and get it. "Did you see the way he got that phaser pedal all up in there? Damn, I thought I’d lose it!" "Yeah, and those taped voices were just DREAMY." "Uh, hey guys, what are you two whispering about over there? WHAT? Okay, never mind, I’ll ask you tomorrow."

Old Bombs: "The Silenium Bombs."
As I mentioned in Blastitude #5, I really love the two Old Bombs tapes I’ve heard. There’s a great variety of sounds and approaches here…like Lode Runner, Old Bombs combine academic-sounding electronics, junk noise, cheap rewired electronica, turntable and CD abuse and such all in the same room, with no worries about how to present the whole mess. It’s amazing how radical something as simple as not constricting yourself to one type of sounds or approaches feels these days. I don’t know what else to say, other than 15 minutes of this (it’s a one-sided c-30) is JUST NOT ENOUGH. But it is still available, edition of 25. You gotta jump down this tape’s throat just as soon as you can. It’ll do the same for you.

Brian Ruryk: "Extensions For Litter" 3 x C2.
Cuba Gooding Jr.!!! He’s on this tape, along with 5 ¾ minutes of guitar and what could only be described as "stuff," quick edited and extra spastic. Whoever regularly describes Ruryk as funny should also note that brevity is indeed the soul of wit, and this is awful damn witty at six minutes (by comparison, the Ruryk LP is Neil Hamburger). Rock!


The Rita: "Crusty Etruscans."
Wall ‘o Blare, or what I often call the sonic cheese-block noise, so named because it seems very dense, with large air pockets in it due to all the over-top static and thick roar. Sounds like a closeup of air molecules getting drunk and fooling around. All the stuff by The Rita that I’ve heard is pretty much like this.
      And now, the fresh faces on the block, hot off the dubbing decks, straight outta Kinkos, into your home prefecture!


Knurl: "Plank."
Man, it’s really hard to come up for new words for a new Knurl tape. If you know Knurl (Alan Bloor, from somewhere up in Canada), he doesn’t exactly change with the winds. This is a 90 minute Knurl tape, and it sounds, much as before, like someone heavily amplifying pieces of metal of all shapes and sizes and rubbing the dermis off of ‘em. Knurl has always had a much more physical sound to him that pedal hoppers tend to miss, a real abrading element. This one does have a few surprises…one track is quite atmospheric, almost ethereal. Another resembles Power Electronics. Another actually allows enough klanging metal sounds to come through to make it resemble K2. You know, for as similar as their approaches are, it’s a bit of a surprise that K2 and Knurl don’t overlap into each other’s territory more often.

Jean Street: "Rehearsals and Real-Time Compositions."
Another big’un (90 minutes) from Detroit’s Nate Young, also known as the electronics half of Wolf Eyes. If you’ve heard a Jean Street recording, you know that he sounds rather like an updated cross-breeding of pre-"Bad Mood Guy" Severed Heads (inspired looseness and haphazard electronics) and non-dancy early Cabaret Voltaire (vicious primitivism) with a voice that bears more than passing resemblance to Steve Albini. This is mostly heavy on the rehearsals, or what sound like tapes of Nate (Jean) trying out some newly rewired machinery, basic rhythms and ideas. The occasional song bounds into the picture, but after a while, you listen to it like an Inca Eyeball album…not really expecting any song to jump out at you, just enjoying the sound and feel and experience of the record as a whole. And if a certain song really knocks you out, hey, bonus! The cheapest glimpse into Nate’s sketchbook as you’ll ever get. Recommended for people who already know just how much they like Jean Street. The CD-R on Hanson is recommended as a primer.

Crack Fierce: "Perspicacious Variance."
A nice, tidy 20 minutes of highly flanged pedal noise from Kato Hideki (to this day, I have no idea if this is the same Kato Hideki who plays bass on the occasional Tzadik release with peeps like Death Ambient). For being such a short tape, this is kind of up and down, bobbin’ and weavin’. Some bits (such as about the last five minutes of side two) are consistently great, playing some very inventive rhythmic patterns out of the blasts and shims. Other parts just don’t seem to know where to begin. The one thing I really noticed, though, was the overall sound. It’s just so…sweet. Almost saccharine. I think I’m beginning to understand why people with objections to certain kinds of noise tend to dislike the all pedal variety: it’s got a very artificial sheen to it. Like a White Castle slider, or a Twinkie. It’s not quite food to people brought up on mom’s home cookin’. When Knurl is yanking on an industrial spring with a length of chain, there’s no doubt about where the violence is coming from. Pedal noise at times seems very homey and unthreatening, particularly when it doesn’t mind flanging and beeping more than splintering and poking (such as this does). Fortunately, I love Hot n’ Now, White Castle, the two for a dollar flats of cookies at my local quickie mart, the whole lot of ‘em. Musically and culinary. Bring ‘em on! Delicious, I could stand to go through the drive through again…I underestimated my appetite.

BDE: "Blue Desert Electrique" CD-R.
Dear Lord…a not-cassette! Could it be? Yeah, it seems so, Joel’s doing it digital for a bit. Nice little production too…a funny full color cover of a blue car, nicely designed, seemingly shellac’d onto the cover (obvious brush strokes), disc painted blue on top. BDE is Phil Todd (of Betley Welcomes Careful Drivers)’s "Power Electronics" project, or so I’m told. I’m glad he mentioned it, because that wouldn’t have been the first thing to enter my mind.
       For those of you not familiar with the sub-genre, Power Electronics is usually defined sonically as kind of a slow boil, a churning cauldron of generally low-end electronic grinds and pharts, broken up by escaping-steam squeals. It’s usually accompanied by shrieking vocalists, with topics ranging from political activism to "the exploration of the extremes of human emotion." (like teasing bears at the zoo, or voting Libertarian? That kinda thing?)
       "Blue Desert Electrique" sounds more like the glitch-y high end digital shreds of people like Pita and Hecker, and the "not quite sure if I’m hearing or feeling it" subsonics of Ryoji Ikeda. Only VERY analogue. Two 20 minute tracks of hissy spinny static, steam and tinfoil. My guess is by Power Electronics, Phil is referring to the "classic" days of Power Electronics, such as the first couple of Whitehouse albums, which often sound more like electronic simulations of the kettle boiling than the modern floor shakers of today. But it’s kind of funny, because it seems like the typical PE "sound" changed to the low end with Whitehouse, the "Great White Death" album. When they changed, so did everybody else. Except BDE, thank heavens. The record is recommended for those who don’t need their noise to be assaultive all the time, but would just as well listen to tiny nebulous creatures with spiny shells twitter and play just outside your field of vision, creating static without friction.

Dogliveroil: "Monkeys and Cockatoos, Livin’ In Perfect Harmony."
Another album from the new Dogliveroil, now expanded to include a couple of percussionists, more obvious moog-damage, some vocals, and yes, a Power Electronics feel. THIS churns and boils and rants and burgles your spare change while you’re in the loo. Plus with the addition of drumming, the clanging and the banging gets again more human, and more physical. The old Dogliveroil was more about the pedals, or at least it sounded more like it. This one has "Study for Deflating Balloon, Percussion and Plastic Flutes," which sounds just like what you’d think, only much more restrained. Almost like chamber music. For dickheads. Like me. Two of the tracks are really short, and the other two are about a half hour each. This sounds pretty similar to some of their other great recent releases: "Postcard of An English Shithouse," and "The Black Art of Dogliveroil," just further refining the style. The slow ugly churn has definitely grown in momentum, making this almost closer in sound (if not execution…the song titles and presentation are still very humorous) to a Grey Wolves album, than say Smell & Quim.

Coits: "The Devil Has His Devil Day/Desire Runs From Me."
A couple of years have passed since the now legendary Coits LP on Very Good, titled "these are the noises you will hear in your head." A lot of people, Joincey included, considered Coits a finished project, in favor of the more unpredictable incarnation of Wagstaff. Yet here is not one, but essentially TWO full length Coits albums on one really long 90 minute tape. Time is all relative, and this one is like spending time with all of your shrillest relatives all at once for a long, hot summer.
     I can’t say I’ve heard much Coits before this (a track on a 7"comp is all, really), but I was under the impression it was more free guitar without much distortion. This is guitar also, but the distort is so far in the red, it’s maroon. For some, making noise recordings is kind of like riding a wild bronco…you turn all the noisemakers on full throttle, and then you get on top and do your best to ride them through to the end of the side without falling off. Falling off is when the feedback gets away from you, reducing everything to a shrill, flat, EEEEEEEEEEEEEEE sound. If you listen for it, you’ll hear the feedback get away from just about any artist you can think of at one time or another (unless you really smother the sound like Skin Crime, The Rita or Macronympha). Joincey, on the other hand, seems to have less interest in riding the bronco as laying on the ground in the path of the oncoming animal, slapping its ass as it runs by. There are long stretches of this tape where ALL you get is EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE, punctuated at times by a couple rakes of the strings. Some of it really shimmies like a fat man, some threatens from a fifth floor window and a lot of it is fun, but sometimes you find yourself thinking, "What is it I enjoy about noise again? Am I really enjoying this abuse that much?" Due to length and irritability factor of this one, treating it as two separate albums, listening to each side separately and at different times is probably the way to go. Terrific cover shot, which could be titled, "Tonight, the bottle let me down."

TV Pow: "Unsupported Format."
Now these guys I know. TV Pow are from Chicago, they play here all the time. They open for just about anybody who lists instrumentation as "_________ and laptop manipulations," and headline regularly. And they regularly put me to sleep. Seriously. It’s happened a few times. I’m sorry, sometimes it’s good for periods of five minutes, but the combination of long stretches of undifferentiated digital drone, coupled with the visual sight of 2 to 6 people behind laptops, looks on their faces like they’re locked into a furious game of Minesweeper can get a little narcoleptic.
     Thank heavens, for this tape, they donated some pretty sharp performances. There aren’t too many lags, and even these are pretty stimulating. The moments where they actually put all 4-6 ‘puters to use are awfully pleasing. But I think what works best here really is the visual element. Because you’re probably listening to this on a commute to somewhere, or walking around town, or while you’re cooking dinner, or driving, the temperature is just right (TV Pow shows always seem to be 10 degrees too hot), and you have ample visual stimulation, namely, the world around you, which always makes for a pretty intriguing 74 minute movie (which is the length of this cassette).

Bizarre Uproar: "Antibliss 2."
Seems all the new Spite tapes are either really long or really short. This one is 20 minutes by a somewhat well-known and very hardworking Finnish noise group. This is my first experience with Bizarre Uproar, and here they sound like they might possibly be an actual band – I think I hear cymbals crashing and drums pounding, and I definitely hear a leather-lunged sasquatch imitating Fenriz of Darkthrone in the foreground. All of this is slathered in distortion…not a layer piled on top of the mix, but soaked and immersed in a gooey mess, kind of like pouring a whole bottle of salad dressing on a piece of iceberg lettuce. Each side either ends with a very low rumbling buzz, or maybe that’s just blank tape that sounds like a rumble because I’m playing it so loud to see if there’s anything left. Regardless, each side sounds quite similar…in fact, it almost sounds like it might be the same thing recorded on both sides! It’s probably not, but that sounds kind of nice, like one of those cassette singles with the same program on each side. So you can flip it over, rather than wear out one side of the tape. And if you really like the song, you can flip it again. And flip it again. And flip it. And flip it. I’ve been flipping for this tape for about a week now. 19 flips and counting.

MOULD with Peeled Hearts Paste: "s/t."
I’ve never heard MOULD before, but he and Luca Abela, Dual Plover label head and PHP in the flesh did this show together in 1997, finally released here. It’s not what I would expect from Peeled Hearts Paste (which has since grown into its own as an "extreme turntablist" act by attaching phonograph cartridges to turkey skewers and using them to play cymbals and other LP-like things mounted onto industrial strength 2000 RPM motors), as the two appear to be tuning a radio, and then processing it. If you’re the type of noise fan who finds the idea of hearing Elton John’s "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" coming out of your speakers, only to be obliterated by a Hawaiian punch of free noise to be funny, you’ll definitely want this. I enjoy it because it’s a great set of sounds, but don’t get any real pleasure in hearing someone smack around pop radio just because "it has it coming." It might be nice to be able to do the same thing to the more vapid noise artists, but noisily demolishing bad noise just becomes good noise, and that’s no insult. Unfortunately, I don’t know how easy it’d be to write a top 40 pop song making fun of Napalm Jesus by going "oh baby baby, skreeeoowowoowwwwwwoooo!" Quite frankly, I heard Elton John enough in the ‘80s, and inflicting that song voluntarily on myself again, even within an ironic context, seems like more torture for me than the song’s author.

Wolf Eyes/Metalux split tape.
Two live shows, dunno when, dunno where. Wolf Eyes is Nate of Jean Street’s band as well (he has others. . .?), combining elements of the JS loose boweled electro-wobble with a more industrial edge, courtesy of the accompanying guitarist (Aaron Dilloway, I think). This sounds very much like the Wolf Eyes show I saw in Chicago, unless their machinery regularly catches on fire, or that is some sort of running schtick of theirs. The low-fidelity of the recording makes this sound like a Wolf Eyes show if you were in the audience with two sets of earplugs in your ears. For people who don’t like the ponderous goth-ness of modern industrial, but still dig on the mechanized brutality, this is a shining path in a dark (bat)cave. The Metalux side doesn’t compare, but is more engaging than the few times I’ve seen them live. Since their schtick appears to be not having any ideas or plans in their head before they start playing (more thought seems to be put into what hip second-hand clothes they’re gonna wear onstage), the fact that this turns into some pretty nice formless bass/guitar/drum machine no wave songs (like the Scissor Girls after someone slipped ‘em a mickey) is a pleasant surprise. It’s probably best that I can’t decipher what they’re intoning through their Tom Waits CB radio-as-mic setup. The tape comes in one of those big vinyl boxes that aren’t convenient to carry anywhere.

90 North Lowell St.
Windham, MA 03087

Also, there are more Spite reviews to be found in and around the lake. For example: Muckraker, issue #9 ( has reviews of the Smell & Quim/Cock E.S.P. split/collab 7", the K2/PD/(isofc) collab 7", the Incapacitants/Autoerotichrist split 7", the Humectant Interruption/Crank Sturgeon collab tape, the Crank Sturgeon 4 x cs, the Francois Douris tape, the Macronympha/One Dark Eye tape, the Wagstaff tape, the Sukora tape and the tac tape.

The C. M. Sienko Foundation home page ( has two more reviews of early and out of print releases by Humectant Interruption and Facialmess, with the promise of many more in the future.

The forthcoming (as of this publication) 46th issue of Dead Angel ( will contain reviews of the Odal and Sudden Infant tapes for Spite.

Bananafish magazine, issues 13 and 14, both have numerous Spite reviews, and I heard from somebody that The Wire magazine reviewed Dylan Nyoukis’ "With Hicks In The Sudan" tape in their "Out Sound" section.

There may be others as well. There oughtta be.


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