This is the first release on the newly-founded Industrial Culture label from Germany founded in March 2012; the Gnawed /RxAxPxE c60 split cassette. A plain black cassette housed in a retro black and clear cassette case, black and white artwork, 100 standard copies and 23 limited steel edition copies. This is an attractive first release; strong sounds are needed to match these high opening visual standards.
Grant Richardson’s Minneapolis USA based Gnawed project have been releasing since 2009 with several cassettes and splits with the likes of Taklamakan , Pusdrainer and Disthroned Agony . Gnawed are described as Harsh/ Industrial /Power Electronics.
Gnawed begin with Routine Taboo which opens with an impressive scope of Death blast and drone. The drone increases in depth with incoherent vocalisations from what sounds like sampled news or documentary reports. Flesh Cell resonates blasts and noises that carry things on smoothly from where Routine Taboo left off, distorted hisses pitch in, followed by sharp electronic frequencies over a choppy deeper base sound. This functions as a Dark Ambient base upon which power noises are overlaid. Forever hums into action before turning into a Tibetan type sounding drone punctuating through a rough sea of coiling noises. This contrasts away from the previous two tracks well. Gnawed reaches an impressive bombast that does not get too muddied as can sometimes happen in noise work, where artists attempt to make form from overly chaotic work. Pretend starts with a single synth blast before a wall of noise parallels it, this uses more wall methods with the synth making noises behind the Walls’ broken frontal blast. Wavering feedback enters as a third sound/contrast; it pushes the noise forward, so the wall is an element of the entire composition, not the composition being a composed wall. Hiding the Scars feeds back with thumping deep noises battling sharp pitches of noise. This is the most industrial sounding of all the tracks, it sounds like a massive loud busy factory kicking off sonically in production. Chains opens with Hellish blasts of sounds, like uneven over amplified breathing, this leans toward a more noisy ambient sound, a violent slow finale to the Gnawed side.
The Gnawed tracks are all strong, there is variety in all of the sounds used and different methods, it’s not all samey. There is a lot of inventiveness and good use of sample, most certainly on the opening track Routine Taboo. Sharpness and consideration seem to define the Gnawed approach; things never get murky or dull.
Germany’s RxAxPxE is a harsh noise+ project and has been active since 2005. I am curious to see how powerful RxAxPxE are in sound, due to their extreme name, imagery and bold statements on their website:
Formed in 2005. Combining harsh electronical noise with gore elements, power electronics, explicit lyrics and visuals, rXaXpXe creates the soundtrack to a new reality.
Burning Faith is a sharp Power Industrial work, a sharp creaking blasting. It has a wall-like density, but there’s a lot more going on, beyond merely being a wall. It is thick and dense compared to Gnawed but still effective as there’s clarity to the sound, a defined density, with clear definitive sounds also. The entire sound sharpens like fingernails on a school blackboard as it progresses, an impressive aggressive intro. Wisdom pulsates into action with deep feedback and is then hit with static. The two sounds compete for the forefront but seem to settle on a truce where one leads, working in harmony eventually with each other and it works in an interesting way that contrasts with Burning Faith. This suddenly accelerates into the rumblings of Awakening which quickly turns into what I would call an aggressive Power Wall, this is not like before where a wall is an ingredient of the track, a lot of grinding, sharp sounds and static blasts combine to form an entire spiky wall. Awakening peters out to kick into His Name which is a more recognisable traditional wall that ups the ante even more. Crispy sharp grinding sounds fight with blasts at a hyperspeed of mass that is almost rhythmic or looped, this intensifies as deeper blasts roar and both weave through each other. There is a hellish ambience created from the combination of both. Free begins with a rumbling crackle, that is cut into and later complimented with negative humming feedback, a kind of low wall, industrial grinding noises make a cameo appearance.
rXaXpXe does use harsh sounds, but is master at making them work together, a kind of simultaneously brutal and beautiful noise. They are on their way to creating a language of their own different but like the New Blockaders did with noise early on. This would be accelerated by moving away from conventional noise sounds. Three raw elements can be combined and become complimentary to each other. rXaXpXe doesn’t need the name or imagery as he makes thinking noise, well produced thought out work, seriously considered sounds.
Both artists have made strong contributions to this split. Each side is crystal clear, well thought out, varied, inventive, interesting and impressive. Were both artists aware of what the other was making, it is difficult to decide who made the better side? Each contribution juggles up existing genres freely, a coincidental strength or an agreed method? It shows both Gnawed and rXaXpXe capable of mixing and shifting confidently and fluidly, I’d urge both to throw anything in the mix and see what happens. This split cassette serves as an excellent addition to the work of both artists and a good first release by Industrial-Culture.
Written by: Lazrs4
Label: Industrial Culture Format: C60 – Cat. # IXC-MC-0001
Hiding the Scars