Three cd collection, over three hours of harsh power electronics from the United States Of America. It seems like only a decade ago that you could literally count the American Power Electronics artists on your hands, and now there is this compilation with all of these newfangled PE folks on it. Some artists on here do not usually do this sort of music and are actually more known for other genres, and other artists seem to have crawled out of the woodwork just for this appearance on disc. Basically, Power Electronics is a genre of music where (mostly white) people (predominantly male) scream over weird throbbing electronic sounds and noise. Sometimes it’s done really well and works as a form of personal expression, and sometimes it’s done very poorly and comes off as silly or trite. This compilation is a rather broad cross-section of various attempts at making power electronics, and varying degrees of success and failure to be found within. The lamer tracks still have a charm about them of someone’s effort, and the overall effect shows the vast range of expression and potential for personal expression within the field of power electronics. Fire In The Head opens things up with the accusatorily-titled track “Complacence Is Your Disgrace MKII.” I thought that guy’s stuff wasn’t power electronics anymore? Well, he opens up the American Power Electronics compilation with a nicely recorded track of weird creepy vocals and scary power electronic sounds. Richard Ramirez’ track seems like it’s a joke on PE fans, just the amplified sound of two guys fucking. Genocide Lolita samples The Byrds and the John Milius film “Red Dawn” for his attempt at atmospherics, and his track goes on for quite some time, like eight minutes. Finally, Violent Pink comes in and picks things up with some good old fashioned harsh and loud feedback.
Just loud, in your face screaming. Visceral passion and complete immersion into harsh abandon from Violent Pink brings the first really exciting track of the compilation, the first time you really feel like this might be really good. Shows you what you can do with a power electronics track! Very cathartic. Deeper Wells comes next with a meditative and similarly affecting track… a calm atmosphere gives way to explosions of violent feedback and screams, really good and raw stuff. Then Frailty Of Angels is really weak… just some gothic whispering from guys smoking cigarettes behind Hot Topic, kind of like a Dungeons and Dragons kind of vibe here. Gnawed brings some really nice gristly sound with a Taint-influenced warbly flangered vocal style. Raw and industrial, with a nicely mixed sound, angry accusatory vocals. “Never compromise!” the guy keeps saying. Magia Nuda uses a nice drum machine sound that reminds me of “Persuasion” by Throbbing Gristle… strong gruff vocals definitely make the track stick out… reminds me a little bit of a more old-school and Industrial version of Bastard Noise. Never heard of James Balster before… nice track. Some really weird distant high-pitched sounds, really arty and kind of pleasant, then a harsh noise wall kind of sound mixes in… yelled vocals with kind of a delay sound happening. Next is Deterge… Jim Haras’ stuff is really solid, and this track is a good representation. You can’t go wrong with Deterge… assured quality with a personal touch that makes it unique. Blood Rhythms is next, never heard of them before… really loud and dirty kind of noise. The vocals are kind of upfront and growly, sort of like Streicher I guess, with maybe some Non influence in there. Not bad, but it sounds like somebody’s demo tape excerpt and not a finished recording from a developed musical effort.
Nyarlathotep is similar, but a bit quieter mix and with movie samples. I can’t say much about Reptilian Sexual Predator except that (a) it’s my wife and I doing power electronics and (b) I cannot understand a word that either of us is saying in the track (despite the fact that we are yelling from lyrics sheets while recording). Eh. The Churner track is next and sounds kind of quiet, just a guy in his practice space kind of yelling in the distance over feedback. RU-486 presents a nice live set from 2010, with Bereft providing backing noise for him. RU is known for both his visceral live sets and King Diamond-esque falsetto, both of which are on display here. Track nicely puts across the feel of a loud and violent live noise performancw, which is appropriate for an artist known for his violent live sets. Good. Koufar closes things out with a typical Mack Chami masterpiece, mixing together violent screams with melodic samples and machine gun fire and explosion sounds. An amazing track with a scope and breadth to the composition that puts a lot of stuff on here to shame! Always brilliant and original stuff from that guy, and this is probably one of the final tracks from this project. Along with Deterge, RSP (ahem…), RU-486, and Violent Pink, Koufar is one of the real standouts from the first disc of this mammoth and ambitious collection of artists.
Ok, onwards to disc two. You know, compared to that really long Hospital cassette comp that came out recently (“White Eye Of Winter Waching”), the fact that this is on CD and you can skip over tracks is a real asset here. It improves repeated listenability considerably. First track by His Throne has a kind of harsh noise thing going on, not too bad, but nothing to write home about. The Vomit Arsonist brings a surprisingly relaxed, ambient kind of digital track with hushed growly vocals that works exceptionally well. A really beautiful track from that guy, still really tough and menacing sounding. Maybe my favorite track that I have heard from The Vomit Arsonist! Really nice… sounds like wandering through a dream. Typical harsh kind of stuff from Constrictions, really loud and mixing in some emergency vehicle sounds for added fun… loud screams and weird electronics, toughman kind of stuff. Miscreant tracks starts with a funny sample that repeats itself a lot, pretty good and kind of goes on for a while… these guys really seem to get what its all about though, at least. Murderous Vision is a long-running Ohio project from a guy who has long contributed to the PE scene, and here he’s doing his atmospheric electronics thing quite well. Good to see someone represented on here that has contributed so much to the scene… speaking of which, Nyodene D appears with a track that really typifies that guys stuff, really heartfelt and emotional kind of thing about being dissatisfied with the world and corruption and so forth. Next is Cunting Daughters… never heard them before but the vocals have an authentic and raw kind of sound that reminds me of some old riot grrl kind of stuff mixed with PE- really nice, I totally dig the sounds. Want to hear more from this project, got a real visceral Crass Records kind of feel to it… so cool.
Josh Hydeman used to be in Twodeadslutsonegoodfuck, and his track on here will not disapoint fans of his work… strong electronics with raspy and evil vocals layered over it… nice and almost ambient harsh electronic textures… not bad at all. Goatlab is a guy named Greg from Mississippi who usually is a techno DJ, but Goatlab has a harsh Industrial PE flavor that is definitely in a league of its own. Really technologically progressive stuff that still retains a strong desire to get the hands dirty, an important feature for a PE artist. This track is about some Islamic Jihad character. The Thin White Puke and Bitchneck then proceed to also have tracks. TTWP’s stuff actually sounds pretty vicious despite the silly name, actually kind of impressive… doesn’t outstay it’s welcome, either. Bitchneck is one of the worst names that I have ever seen in my entire life. People talk about bad band names, but “Bitchneck”? I mean, come on. The track begins with this annoying aspect of stopping for a second of silence a few times at the beginning, then goes into some digital kind of stuff and some yelling. He yells the titular line “Death Ought To Be,” then he talks about people evacuating their bowels when they die. Hmmm.
Moving along… Corpuscle brings a really beautiful atmosphere with “Chalk In Mouth,” one of the highlights of this entire release in my opinion. Corpuscle is one of the best Boston projects in the upcoming PE scene, really worth following what these guys are up to. An amazing track, atmospheric organ sound mixing in with dreamlike static crunch and a truly depraved vocal with a derangement that cannot be faked. Powerful and atmospheric stuff. Bereft always has some hefty PE jams… track is mixed kind of quiet though. Those are some solid dudes, always bringing the weighty and scary vibes. American Bald Head Northeast Power Electronics! Represent. Always a spooky and dark atmosphere with Bereft. Klit’s track is pretty good, some nice, grinding spooky stuff. Lot of Boston guys in a row here. Hierchiss breaks things up a bit representing the deep south in the USA, she is a real talent, but her stuff just needs to be developed a bit more. The vocals are sort of glaringly unconvincing, and it’s really not one of the best tracks here. A performer whose live work is quite exceptional and impressive, the recording here just doesn’t really do justice to what she can achieve in person. Sharpwaist really makes it all worthwhile with a complete downer of a masterpiece that is his contributions… a heartbreaking and completely engaging ode to revenge murder following the sadness of familial loss. Truly a powerful track that puts to shame many of the uninspired and unengaging tracks that surround it. Definitely a highlight of the entire three disc release, Sharpwaist really demonstrates the emotion depth and power that can be acheived in the PE genre… reminds me almost of a PE artist backed by a stripped down and electronics-driven Godspeed You Black Emperor… beautiful track.
Disc three saves some of the more well-known artists for last. False Flag opens with a loud, overdriven digital type of thing. Xiphoid Dimentia, similar to Murderous Vision on the second disc, brings a more subtle atmosphere to the proceedings, in fact incorporating a little bit of minmalist techno and ambient electronics with his stuff. A well-crafted journey that is a nice break from all of the young fellows yelling… takes things into a territory maybe similar to artists like Coil or even the reformed, post 9/11 TG. Egan has been doing his thing in Boston for a while, and represents Xiphoid Dimentia well here, really good stuff. Streetmeat represents Texas with one of the best tracks on the entire compilation, a straight-forward combination of high-end synth sounds and crusty chanting that is truly skeezy and depraved. Great stuff from the artist behind the raw harsh noise/hnw project White Gimp Mask… Robbie is one of the best guys in noise right now as far as the current generation goes… he really knows what it is all about. Corephallism is next, and Shane (formerly of Twodeadsluts etc..) always brings it with a tasteless and literate abandon.
Thoughtful and intelectual sadism from a strong force in Power Electronics in America, definitely an important presence on the comp. Vocals are not really present or maybe buried in the mix, but the overall sound has an intensity and power that stands out as it’s own expressive voice. Killer track… apparently part of the ending was left off… Brutal work, nonetheless, from a gentleman of leisure. Pharmakon comes next with a strong track that, if I am not mistaken, I have actually seen her perform live. Track does a killer job of replicating the viscious and controlled experience of Margaret’s live performance… industrial metal sounds over a bed of purple synths, creating a cushion for the propulsive and assaultive vocal attack. This track is an excellent representation of this project, and another major highlight of the compilation. Just when you think things can’t get much better, Slogun’s track keeps it real with discernable vocals and strange loops, creating a subdued experience that is singular and unique to this release. His track typifies the spirit of power electronics, confronting the self in an extremely direct and personal way that causes the listener to have to confront some aspect of themselves. Slogun represents very much here the best aspects of the power electronics genre, self-confrontation and a desire to break away from self-deception. Catharsis and analysis… a truly great track that combines an eerie chanting sample with a percussive loop to great effect, very personal and controlled sound. Killer! Slogun rules. And just when things were looking up, here comes Rape-X. An awful track, probably the worst on the entire release, its presence marring the integrity of the rest of the compilation. Just pedestrian. Not sure who Zulanwar is, but it sounds like industrial.
Custodian has some nice old-school sounds mixed with a more modern recording style, nice and harsh with a good foundation. Good project. Grammal Seizure has a 90s euro-Industrial thing going on, pretty cool and kind of akin to Genocide Organ. “You have the power, you have the control” the guy keeps saying over samples of dudes talking about MKULTRA programs. Heavy, man. I have a soft spot in my heart for Striations, just really nice old-school sounding raw harsh noise/power electronics that always surprises. Silly, Anal Cunt-esque track-title aside, the contribution here really represents the spirit of Striations (and power electronics in general) with a superb performance here that seems like it could stand up along-side a “Teenage Nuremburg”-era Consumer Electronics… it’s really that good! Excellent stuff from this up and coming California artist. Steel Hook Prosthesis never disappoints, the track here presents them with their usual creepy harsh hospital/mental ward-themed Industrial electronic stuff with gruff vocals. Mania is a master of the genre, and his track well represents his brand of strange and violent sci-fi tinged power electronics junk metal works.
His sonics are similar in spirit to his collage art (as seen on several Mania releases as well as the BizarreSSMania collaboration LP). Blessed Sacrifist has some really serious-sounding ritual type of stuff. Never heard of Wolverine Carcass before. Glitchy kind of noise. Next song is by Heavy Breathing and is called “I Can Make You (Mother’s Milk).” Excuse me? Thanks for offering I guess, but I’m going to pass on that one, buddy. Secret Guilt is really lo-fi and kind of cool, but I’ve started to kind of drift away from the comp by this point… final track appears to be by someone called Machismo, and it has very indistinct overblown harsh noise and yelling with a sick vibe. A good track, but by this point you are sort of exhausted of hearing all these acts that are not distinguishable from one another. The good material on here is totally brilliant… the bad stuff on here is everything your friends warned you about power electronics. Despite the enormous running length of the compilation, a multitude of significant and unique voices in modern US Power Electronics players are absent (FFH, Halflings, Tension Fields, Breathing Problem, Alberich, Prurient, Shallow Waters, Mindhunter, Filth, Death Squad, Whorebutcher, Bloodyminded, for example), the presence of some of them and the deletion of some others would have definitely contributed to the overall quality and enjoyment to be found within. That said, it must have been a gargantuan effort on the part of Peter from L. White to put this thing together, and the effort shows. It comes arranged in a beautiful package with very striking cover art, and the entire effort shows a great love for American PE and a desire to create a higher awareness for the artists from this great nation. Worth it for the good stuff, and you can skip past the rest thanks to digital technology.
1. Fire In The Head – Complacency Is Your Disgrace MKII
2. Richard Ramirez – Pounding
3. Genocide Lolita – Turn
4. Violent Pink – Easing The Spring
5. Deeper Wells – Untitled
6. Frailty Of Angels – F.D.M.G.
7. Gnawed – Insect
8. Magia Nuda – Savage
9. James Balster – VRE
10. Deterge – Frustration (For Her)
11. Blood Rhythms – In A Vacuum
12. Nyarlathotep – Shit God
13. Reptilian Sexual Predator – Deeds Not Words
14. Churner – You Get Nothing In Return
15. RU-486 – Untitled (Featuring Bereft Live At Dead Audio Festival 2010)
16. Koufar – Children Singing In The Streets Among The Slaughtered
17. His Throne – Acid Capsule
18. The Vomit Arsonist – Rezso Seress
19. Constrictions – Transparent
20. Miscreant – Pale Hands
21. Murderous Vision – A Blooding Cavalcade
22. Nyodene D – I Know That I Am Fighting A War That I Cannot Win
23. Cunting Daughters – Age Of Entitlement
24. Josh Hydeman – High Risk Youth
25. Goatlab – Juba
26. The Thin White Puke – Confidence Man
27. Bitchneck – Death Ought To Be
28. Corpuscle – Chalk In Mouth
29. Bereft – Might Makes Right
30. Klit – Satan Chrome
31. Hierchiss – The Shape Of Pain
32. Sharpwaist – To Burn Your Bones
33. False Flag – Truly Free
34. Xiphoid Dimentia – A Virus Of My Own Design
35. Streetmeat – Rosalind
36. Corephallism – Medford Rape Bridge
37. Pharmakon – Cast Into The Crowning Point
38. Slogun – Forever And Ever And Ever
39. Rape-X – Three Letter Word
40. Zulanwar – Fall To Absolute Dust
41. Custodian – Shortening Of Breath
42. Grammal Seizure – Mind Kontrol Ultra
43. Striations – You Duct-Taped Your Three-Year-Old
44. Steel Hook Prosthesis – Willowbrook Building Six
45. Mania – Kill Them Cheaply
46. Blessed Sacrifist – Veiled Eyes
47. Wolverine Carcass – Three A.M.
48. Heavy Breathing – I Can Make You (Mother’s Milk)
49. Secret Guilt – Crawling Through Worms
50. Machismo – You Weren’t Born Innocent