“Memory And Hearing” by Ahlzagailzehguh is an atypical release that takes this harsh noise-driven project into new vistas of sonic exploration. Composed of what seems like a million intricate and separate sounds, the overall effect is like an audio tapestry of one man’s life reflected through a multitude of individual recordings and experimental performances. Any given moment from this release could come from a number of unknown sources… there are many collaborators mentioned as taking part in this release, including all three members of Yellow Tears and J. Vibg of Viodre. The sounds are often brief and range between quick single sounds existing amidst silence (the most common) all the way to more sustained blasts of noise lasting longer periods of time or even snippets of melodic synth. In particular, a synthesizer arpeggio that appears towards the beginning of the release repeats throughout in varying guises, acting as a sort of benchmarker to realize where one is at in the recording. Often, long stretches of time will go by where the listener feels like they are just listening to someone eat dinner, and then seconds of powerful noise will come in and break up the calm. Snippets of particular recordings come in through split seconds all throughout the duration of the track.
One thing that the Ahlzagailzehguh (US) project has been known for his attention to detail, and this release perhaps more than any other so far exemplifies this concept. With a compositional structure of such a varied multitude of individual pieces, the care and consideration of placement that is evident throughout the release becomes an important part of the overall feel. Similar to the collage art that accompanies the cd, the actual editing process becomes an instrument in the making of the noise, a primary catalyst for change in sea of disconnected thoughts and images presented in a stitched together collection of sound. The editing is so complex and intricately conducted that it creates an atmosphere of distortion and unreality, reflecting an almost absurdist/dadaist intent. Ultimately, it seems to demonstrate a somewhat existentialist take on the highs and lows of life, perhaps seen through the reflection of a shattered mirror. It has splintered into so many pieces that the multitude of reflections have decided to create their own unified sense of logic and physics. At times, the sounds will pick up, becoming propulsive and violent only to stop on a dime and present a cut to a pastoral scene, then more harsh noise and feedback. Reflecting the flow of memory as one realizes all the things that happened, sometimes wildly swaying the emotions as one uncovers thoughts and deeds once buried.
This record definitely stands apart from the sort of full-on noise that Ahlzagailzehguh is known for, but the content within is strikingly new territory- the production is so unique on this release that it will be interesting to see what effect the process of making this will have on future releases. “Memory And Hearing” serves the purpose of being true to a particular idea and concept, and staying true to a singularity of vision and mood for this particular release pays off quite well when sitting down with this recording again and again. It is definitely not like any noise release that I have ever heard before, comparably most comfortably perhaps to some more intimate material by Runzelstirn and Gurgelstock. In terms of American harsh noise, Ahlzagailzehguh is one of the top names in terms of cut-up stuff in particular, and this release really takes that kind of material completely over the top for this project. All of the strange snippets of noise are buffered by huge sections of just pure silence, creating a cloak of quiet and disruption that definitely messes with one’s perception while listening. The overall effect paints an erratic and completely vivid picture of a fractured and segmented awareness that is perhaps something close to a true picture of the connection that we have with memory. Throughout the duration of this release, almost any kind of noise or experimental recording seems to be explored for at least a moment. Truly a unique release in terms of content and expression… similar in a lot of ways to a really great movie- it must be experienced in its entirety before even beginning to understand what is going on within. The enormous level of concentrated content alone is enough to merit repeated listens, but what those listens yield is a mystery perhaps never to be solved, the existential dilemma of life and death. Ultimately all you can do is enjoy your life and prolong the inevitable, and in the meantime Ahlzagailzehguh will be making some incredible noise. This is the kind of thing where hearing is believing… a record that is really worth spending some time with, truly a lot to sink your teeth into. Exceptionally weird and amazing soundwork.
1. Memory And Hearing