It seems that splits between veteran artists and those in their infancy have been a popular pairing lately, and this absurdly short C10 from Rainbow Bridge Records is no exception. Here we find two artists whom are worlds away in terms of geography as well as experience, but what brings them together outside of their dual incredibly prolific release schedules is, of course, the noise. That said, the veteran here is of course Torturing Nurse, a group of artists whom have been known to embody several different styles from harsh noise to noise rock in various moments over their career and whom have been as busy in a live setting in their native China as they have in their studio. Their own label, Shasha Records, has played host to many of their releases but they have found other homes in Indie-ziert, Turgid Animal, Abgurd, Verato Project, Roil Noise, Placenta Recordings, Troniks, Hypermodern, and seemingly countless others. On the other hand is Hostage Pageant, the solo project of Crooked Necks artist and Viriginia local Shane Church. As mentioned, this project is merely in its infancy currently, having found a voice in September 2010 through a split cassette with Vitrazh on Head Destroyer Tapes, putting its birth just a couple of months after the closure of the original Heathen Harvest. Despite this short existence, Hostage Pageant has quickly been making a respectable name for itself with the help of Rainbow Bridge, Violent Noise Atrocities, and a label that has similarly come out of nowhere and found a good deal of support, Handmade Birds.
Torturing Nurse kicks off side A with “Chaos Id”, a definite reference to one of the three theoretical constructs of Sigmund Freud’s structural model of the psyche. Despite the name, the Id is in itself chaos incarnate in each human mind and contains the primal, instinctual drives including survival and libido. The Id is unconscious, dark, inaccessible, and largely represents the most repressed and tenebrous side of our being. Pure primordial energy. It would seem appropriate then that Torturing Nurse would start out their track with a piercing feedback-driven high-pitched screeching that backs a largely unfilled mix. Chaotic sound and inaudible power electronics-styled vocals populate the areas around this one shifting line of sound, occasionally bringing snare drum hits, deep static-ridden fuzz and dis-harmonic, extremely high-end tones together to create a whirlwind of pure emotion. In similar chaotic fashion, the track crescendos into a climactic approach and simply quickly fades out of existence in a short second (or less).
Hostage Pageant represents the manifestation of the Id, taking his theme away from the unconscious element and pulling it into the conscious mind and the choice of a subject in suicide. His work here, in a visceral manner, utilizes an almost identical style as Side A but with more edge going to the mid-range tone experimentation that embodies the pain of being driven to a second attempt. More inaudible, overly distorted screaming filters through the mix only as an electronic presence, being surrounded by the tweaking of tones, quick glitches and even a sudden moment of silence with a minimal, clicking static rhythm that ends the track. This in the end seems to personify the sound into the actual act of suicide, running through the rampant emotions present at a time of crisis, the torn mind frantically seeking between decisions, and in the end succeeding with this new attempt as represented through the quick cut in sound, with the only life left being represented by the brief flickering of neurons in subtle clicks.
Frankly, it’s difficult to rate a tape release that clocks in at under 10 total minutes. If you want to look at it in the light of total quality, there isn’t much new to report here in terms of originality and the short length that the tape offers makes it difficult to suggest that it’s worth the price of admission. If you want to look at it from the view that it’s a view into the world of two different but similar unique artists on opposite sides of the globe, well both certainly represented their respective themes with precision, though it seems necessary to give appropriate kudos to Shane for his unique method of creating noise to suit a situation, whether that was his intention or not. Let’s call this one a “respectable effort”, as it showed the best sides of both projects without giving any further insight into the rest of their talent.
Side A: Torturing Nurse – Chaos Id
Side B: Hostage Pageant – 2nd Attempt at Suicide