This is an interesting release, a three-cassette box set of abstract noise/power electronics compositions that seems to be working out a dialogue on the concept of fear. To wit, the artwork for this features nicely arranged abstract photographs of a large black cloth blowing in the wind, seeming to represent the amorphous and enveloping nature of fear at a base level. This visual, designed by Mr. Woods, does a good job of representing the abstract, claustrophobic vibe that this release is enveloped by. The musical aspect is mostly intricately cut-up noise blasts mixed with quiet periods of hearing strange quiet sounds of indeterminable nature. The vocal aspect of this release is not the usual Power Electronics kind of sound, but instead a series of strange dialogues that are related to several stage productions created by Mr. Woods. The vocals are pitch bent and put through effects (they sound kind of like one of those computer voice programs reading pre-scripted dialogue), sometimes accompanied by weird slurping sounds, quite unsettling. It really does have a unique vibe that does somehow manifest the waking reality of certain aspects of the emotion of fear. There are a lot of “static studies,” rushing walls of static’y noise that are mixed in with the weirder sounds, going for a unsettling effect through the juxtaposition of loud and quiet aspects. Some aspects of the release seem inspired by Runzelstirn And Gurgelstock or perhaps even the more recent influence of the sound of Yellow Tears… disturbed and unsettling sounds that create a creepy and cold feeling through a certain distance from the listener. Not a “happy moods” release by any means.
Another aspect to the artwork is a small image that seems to suggest perspective changing, a simple illustration in a rectangle that looks sort of like a pillar on top of a mound. I have to say, the artwork for this release is beautifully subtle and does an even better job of getting across the concepts and ideas than the music itself… I knew from looking at the release instantly the inherent mood and feeling of the overall content within, which is theoretically the main goal with album artwork. The mood overall is one that seems distanced from human emotion while at the same time trying to examine the basic concept of fear… such a lofty goal is difficult to reach on a collection of short tapes, but Woods does an admirable job of putting some ideas out there to this end. The main section of the thing is “Moment Creation,” which is the most understandable dialogue on this thing… it tells a story of a man attempting to build something and hurting himself in the process… the hurt and the pain seems like a symbolically sacrificial act that is the act of creation itself… it seeks to examine the transience of creation, and the fear that comes from the concept of mortality.
Overall, this is an interesting release that asks a lot of interesting questions about time and existence, and what fear means. It does an admirable job of aiming for significance and holding up something of a mirror to the audience, which seems to be an aspect of the release that comes from the theatrical influence on this release. Overall, the noise is good and the concept is really solid, but the execution leaves me kind of with a cold and sterile feeling, which is possibly the intention. “Fear” shows Mr. Woods to be a formidable thinker and maker of noise product, and is worth a listen for those who are interested in midwestern American noise and want to hear something a little different… Peter J. Woods is obviously a hard-working and constructive force for his region, and this release is an odd and compelling slice of the overall Woods aesthetic. Interesting.
1. Fear, Pt. 1
3. Moment Creation
5. A Story
6. Fear, Pt. 2