I’ve never been able to reach an absolute conclusion as to if the conceptual approach has a place in noise. In the ideal scenario, for me noise is sufficiently saturated with energy, emotion and images and I don’t need anything else but the sound itself to experience it at its fullest. However, I’ve seen and heard bad examples of concept records, and I’ve heard some good ones too. But one thing that I know for sure is that This Dismal World — the brand new split between the German dark ambient/industrial act Anemone Tube and Dissecting Table, whom are a cult yet quite underrated (in my modest opinion) figure not only for the Japanese, but the global industrial/noise scene — is among the few magnificent examples of symbiosis between idea and sound that I have heard. Their record gravitates around the Four Nobel Truths, which in Buddhism explain the nature of suffering.
I’ve never been a fan of religion nor mythology, and I guess I never will be. However, in This Dismal World, both projects were able to turn their influences into an organic element of their music. Everything on this record, from its concept through its design and until its very last bit of noise is embodied in a massive — and I have to admit — extremely intense and aggressive atmosphere. It is by no means pretentious, nor forced; on the contrary — we have noise at its finest, retaining its destructive and pure nature, while at the same time touched and accomplished by something subtle and personal. Which, just as the cover image is out of focus, can be interpreted from many different angles, none of which is correct or wrong.
The first side of the split is in the hands of Anemone Tube. The music that Stefan Hanser has been making for the last 15+ years is an extremely crafty, yet abrasive reverence to sound destruction. Still, this signature atmosphere which he achieves, for me, will be many times more atmospheric and picturesque than all of the sterile and hyper-produced records that we’re force-fed by the majority of ambient labels nowadays. The material which we’ve been offered here has spent some time maturing. The field recordings, which are the backbone of Anemone Tube’s opening piece, were made in a Chinese mausoleum six years ago, and I don’t know if it’s that or it’s just in my head, but you can clearly hear this in the piece. Grim and rotten, it’s soaked with the smell of past times spent in the endless stasis of death. “In the Mausoleum” moves slowly and almost gently, but it is exactly this that makes it dangerous, for the blackness inside it is spreads over you unnoticed. And believe it or not you’ll find a saviour following it in “From Anthropocentrism to Demonocentrism”, a piece that is far more lively and eclectic, and which also originates from field recordings, only this time made in Nanjing and Shanghai Buddhist temples. There are voices that slowly pile up in the track. They are human, but they are also distant and unknown; they are no longer real, they are something that lurks only in the cursed dimensions of Anemone Tube’s deformed reality.
If Side A was an evil yet a bit merciful introduction to This Dismal World, Dissecting Table shows no remorse. His piece is like a violent and possessed rusty machine. In its twenty minutes, it wanders between harsh industrial, noise, and power electronics that are backed by heavy ritual drumming. Among all this shattering, intense and destructive sound abuse you’ll find Ichiro Tsuji reciting, screaming, and preaching the whole the 25th Lotus Sutra about The Universal Gate of Bodhisattva Kanzeon (the perceiver of the world’s lamentations). “1000 Tones” is a mantra, a sonic rape, concentrated emotion and a hostile message from another world. You need to experience such music, you need to encounter such artists. They are a great reminder you are not safe in this world. And yes, this applies to both sides of this record.
A1) In the Mausoleum
A2) From Anthropocentrism to Demonocentrism
B1) 1000 Tones