Hardcore Methodology, Uncodified‘s latest full-length, is a joint effort between legendary Italian post-industrial label Old Europa Cafè and Elettronica Radicale Edizioni—a more or less brand new label that is helmed by Marco Deplano, who is otherwise known for his amazing work as Wertham, Caligula031, Foresta di Ferro, and more. Corrado Altieri, the man behind Uncodified and other acts from Candor Chasma to Monosonik, is no newcomer to extreme electronics either, so all the ingredients are set for a potentially interesting mix here with Hardcore Methodology.
The liner notes say that this album was recorded and mixed during the span of seven months, which is an unusually long time for any noise-relative release. This clearly shows dedication and care, and combined with the collective professional aura of the two labels involved, it contributes in infusing a feeling of meaningfulness into this piece of plastic.
Altieri composed fifteen tracks for Hardcore Methodology, each with its own very distinguishable system of sounds, none of which last for more than four minutes. Getting noise down to what could be considered nearly a ‘song’ form is a commendable effort, and it’s an interesting choice for a genre that often opts for lengthy free-form improvisation jams.
It seems that Hardcore Methodology features many of the classic elements that we all love about noise: nasty distorted synthesisers, crunchy white noise, and contact microphone manipulation serve well as binder. The otherwise traditional approach of using samples and grainy feedback just tops the cake. Everything is layered in an extremely dynamic and narrative way that’s somehow surprisingly ‘easy’ on the ears, given its caustic nature. Most of all, every track has a strong structure and it’s easy to recognise one from another. That’s an aspect of Uncodified’s sound that doesn’t come easily in this kind of music; at the very least, it doesn’t happen as often as it should.
Altieri has absolutely proven that he knows what he’s doing, and he wears his influences right on his sleeve. Some bits reminded me of magnified, hi-fi versions of old Grey Wolves backtracks, while others explore more ‘quiet’ (well, sort of), quasi-electroacoustic territories, and others still lean towards what I’m used to hearing in extra-spastic Japanese harsh noise à la Government Alpha.
A strong undertone of classic, murky, and perverse Italian death industrial permeates the whole record though; the sounds are fucking mean and the intensity never fades. Uncodified wants to hurt its audience.
Quite a few of the tracks on Hardcore Methodology feature other Italian artists, including Gianluca Favaron, Bologna Violenta, Caligula031, Sshe Retina Stimulants, and his partner in Candor Chasma, Simon Balestrazzi. At least one of these artists was quite unexpected, but I think Mr. Altieri managed to absorb their input pretty well, keeping his album together well and never letting his guests stray from the strict path that he set for them.
I’m a sucker for piercing, constant, angry, and painful power electronics synths, and Hardcore Methodology delivered plentiful moments of complete bliss: try the track ‘Collection of Clothes’, for instance, and tell me you don’t feel a gentle tickle in your genitals. In fact, the only major flaw I can find in the most overly power-electronics-influenced tracks is that they would sound even better with ugly screamed vocals over top of them.
Unmodified also uses a bit of old-school panning that never hurts and takes me back to hours of intense Japanese noise records from the ’90s. In ‘Catalogues’, it works especially well, also thanks to the spot-on layering of different masses of noise. On the opening track ‘Welcome!’, however, it does sound a bit forced. I must say that there are a few sounds here and there that I just didn’t enjoy, like the seldom use of 8-bit noises in ‘Anterooms’ or the toy laser gun effects in ‘The Teachers’ and ‘Dubbing’, but those are elements that almost never work for me in this context.
The handful of extremely short and usually very violent tracks (ranging from sixteen seconds to a bit more than one minute) sound quite good, but they register a bit like unnecessary fillers. I wish they lasted longer so I could get more out of them.
On the other hand, something I really appreciated is the subtle approach to the over-abused thematic of pornography (yes, if you didn’t guess it yet, that’s what the ‘Hardcore’ portion of the title refers to). Besides a short sample of girls moaning, there’s almost nothing that links this album to the glorious tongue-in-cheek days of porn noise, and as much as I love that stuff, this makes Uncodified’s work more original and fresh.
Overall, the production of this album is powerful, professional, and just clean enough; the tracks flow like a charm. Corrado Altieri has experience and it shows. He practically did everything he could to please noise-heads like me: he kept his work simple yet refined, strong, focused, and clear. For that, he deserves thanks.
With the exception of a few weaker pieces, I think that Hardcore Methodology is a heavy milestone (or tombstone, since if I’m not mistaken this project is supposed to be over soon) in the Sardinian artist’s discography. I’m very happy to find yet another good noise album from Italy, and especially from Sardinia—a region that never had much of it as far as I know, and which is burnt into the collective mind of Italian and foreign tourists more as a pretty summer resort than a place for weird music. I hope to hear more, and I know that there are a few people playing various kinds of extreme music over there.
In conclusion, I strongly recommend Hardcore Methodology to all fans of old-school Italian death industrial, power electronics, and harsh noise in general. It’s a good example of modern Italian noise. We’re still pretty damn good at this stuff, folks.
02) Methodology 1
04) (L) Hotel
06) Collection of Clothes
07) Complete Actress
08) Methodology 2
09) The Teachers
10) Summer Instructions
11) Cotton Pads
12) Available Location
14) Preparatory Study
15) Methodology 3 (End of Report)
Written by: Nicola Vinciguerra
Old Europa Cafe (Italy) / OECD203 / Digi-CD
Elettronica Radicale Edizioni (Italy) / EREAU006 / Digi-CD
Power Electronics / Industrial / Noise / Death Industrial