This is a global compilation of some of the most interesting sound artists at the odder end of the spectrum on Slovenia’s own PharmaFabrik label. Covering all bases from noise to glitch and rhythmic noise to drone, this is a real showcase of what the various fringes of the worldwide Industrial underground get up to.
Japan’s KK Null open with a piece somewhere between abstract noise and thudding old-school industrialism. Nobody familiar with this legend of the Japanese scene will be disappointed (or surprised) by the dynamic twists and turns. Neven M. Agalma’s ‘Treget’ is a skippy, glitch-poppy animal, a touch of Aphex with a rubbed-balloon bass. Then Pharmakoustik’s ‘Distraktion C’ loses us in a morass of distorted voices, buzzing basses and humming background tones, that space out to almost nothing.
Brought back to life, Yoshihiro Kikuchi’s ‘Waves Of Vermiform’ is a dot-matrix printer on the rampage, eating a 56k modem on the way to your ear. This analogue temerity is tamed in ‘Camera’ by Franck Vigroux, a minimal-synth masterclass in maximalism as the simplistic synth line becomed overdriven and distorted to infamy atop a casiotone beat that revels in the noisy degredation of the melody.
Continuing the Casio feel, Nova deViator brings an electronic, clubland feel with an 8-bit, lo-fi sensibility and a breakcore feel for the beat. And then Chris Wood takes the Beat and brings a drone ambience out of elements of it, building a piece from snatches of beat and melody drawn out to shudderingly echo over others. This then devolves further into the digital noise drone of the Mutant Beatniks, their electronic sound like error messages from the server room. Even further into the electronic side of abstraction, Vega Stereo’s ‘Morning’ is a glitchily-echoed , subtle piece of almost drone that feels like it’s filling time backwards. Then we’re hit with ‘Sneaker Blues’ by NRYY, closing the first CD. A blattering, intrusive chunk of feedback-laden noise chunder, it seems like it is just here to awaken the listener after a few introspective pieces.
As if to prove this point, CD2 opens with ‘Transmortorium’ by Velge Naturlig (I think this translates as Natural Way) – a droney, shimmering piece, although not without its more piercing sonic elements. This segues almost perfectly into Astma’s ‘IgE’, a glitch-pop around sick-bay on the Enterprise, analogue synth effects in full feature. This Star Trek glitch mood follows through into ‘Aliens Love This Melody ‘ by Analog Concept, and Fabio Orsi’s breathy drone seems to make use of the same sonic texture whilst developing into a more spacious sonic realm.
‘#0466’ by Cezary Gapik enters into a wholly more ambient/drone realm, the interfering sounds and tones producing a throbbing, drawn-out affair with a slightly harsh, cutting edge. Prodvkt continue this vibe albeit with a more organic, sunlit feel.
Then things get noisier with Mike Browning and Audioworx. Mike Browning’s piece treads the line between noise, drone and melodic ambient, with choral and string textures interwoven with white noise and glitching, shimmering sound samples. ‘Karmadrone’ by Audioworx is a simpler, denser composition of bass-ended drones and lo-fidelity digital glitch feedback.
‘K.c.C.’ by MaCu is at once a more refined and more sinister composition, its restrained drones and subtle reverbs masking a descent into noisy hades. And finally ‘Matrix§441’ by Untitled is a lengthy, abstract noise construction using phasing digital sounds, infrasonics and a lo-fi bass thrum.
Not every track is excellent but the quality of recording is uniformly high and clearly the intent of each artist is served. This compilation is well worth a look through for anybody interested in abstract or avant-garde music. I’d be surprised if many a larger label could boast as large a geographical spread of interesting artists.
Written by: Unaesthetic