Though Jenn Walker over at SubMerge Magazine thinks that Pulsating Cyst would rank in the top 5 artists with the most unusual names involved in this year’s NorCal Noisefest, to us, it is all too familiar; the title is so close to Throbbing Gristle that it is synonymous, and we can only assume that this choice was Pulsating Cyst’s lone anonymous figure’s way of paying homage to the birthers of industrial music — a legend without whom our entire experience of abrasive electronic music would be decidedly less inspiring. Pulsating Cyst also made one other list in that article though, this one which we think we can agree with based off of footage from the event: “Acts You Will NOT Want to Stand As Close As Possible To”, impressively listed just under the long-running power electronics unit +DOG+, and Mike Finklea‘s Striations.
Of course, this is directly related to the volume and harshness of Pulsating Cyst’s live creations, but his eccentric side — including an obsession with extraterrestrials and an unexpected live headgear switch-off that rivals Douglas P.‘s, from miner apparatus to polychromatic tentacles — might also warrant keeping one’s distance. It is this side of Pulsating Cyst that we get to experience on the project’s only vinyl release to date, Horrible Signal. Any amount of abrasiveness aside from the occasional high-pitch swell is strangely absent, leaving behind experimental noise, genuinely odd field recordings(?), and a subtle, pseudo-rhythmic industrial approach that culminates at the end of each side with an abruptly and absurdly catchy locked groove. Horrible Signal is, in keeping with Pulsating Cyst’s obsessions, certainly alien in every sense — without becoming kitsch — except for the fact that the tracks have been extracted from their original live settings, presumably right here on Earth. Static buzz, deeply embedded churning rhythms, high-end frequencies, looping electronics, and an all-around eerie green aesthetic combine for an enjoyable but all too short effort.
Despite these all-around high marks, Pulsating Cyst has spent the whole of his short existence with one of the more impressive, largely CD-based noise labels to become prolific over the last two years, Obfuscated Records, whom are as known for their support of impressive newcomers like Crown of Bone, Grodrock, Actuary and Halalnihil as they are for veterans Merzbow, Wilt, Sky Burial and The Vomit Arsonist. Great company to be surrounded by, no doubt, but considering Pulsating Cyst’s ability and intention to release interesting and, intentionally or not, dare I say, fun creations without resorting to shock value, I’m a little surprised that more labels haven’t reached out to assist him.
Horrible Signal has been released as a cleverly colored glow-in-the-dark 7″ with two glossy two-sided inserts and stickers for both the label and project.
A1) Alien – SF Dissonance Party / The Lab
B1) Monster – Sound Invocation / The Handbag Factory
B2) Broadcast – Open Windows / Kill Radio