I am proud to be able to reveal the cover of Noise Receptor Journal Issue no.5. The new issue is currently in the final stages of production and will be released in October.
Pre-orders and details of international stockists will be announced in coming weeks.
This is a final call for advertisements to feature in Issue No.5 of Noise Receptor Journal.
The DEADLINE for advertising submissions is: 15th SEPTEMBER, 2017.
Email: email@example.com for details of price and technical specifications.
Publication scheduled for mid October.
-Richard Stevenson / Noise Receptor Journal
Militia – New European Order 2xCD Old Europa Café 2017
Back in around 1996 I was made aware of Militia well before I heard any of their music, thanks to a full page advert for the original 3xLP edition of New European Order (featured in Issue 7 of Audio Drudge magazine from 1996). I was then introduced to their music a couple of years later via the now classic War Against Society 3xLP compilation, and needless to say I was instantly hooked by their heavily percussive, martial-tinged industrial music and immediately tracked down the New European Order album.
Fast forward some 21 years from the original release, here we have the New European Order album issued on double CD. With the cover featuring the same artwork my obvious first impression was that this is a straight re-release. However upon further investigation it is revealed to be the same material, but having been completely re-recorded. While I am generally dubious of projects or bands who choose to re-record earlier albums (particularly in instances where the original already has a degree of recognition), thankfully here the end result maintains the mood and spirit of the original. In fact if I was not aware that this was a re-recording, perhaps I would have taken this as a heavily polished ‘remastered’ version rather than a re-recording. On the production front the biggest difference to note is that the general murkiness of the original has been removed in favor of clarity, volume and a separation of its sonic elements. This has created a sweepingly atmospheric sound where the foggy, distant and forlorn ambience of the original remains at its core, but the sound is cleaner and elevated in production terms (as is particularly the case with the sharp and pounding oil barrel percussive elements). The music ranges from brooding sub-orchestral movements to rousing percussive industrial oil barrel attacks; the lineage and comparison to early Laibach or Test Department looms large, but in the case of Militia they thankfully never succumbed to using cheesy electronic/dance elements. Yet even with such comparisons, in 2017 it is clear that Militia have made their mark on this percussive and sub-orchestral driven approach, and can also stand proud in not deviating from their core approach and thematic intent over the years.
Where New European Order excels (be it in this or its original form) is in its juxtaposition of brooding soundscapes and driving metallic percussive pieces, where the pieces of brooding ambience set a solemn tone which functions to amplify the mood of the heavily percussive and driving industrial tracks. A variety of samples (some entirely new) are then scattered throughout the album, and when combined with the inclusion of a number of vocal-led tracks, the underpinning ideology of a socialist position and anarchist worldview is more clearly articulated, given the samples and vocals on the original version were mostly buried in the mix and partially indecipherable as a result. The track listing is noted to be almost identical to the original, with only a slight adjustment to track order on the first disc, whereas the title track is featured as a completely different version.
Although in revisiting this album after many, many years (both the original recording and this new version), rather than finding the re-recordings a jarring or off-putting experience, they are adequately faithful and respectful to the original recording, while having more than ample differences to make it an enjoyable standalone experience. With a clean and slickly designed six panel digi-pack sleeve and the added inclusion of lyrics, this new version is very much worth checking out – be it as an older fan revisiting this new version of the album, or as a new listener checking out the album (and perhaps the group) for the first time. Recommended.
Celebrity Appreciation Society – Selected Case Studies Volume 1: Loss of Innocence MC Institute of Paraphilia Studies 2016
Here we have an anonymous project which according to the cover claims to have been recorded in Orania, South Africa – but considering that Orania is an ‘Afrikaner-only’ South African town I suspect this is a case of ‘bait and switch’ tactics. Yet besides the question of who is behind the project, Celebrity Appreciation Society has an interesting thematic framework given its focus: “is interested in exploring the obsession developed by large groups of people for public characters. Actors and actresses, models and singers, starlets and porn stars, historical characters and victims of heinous crimes: whenever a human being reaches the limelight, hordes of fans will develop questionable urges that can turn admiration into sexual obsession that often leads to trolling and stalking activities”. On Volume 1 of an ongoing series, the focus is on the public figures of Anne Frank and Dana Plato (actress who played Kimberly Drummond on Different Strokes and died of a drug overdose in 1999), with each being dedicated a side of the tape.
A large part of the sound is focused around samples of interviews and other associated dialogue, the music is mid to higher pitch in tone, with sustained sonic elements ranging from windswept to whistling/ needling elements, while the vocals when sporadically used are then another layer of blown out feedback. With an elongated method of composition and with the sound being clear and crystalline, it perhaps points towards a digital method of recording and production, given the overt lack of analog murkiness. Although not being an overly long tape (around 20 minutes), it nevertheless makes a strong impact in its short run-time, though Side B is more direct and forceful overall.
Noting the highly conceptual nature of this material, the personalities it explores and the questions it raises through the presentation of its ideas and concepts are just as important as the sonic elements, and for me at least this dual aspect of sonics and theme is exactly what I appreciate in underground industrial spheres. Two printed double sided fold-out inserts provide further conceptual context, where I perhaps now need to track down Volume 2 in the series.
Sadio / Caligula031 – Sadio / Caligula031 LP Freak Animal Records/ Elettronica Radicale Edizioni 2016
On this split the Finnish Sadio (a collaborative project between Grunt and Skin-Graft) have teamed up with the Italian Caligula031 (side project of Wertham main man Marco Deplano), and is ultimately a release which sits at the depraved and nastiest end of power electronics.
Sadio take on Side A with 3 tracks of ‘basement torture’ electronics which are even less structured than those on the debut album Sophisticated Methods In Torture (…which itself was an exercise in direct aggression over detailed or meticulous studio recording). With more similarity than difference across the first two pieces Inhale the Animal Filth and Slavemarket, the result is absolutely rough, raw and ripping. Here the sound, whilst having a solid lower end, is more prominent at the mid to high spectrum with overblown and hollowed out tones, barely controlled feedback squalls and occasional barked vocals rising to the surface. The clear impression is the material has perhaps been recorded live in studio, with recording levels being max’ed out in the red, and followed with limited (if any) post production. The third and final track Innocent And Pure then shows a fair bit more restraint and opts for a slow building atmospheric cut of sweeping and fluttering mid tones and bulked out with heavier bass rumble and with the late track murky vocals being vomited somewhere off in the distance of a cavernous warehouse.
Caligula031 then encompasses a voyeur’s ‘sleaze perspective’ on Side B (4 tracks and around 20 minutes of material), which thematically focus on heroin addition and the depravity of the ‘fix’ lifestyle. Needle Park – Platzspitz 1990 is the opening piece of extremely murky, idling machine clatter to set a general mood of stasis, thus leaving ample room for the forceful vocal torrent to remain prominently throughout. Following on Nothing Comes For Free is excellent for its minimalism which is constructed with two sustained but counteracting tones (…one needling texture and the other at the mid to lower end), which allows Marco’s heavily Italian accent vocals to sit front and centre within the track. Sponge of the Sidewalk follows and is framed around subdued bass rumble and dialogue sample referencing addiction, prostitution and criminality (…which appears to have been lifted from a UK talk show), while Sob Story is the final of four tracks and is another piece of hollow mid-toned textures and heavily processed vocals.
Packaging is noteworthy for its simple white sleeve and sticker, which has been further ‘augmented’ with flecks, drips and spatters of real blood, while a double sided insert includes further thematic imagery. Clearly a release for those knowing exactly what they are in for, and not for the squeamish or ‘scene tourist’ types, thus with its limitation of 250 copies this would be sufficient for this nasty and no-frills release to find its intended audience.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for availability.
Armour Group / Isomer – Desire To Fight MC Trapdoor Tapes 2017
By way of background this split tape was released to coincide with the London UK festival United Forces of Industrial IV which both Australia project played at in April, 2017. Obviously this tape is now benefiting from a wider distribution, and is welcomed on the basis of the quality of material from both.
Noting that Armour Group’s debut mini album Purge (reviewed here) dates from 2015, and having seeing the group perform numerous times since then, it is pleasing their side of the tape contains a number of tracks recognised from live shows. With the cover image featuring an image of Julian Knight (the infamous Hoddle Street, Melbourne mass shooter), the opening track Kill In Combat picks up this theme with a lengthy intro of radio and TV soundbites and wailing sirens to set the scenes, but the real action kicks in with an mid paced roughly grinding loop and echoed and distortion spat vocals. (easily the standout track of their side). Although also containing a large volume of crime reporting samples, the following instrumental cut Desire To Fight is more mellow in comparison, and aligns more with a slow menacing death industrial throb. And although relatively simple in construction the fast paced pulsing throb of Slaughter (another instrumental piece) is straight forward and effective, with crumbling distortion adding to variation. The final of four tracks is Punishment does not buck the prevailing trend of rough stilted synth loops and a murky bed of grey toned distortion, yet the vocal barrage absolutely elevates it in strength and intensity. To my ear this is a step up from the Purge material, particularly as is demonstrated on the first track Armour Group are absolutely nailing their chosen concept and sound.
David Tonkin aka Isomer handles Side B and the first of three tracks Firebrand is a standout industrial/ power electronics oriented track of intertwined (mechanised) loops, junk metal clatter, layered panning noise, maudlin synth line and distinctive agonised vocals (…and is equal to the best tracks off the last album Three Kestrels reviewed here). Hard Signal is then quite a bit more atmospheric and soundscape oriented in its post-industrial approach – spoke vocals and sparse layered noise textures framed around a constant throbbing and unchanging loop. Snakes In The Grass rounds out Isomer’s varied side and opts for atmospheric industrial noise with post-mortem leanings (which translates to lots of raw junk metal derived sounds, controlled feedback and queasy ascending/ descending tones).
Desire To Fight is an excellent release from the perspective that it is pairing of two of Australia best underground power electronics/ industrial acts, but is even better that it features top notch material from both which showcases their individual strengths and approaches. Recommended.
Aeoga – Obsidian Outlander CD Aural Hypnox 2017
Along with Halo Manash, Aoega are one of the original projects to be first released on Aural Hypnox back in 2004. Obsidian Outlander is their fourth album and comes three years on from 2014’s Temple Treye release (reviewed here). While earlier Aeoga output is categorised by the focus on prominent percussive and ritual elements in combination with forcefully driving drones, Obsidian Outlander has a slightly less of an overt ritual bent and has more of an affinity to minimalistic dark ambient/ drone (…and perhaps of the likes of Troum). Although this minor identified deviation of sound might be ‘splitting hairs’ over current sound and direction, yet nonetheless is an impression which has remained during the review process.
Initiatory Boil opens the album and is a track of rattling percussive implements and loose rolling floor tom drumming which underpin an ethereal melody, while the following Rot Magnetism is far sparser with its deep bass addled drone and organ style melody (…and includes what may or may not be treated vocal chants). The pairing of the two rather short tracks The Black Loom and Obsidian Towering sit at the centre of the album, where each contain the feel of a live recording and therefore perhaps sits more towards the overt ritual sound of earlier works (…the first with its cavernous floor tom percussion, sweeping ritual vocals and sparse synth elements, and the second being a minimalist and predominantly based around layered vocal hums and chants). As for the title track features as a lush but ominous drone-scape, which is orchestrally tinged and completed with ethereal disembodied vocals, which builds and swells as the piece progresses (…and easily the album standout). Rounding out the album is The Sublime Canvas and again sits squared within a droning dark ambient frame of reference, but also includes a prominent discordant organ element which builds to a number of imposing crescendos throughout.
With only 6 tracks covering 30 minutes of music, the slow pacing certainly draws you in, but then concludes far too soon given the run-time is more of an EP length than a full album (…and this alone impacts on the degree of aural immersion to be achieved). But run time aside, as with pretty much all material issues by Aural Hypnox, this is strong and very enjoyable ritual dark ambient/ drone album. Available on both CD and vinyl, which incidentally is the first vinyl release for the label, and both featuring beautifully screen printed artwork and inserts.