Serration ‎– Machine Survival

Serration Machine Survival MC Unsound Recordings 2018

Via the sub-label Unsound Recordings, Unrest Productions have signing yet another new and strong project to the roster, this time being Serration from Detroit, Michigan (based on information listed on Bandcamp).

Seven tracks of focused and controlled industrial/ power electronics tracks feature on Machine Survival, ranging from three to six minutes each. Looped distortion and grinding drones are used in relatively straight forward formations, while the vocals as perhaps expected are processed into a layer of echoed distortion that bleeds across the middle of the sonic spectrum. The mood of the tape broadly one of ominous dread than overt aggression, although the pulsing distortion of Sacrifical Deployment and air raid siren noise of The Inevitable Desolation are certainly tensile and anything but relaxed. Thematically speaking the song titles and imagery allude to a focus on the military/ industrial complex, and while the utilised samples might have provided more context, their message alludes detection due to being buried deep in the mix.

If any criticism is to be leveled at this tape, it would be that it aligns too closely with the sound, feel and direction of other releases on issued on Unsound Recordings/ Unrest Productions. While this does deliver in terms of sound and approach, it perhaps suffers by not having significant differentiating elements to make it stand apart. Yet even with that said, this is a completely minor observation, particularly if both the project ad label continues to maintain this sort of standard. Limitation of 80 copies, so you know what to do.

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Unsound Recordings – New Releases 2017

Unsound Recordings functions as a side label to Unrest Productions, where I understand its role is to allow smaller releases to be issued more quickly with simplified packaging. Although the last items on the label date from 2015, now in 2017 it brings new releases from two young projects and new signings to the roster, namely Detrimental Effect and Code Neda. A brief rundown on each follows below.


Detrimental Effect – To Brandon Bryant MC Unsound Recordings 2017

Thematically speaking, the US military/industrial complex may be nothing new for industrial and power electronics music. However, on this debut tape Detrimental Effect have taken a different and interesting angle by focusing on Brandon Bryant – a US drone pilot and later whistle-blower who highlighted the detached methods of killing in modern warfare. Musically speaking this is clean, loud and modern sounding, which also draws heavily from traditional German power electronics/ heavy industrial sound (and perhaps Ex.Order is the closest comparison to make?) . As such the tracks are based on honed structures of shuddering loops, waving sonic elements and bristling distortion which gradually ramp up in intensity. The mood is further elevated through the heavily treated vocals (flanged and echoed), and delivered with spite and tinged with indignation.

Specific samples relating to the theme further fleshes out the concept and are used as intro or outros, or otherwise are incorporated within tracks. That Others May Die is individually noteworthy based on its base of scattered distortion, queasy central oscillation and deadpan spoken vocal line (slightly treated and echoed). Equally noteworthy is the overt fierceness of the final track Total Denial with its tonally buzzing loops and antagonist vocal attack, amounting to a very effective power electronics barrage. Direct and to the point, the material on this debut is delivered with both skill and conviction, which on occasion rises to blood boiling intensity.

Six tracks in all feature on the tape, with perhaps 30 minutes of material on offer. Without doubt Detrimental Effect is project to keep an eye on, given it also fits neatly alongside many of the other projects on the parent label Unrest Productions (such as Kevlar, Kontinent, Uncodified etc.).


Code Neda – The Death of Neda MC Unsound Recordings 2017

Code Neda are another new project signed to Unsound Recordings, but this time I know nothing about this project or who is behind it. This however appears to be Code Neda’s debut tape, and limited to 80 hand numbered copies.

Musically speaking it features sweeping death industrial which on occasion is blended with elements of ritual tinged heavy electronics (something akin to mid to late 1990’s heavy electronics sound of Loki Foundation projects is a partial comparison).  To speak of notable tracks, Tigray uses stilted heavy rhythms which provides structure to a widescreen atmospheric soundscape and sampled religious chants. Another particularly noteworthy track is ABC – Protection, which is framed around deep sub-orchestral drones, militant percussion, scraping textures and muted garbled vocals. The final track The Machine Will Be Prevented from Working at All, is perhaps the most direct death industrial track based on its heavy pounding structures, bristling loops and treated samples (and perhaps vocals? Not completely sure).

On the one hand Code Neda’s sound is dank and pounding in tone, but on the other it is balanced with other ritualistic and atmospheric elements, which functions to create an individualistic approach. Thus with six varied tracks and around 20-25 minutes of material, Code Nera have issued a very strong and interesting debut release and consequently are another new project to keep a keen eye on.


 

S.T.A.B. Electronics – The Non Alliant II

STAB

S.T.A.B. Electronics – The Non Alliant II LP Unsound Recordings LP 2012

Although not knowing a great deal about this project, available online information indicates they are from the UK and supposedly commenced as a tribute to Marco Corbelli of Attrax Morgue following his death in 2007.  In short STAB Electronics concern themselves with unpolished and scathing power electronics.

Noting that ‘The Non Alliant II’ is the second in a pair of albums, this LP represented the opportunity for myself to get more formally aquatinted with the project, with my initial introduction being via the ‘We Gave Them the Future And They Wanted The Past’ 2012 cassette compilation (on Unrest Productions).  Based on the singular strength of the STAB Electronics featured compilation track ‘The Sins Of The Father’, this LP was immediately tracked down (…particularly given that the ‘The Non Alliant I’ is long sold out).

Rough, heavy and loosely structured power electronics is STAB Electronics particular niche, being brutal, no frills and absolutely to the point.  Each of the five album’s tracks are built on a straightforward mixture of crumbling static, heavy distortion, throbbing bass, pulsing noise and loosely structured loops, which provides the platform for the shrilly intense vocals, which based on the ferocity of delivery is the singular element which takes this from good to great.  In the most part the vocals are of the ‘standard’ power electronics style (ranging from hard sermon like delivery through to yelled and echo/ distortion drenched), however it is their intensity of delivery which really takes it to the next level.  Being generally heavy, visceral and unhinged, on a number of tracks the vocals are pushed to a point of absolute manic intensity.  Likewise if the lyrics were not already blunt in their antagonism, some well placed dialogue samples lifted from ‘American Psycho’ flesh out the intense levels of nihilism on display.

Packaging is simple and no-frills – black label LP and two printed inserts.  Yet given its raw, visceral and oppressive atmosphere, having a limited press run of a mere 105 copies is FAR to few for an album of this calibre. Get it while you can (…if you can).

Shift / HH – Full Weight Of The Opposition

shift HH

Shift / HH – Full Weight Of The Opposition 10”ep Unsound Recordings 2013

Rather than constituting a split release this is a collaboration between these two UK based acts and features three tracks which traverse the border regions of power electronics, noise and industrial (…to great result I might add).

‘Pigshit’ is a monolithic track which takes up the first side of the vinyl and features a sustained and crushing bass drone, upon which a loose mass of heavy metallic scraping sounds and looped junk noise are overlaid.  Vocals then arrive as a fully separate sound layer (sitting high within the mix), being distorted and harsh, but also using sparingly throughout the track.  On the vinyl’s flip side ‘Truth Is Conflict” takes a similar sonic approach again utilising loosely constructed loops of metallic resonance and bass grinding intensity, again including the sporadic use of heavy power electronics vocals.  The third and final track ‘Their Fall Will Be Harder Than Ours’ differs slightly due to the heavy bass loops giving a sense of stilted rhythmic intensity over its extended length.  Also setting this track apart are the vocals which are subdued and spoken in delivery, which works extremely well as a point of difference to a usual harder, aggressive and distorted power electronic vocal style.

Given all three tracks are expertly executed and have been recorded and mastered for sheer punishing effect, this 10” is an excellent and ferocious listen which is also testament to the high quality of the current crop of power electronics / noise / industrial acts operating out of the UK.