[Ed. Note: In Please Enjoy Responsibly, columnist Raymond Cummings doggedly tracks down the best noise music of the past month.]
Why try to talk or think about anything else right now besides the weather? It’s damned cold out there. With one blizzard come and gone and another right on its heels, if you’re savvy, you’ve already stocked up on liquor, ramen, and Orange Crush. Why not let us help load your iPhone with the ultimate in walking-dazed-in-a-winter-wonderland and kickass snow-shoveling music?
INNER-EAR INFECTION SPRAWL: Ade Hodges
You might have expected an album named Destroy Magnetic Unicorns to sound like a disintegrating rainforest; if so, you’re pretty much on the money. U.K. artist Ade Hodges’s new album is a New Age geyser, all right: reverberations within reverberations swirled incessantly, a restless “Starry Night” for the ear that put me in mind of the Big Bang, primordial soup stirring, breathtaking fuchsia dawns, dreams where it’s impossible to say whether you’re contemplating an enchanted scrying pool or you actually are that scrying pool. Whenever it seems like a track is yoked to a particular mood or approach — with most cuts clocking in at seven minutes or longer, pure world-building’s a cinch — Hodges, who’s just got to own a copy of The Orb’s Orbus Terratum, flips the script. So the downer drone of “A Fish Sprouting Limbs” suddenly floods with digitized natural light; “Epiphany for the Godness” teems with the bursting of synthesized bubbles and the cries of chimpanzees; “The Blood Libel Askelon Blues” chauffeurs the audience off into the Milky Way on a chariot of blazing photons and splintered zircon.
THIS BULLET TRAIN LEAVES BLISTERS: EON
data_scrape sports a crisp, biting edge, like a diamond-tipped drill advancing into and demurring away from bedrock, spinning impossibly fast at times and chirp-slurping nastily at others. It feels damaged, brittle, somewhat insane, whirring into scattered shards at odd moments and coalescing angrily at others. Dijon, France’s EON keeps this party hopping for a full hour, and the wonder of it all is that what should wear out its welcome after ten or twelve minutes never quite does because the textures are forever mutating, expanding, exploding — the sonic planes tilting at impossible angles, the crushes of static pitting aural surfaces in ever new and novel ways. Anybody irked that the last minute or so of Nine Inch Nails’ “Mr. Self-Destruct” didn’t loop and scald on and on into eternity will find nirvana within this particular endurance test.
POWER ELECTRONICS AS SHOCK THERAPY: Limbs Bin
In the seeming blink of an eye, Ridgewood-based Limbs Bin has become interesting, evolving from the abrupt, abrasive noise-hardcore of early releases like Primitive Response and Familiar Combatants to the culvert-scorching power electronics of something like “Halloween 2014.” In terms of antecedents for this brand of provoked unease, Prurient immediately leaps to mind — cf. the painfully sustained feedback, the confrontational, barked banter — but by dint of no-fi recording quality and a willingness to wander off on tangents, Limbs Bin transcends that comparison. The heavier moments of “Halloween 2014” suggest internal- or external-monologue reenactments of fraught live scenes between performer and audience, as someone else takes an ax to a PA system. The introspective detours between shit-fits are striking: feedback and howls welling up as from the bowels of a cavern; a muffled brownout growl of unknown provenance; a later stretch where sound waves pulse swift and viscous between channels.
PARDON ME WHILE I IMPROVE YOUR FEBRUARY IMMEASURABLY
Synthesis, Volume 1 slipped through my listening net last November, but there’s no excuse for any of us to miss out now. This Urban Arts Berlin compilation lashes together seismic, subtle, and jaw-droppingly inventive tracks by international women in experimental music worldwide. Inscriptions Volume 1 — Sacred Phases’ New Year’s Day compilation kicked my 2015 off in a burrowing, hypnagogic style that’s still rattling my synapses; dig in. If brevity is a plus, there’s also Broderferenc’s querulous, precisely calibrated “Museum of Fine Arp“; if it were three times as long, it might be the ultimate in cerebral bubble-bath music.