April’s Best Noise Music: Bergegas Mati, Christian Mirande, Theo Nugraha


Sometimes what we want from noise is a total absence of nuance; just get to the point, we beg. Blow the doors off! Detonate the bomb, already! This month’s featured selections lunge for the jugular in different ways, giving us some satisfaction in this torturous interval in between spring and summer. Let’s get fried, shall we?

Bergegas Mati – Pop Neraka

Bergegas Mati is the work of Ari CK and Pandu, two cryptic musicians from Malang, Indonesia, and Pop Neraka is quite a record. It reminds us that, fantastic and valuable as so many experimental creations are, most of them aren’t willfully abrupt on a John Zorn or Boredoms level. They don’t exist in that batshit paradigm where your nerve endings tingle dangerously from start to finish because you have absolutely no idea what’s coming up next.

Because it taps into this great, underused tradition, Pop Neraka never feels static. One minute someone has assembled a blazing guitar solo from multiple takes; the next, a maniacal drum set clinic is in progress; in another, hardcore is reinvented with maracas. The cumulative effect is anarchic and dizzying; several of these seventeen tracks clock in at less than a minute, while one stretches past the ten-minute mark. Sure, Ari CK and Pandu (mercifully) pepper their whiplash with plateaus: “5LilinMerahMelingkarDiantaraBintang” (try saying it five times fast) sinkholes the album with four minutes of poltergeist droning. But most of the time we’re left gaping at their audacity, like the primal scream therapy of “Nilai E Dipelajaran Seni Musik,” or how swiftly “Fuck U DJ!” becomes unlistenable, or the willingness of no-fi blues dirge “Fallen Omar Salazar” to retrain from completely dismantling itself.

Christian Mirande – Foxbat

There are many qualities that I look for in a quality experimental recording, but two leap to mind at this moment: the ability to continually engage me as a listener, and the impression that whatever is happening within the music is also happening to me. It is no exaggeration to say that Foxbat (No Rent Records), a new tape from Philadelphia’s Christian Mirande, embodies the second quality so fully that the first becomes a moot point. These sonic molecules are unstable, and hopelessly so. It sounds as though Mirande has programmed his electronics to invent, then perfect, the AI equivalent of a game of jacks.

It’s impossible to turn away from something which, as it plays, seems part and parcel of one’s own physiology; there is absolutely no escape. Side A, “Comfortable With GLONASS,” suggests sedan chassis autopsies crossed with a pair of rear tires kicking up irradiated gravel sprays. Side B, “Comfortable With TsAGI,” takes on a sludgier cast, massaging and stretching its predecessor’s range of effects like saltwater taffy; even when the sound dips low, diseased, and dusty-stylus scratchy, the effect is invigorating. This is a landmark release.

Theo Nugraha – “Rembulan”

“Rembulan” — Indonesian for “moon” — is a thick, suffocating blast of recent noise from Borneo’s Theo Nugraha, who’s spent the past couple of years establishing himself as a noise evangelist. There’s no prelude or preamble here: We’re plunged, immediately, into a sort of concentrated, bifurcated disorder. Whether at three minutes or thirty, there’s always a risk of this brand of harsh noise-wall wearing out its welcome too quickly. “Rembulan” overcomes this obstacle by placing a sustained, annihilating drone and a distorted, cratering crumble in direct opposition to each other; sometimes one element or the other is permitted to pendulum to the forefront, or a piercing whine slices through the confusion to incinerate every item on your mental to-do list. The spigot explodes; the furnace erupts; the valley is burned and poisoned. Hang on tight.

And some odds & ends…

Speculative Realism, a collaboration between Druuna Jaguar (Portugal) and Phantasm Nocturnes (U.S.), is one of the darker, more hair-raising team-ups I’ve stumbled upon recently.

This year’s edition of the always fantastic NorCal Noisefest is set to take place in Sacramento, California, from Friday, September 30, through Sunday, October 2; no lineup as of yet, but keep checking for details, as they’re sure to emerge soon.

Regardless of where you happen to stand on Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’s candidacy, I think we can all agree that this is probably the best fake U.S. presidential campaign advertisement in recent times. Frog Piss, folks! Get hip.