Control, Combative Alignment, and Narcotic Dreams…
Posted on Wednesday, November 30th, 2005 @ 9:22am » permalink
A handful of people have lodged complaints with me over the past month due to my lack of experimental noise coverage since transitioning out of writing "traditional" record reviews. While the amount of such coverage will indeed decrease (that's life, folks), I assure you that despite periodic lulls in my interest with that realm I still plan to cover all of the same styles of music here as I have in the past (much to the displeasure of those of you who prefer it "rock-based"). So here are a few noise selections that have been winning me over as of late. Hopefully those who complained will enjoy, and those of little interest will open up and give 'em a shot…
First up is "The Means to an End", the latest full-length offering from Control on Eibon Records: Totaling damn near an hour of death industrial/power electronics from this infamous outfit. Perhaps not as blatantly over the top as some of the project's earlier forays, for my money the increasingly obsessive attention to detail and overall range of aesthetics within this material really pays off big time. Look for loads of persistent rhythmic pulses and controlled outbursts of distortion, occasional fits of raging vocals buried under heavy effects, oppressively bleak dark ambient undercurrents, and the cutting of the reigns for enough of a chaotic edge to leave a mark when necessary. The atmospheric tonality of the pieces leaves a little more to the imagination than some such projects, and Control has reached the point where such an approach is flawlessly executed. Furthermore, since Control's own Thomas Garrison is the mastering technician of choice for so many in the noise scene, the sound quality of course kicks ass with a loud and clear (Did I mention loud?) mix that utilizes plenty of sizzle. Also nice is the gloss-coated packaging, which boasts a generally atypical appearance for this style and also includes the succinct lyrics within the booklet (a rare occurrence for this genre indeed).
Control "The Survival of it All"
So, if you're a fan of flesh-searing hatred and pessimistic landscapes of miserable depravation, make the purchase:
@ Malignant Records
Combative Alignment's first full-length CD release, "…And Outside Glows the Red Dawn", which is also my first exposure to the German project, comes to us from the fine folks at Malignant Records
. The disc contains six relatively lengthy selections (titled simply "Part One" through "Part Six") running six to 10 minutes apiece and exploring just the brand of brooding dark ambient soundscapes that I enjoy: Occasional sparse percussive textures and expertly manipulated samples within a core of vast expanses of cascading midrange and low-end rumbles, while eerier tinges of melody lend light musical touches to the sinister atmospheres conjured within. There are a couple of slower moments later in the disc (the vocal manipulations in "Part Five" are a bit of distraction, for instance), but the tracks run together seamlessly and the 47-minute duration actually plays out very well – with some fairly relaxing moments considering the general tone. Within the rather minimal looking digipack are a few scattered English translations of excerpts from poems by German satirist Heinrich Heine, which I assume are suggestive of the inspiration for the material, but whatever the case this is a fluid listen that starts out strong:
Combative Alignment "Part One"
Since the label that released this puppy is also the home of the finest experimental noise distribution service in the US, grab it straight from them if it's your cup of tea:
@ Malignant Records
Last but certainly not least, the newest from the collective record label 804noise
is the debut full-length and first proper release from Narcotic Dreams. "Shattered" contains nine tracks in a little under 50 minutes jam packed with relatively minimal dark ambient soundscapes built largely around spiraling wails and cascading ethereal textures that all have a rather tortured sensibility happening. As it should be, this effort marks a bit more of a cohesive affair than past recordings from the project, though not without a few distinct increases in volume and intensity – and the first several tracks actually slip past before you know it! I'd say this material is also a hint more subdued than Narcotic Dreams' live performances due to the apparent absence of vocal work (unless I'm mistaken), so it should be interesting to see how future recordings might more obviously document that aspect of his work. The curiously illustrated artwork remains relatively free of text, making for a nice little package at a mere $8ppd in the US. This is definitely an unfortunately unknown project that I'd hope to see get a little more attention in the future, as this is Narcotic Dreams' strongest document to date.
Narcotic Dreams "Deicide"
As stated, this one's only $8ppd straight from the label, so snag it if you're down: