Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Flatline Construct/Richard Ramirez/Prurient - untitled

Real noise is undeniable. It consumes yr inner world. It incapacitates you. There is a peace in this, finally an excuse to relax; to do nothing. This is perhaps, to the 2000s, what a Gong record, or some other tripout fantasy might've been. Except we're too damn anti-social (or at least we were in 2000 when this was made). Like black metal, this is music made for headphones and introversion. To listen, and try and take in what the artist is trying to say. Dominick Fernow has been prominent lately. His last record, Bermuda Strain, crossed over beyond the noise underground, to wide accolades. He is known as THE NOISE DUDE. He's been releasing a never-ending onslaught of tracks with Vatican Shadow, as well as running Hospital Productions, out of New York. His discography under his Prurient name is as long as yr arms. If yr gonna talk about name, i thought it only pertinent i find out what this guy is about. This collaboration between Richard Ramirez, Flatline Constructs, and Prurient was originally released as a cassette box set on Let It Rot, and later put back out by Hospital Productions as a CDr by Hosptial. It came wrapped in red paper, in a plastic bag. There were only 500 made. A true noise document. This is true white noise - pure oscillator fuckery. Classic noise walls. Subwoofer machine rumbles. The possibility of frequencies.

The artists seem to take turns filling up the stereo field; its interesting to wonder who did what. Mostly gently mastered, this Harsh Noise sounds soothing. There are some shrill high frequencies, but not nearly Japanese. The machines rub yr thoughts; this is Rise of the Terminators. Terminal underground. Black mold. Scrubby and coarsing. This is a great place to start if you've ever heard the term 'Harsh Noise' and not known what it meant. This is pretty classic/subsuming static and low square-wave factory growl. High frequency belt-sander gives way to jackhammer between yr ears. Its visceral, and at this point yr along for the ride. Getting inside a harsh noise record is like getting lost in a story. Letting imagery unfurl. I made a pact, long ago, that anytime i would listen to a noise record i would not hit stop, for any reason. See the story through to the end. This release is made up of two untitled tracks, the first nearly half an hour, the second over. This is for the die-hards. Over an hour of harsh scraping and soothing rumbling. Furious hornets' nests of brown sound, a rushing pit of hell. There is a furnace-like quality to the first track, belching tongues of flame, while the radio blares in between stations.
One must wonder: why do we do it to ourselves? What makes us compelled to listen to and make such abrasive sounds? And what marks a successful noise artist?
 I found noise, searching for extremes. I had seen the tag in record stores. I was bored with Death Metal. I wanted everything to shut down; i wanted to drown in sound. What i found, through listening to machinefuck death thrash, is a way to make music of the sounds around me. Various cities, around the country; constant rush of train and conversation. Tiny phones making tinny beats; one time i was listening to a clicks 'n cuts compilation, and didn't realize it had ended for 45 minutes. I'd been listening to the radiator and refrigerator buzz. Tuning into the sounds around you, yr nervous system wakes up, enlivens. You begin to see the world as art.

I saw a picture of Tetsu Inoue recording his cooking eggs with a shotgun mic. Constant manipulation.

And of coarse there's the hardening mechanism. The willingness to plunge one's self into the reptilian brain's nightmare. Pure sensory overload; total submission and captivation. There has long been a tie between noise and submissive sex. The death drive made visible? The rage of the working class? To me, its a sonic ritual. I put on these headphones, and i hang in a Witch's cradle of sounds. I am interested in the tones. In the frequencies. I like the way the high sine waves interact with the spiky low end. Its got a binaural trancey effect. I won't lie, noise music is trippy music. Its a real head-fuck;if you like to zone out with a record with a pipe in yr hands, Prurient can take you to some interesting places.

I thought i'd start at the beginning, with the earliest Prurient release i could find, as a way to get an undiluted cross-section of various prominent noise artists. Try and establish a motif, a modus operandi. What i hear are fairly deft machinists - probably running some pedals and a mixer. Feedback loop, maybe. They really do kick up a pretty impressive squall, though. These noise walls are particularly scathing. A noise wall is when a musician turns the white noise all the way up. Its like hearing an old television, tuned to snow, amplified to infinity. Its static all the way. That's part of what defines this as Harsh Noise. A defining characteristic. They also seem adept at either editing, or quick juxtapositions in a track. It seems like they know what they are doing, what effect they are trying to achieve. A clear statement; unabashed. This kind of limited edition release is usually intended as a document, or an experiment, between bigger profile full-length releases. This kind of thing is made for the underground; pedaled at shows at people's houses. If you'd like to know more about noise, this isn't a bad place to begin.

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