As plagues of fire and madness rage all around us, noise music seems to be flourishing in the absence of anything better suited to the soundtrack of current times. Practically every week now you can stumble across new cassettes, new synth modules, gag pedals and loop stations galore—cycles of production and distribution that used to take months for tape traders in the analogue days and on forums in the olden internet days of yore. Given these circumstances, I thought it best to summarise a few crucial highlights all at once.
Kazumoto Endo / Blood of Chhinamastika, “The Goddess of Mercy” (Aberrant Recordings)
San Jose, California’s Dario Puga delivers blood-curdling Death-Goddess Worship music on a new split with Tokyo-based noise veteran Kazumoto Endo, each making extremely loud and disorienting aural torture that could easily be tried as crimes against humanity if heard outside of your own headphones.
Following up on his horror-influenced Botched Facelift project, Puga’s Blood of Chhinamastika has been consistently shitting out an ear-splitting postmodern collage of synths, spoken word samples and distortion, frequently cutting up short clips in a hallucinogenic diarrhoea of high-volume noise walls. Endo, on the other hand, is a master of rhythmic noise, looping loops on other loops with the suave syncopation of a booty-club DJ—albeit with a starkly limited palate of shrill atonality.
Either way, people are going to hate your guts if you play this record in any social setting. It’s a great slab of wax for burning bridges like that.
Dino, “Pulsations II” (Karma Detonation Tapes)
The late Dino was an accomplished noise stalwart, experimental filmmaker and guqin luthier, and this tape collects some of his recent impromptu outdoor live experiments with no-input mixing, known in Taiwan as “recycle music.” Though I’ve made no secret of my deep fondness for Taipei noise artists here, I was completely awestruck and entranced by entirely unfamiliar sounds on this album. Having never heard his work until a few days ago, it’s hard not to feel deeply moved by these spontaneous busking sessions halfway across the globe.
You can see him on the cover hunching over a small cluster of cables and pedals while smoking a cigarette propped over his scarf, like a country cook outside in wintertime watching a spicy broth simmer in his cauldron. Though these moody atonal meditations are mostly punctuated by piercing feedback and ghostly subway ambience, Dino is joined on a few tracks by friends playing percussion, saxophone, and lord knows what else. Perhaps what is so touching is the radical openness of this otherwise unassuming background noise: being just another pedestrian on the subway platform, you, too, can join them.
K2, “Hybrid Dub Metal Musik” (Tribe Tapes)
Kusafuka Kihimide is one kinky-ass motherfucker, and a prolific one at that. This dude has released literally dozens of ear-shattering tapes, CDs, and records nonstop since 1983, mostly under his stage name K2, with no sign of slowing down. More recently, I’ve been saying that Tribe Tapes is one of the hottest new noise labels around, and their first vinyl LP release—a translucent reissue of an obscure mid-90s cassette of K2’s—places the mighty imprint in a league of its own. I really hope we can expect more K2 material from Tribe Tapes, because the guy is still putting out some bangers these days.
This record is really a match made in noise heaven, and it sounds like thousands of plates of glass shattering inside a jet engine during a lightning tornado on Jupiter. Symphonies of chainsaws and crashing chandeliers constantly loop and offset in fractal layers over each other, almost like K2 is running a sadistic experiment on your ears to find the most grating and torturous frequencies possible in random combinations. At times it sounds almost percussive, like a demonic scrap metal gamelan performance. If you’re in need of music that just straight up sounds physically painful—I know I often am—this is an especially beautiful candidate for the job.