Opium Crop Airstrikes is a Vatican Shadow EP with long-form industrial tracks in the style known from Jordanian Descent (2012). A portion of the proceeds go to AYOK civil society volunteer organization for earthquake relief in rural Mexico. Cassette comes in oversized package; includes fold-out poster.
2020 repress; gatefold double-LP version. Though known as a touring and recording musician associated with Nine Inch Nails, Alessandro Cortini has really come into his own via his Forse trilogy, and his 2014 Hospital Productions debut, Sonno (HOS 412CD). For his Hospital follow-up, he maintains the grittiness and intimacy introduced on his debut, but expands on it, offering a wider spectrum of emotion and depth. Like Sonno, Risveglio was written and recorded while on tour. The drive to create intimate works during late-night downtime reveals Cortini to be committed to a personal vision beyond the call of duty. While Sonno was created using only a 202 and delay, Risveglio adds a TB303, synced to the 202. In Cortini’s words, “The 303 can be such a haunting instrument used in a certain way, and I felt it completely fit the mood of the previous work I have done on the 202, especially when given a specific location in space… it’s such a living instrument.” The addition of TR606 gives one of the pieces a rhythmic pulse that separates it from the preceding synthscapes and renders Risveglio an altogether more dynamic affair than Sonno. With Risveglio, Cortini emphasizes the imperfections and visceral textures of electronics absent from so much contemporary solo synthesizer music. He carves out a similar space to that formed by Kevin Drumm’s releases for Hospital in the worlds of drone and noise by finding the emotional and, ultimately, human voice within synthesis.
2020 repress; gatefold double LP version. Alessandro Cortini is best known as the lead electronics performer in Nine Inch Nails’ live unit. His recordings under his own name have gained prominence in recent years and he has become known as one of the pre-eminent Buchla masters in North America. Cortini makes a surprising departure into the 202 on his debut album for Hospital Productions — Sonno. Sonno was recorded in hotel rooms, using a Roland MC 202 through a delay pedal, recorded direct, sometimes into a small portable speaker system. “I liked to walk around the room with a handheld recorder to hear where the sequence would sound better, turn on faucets, open doors or windows to see how the ambient sounds would interact with the MC 202/delay/speaker sound. It was very relaxing and liberating to make music this way.” The result is a beautifully restrained yet oddly emotive album that’s quite distinct from the overly academic approach so often undertaken by hardware-driven devotees. Mastered by Matt Colton.
Hospital Productions present a reissue of Akitsa’s Goetie, originally released in 2001. Repressed 20th anniversary edition with updated layout. Classic debut album that has influenced a generation since with its stunning and inimitable mix of black metal, punk, funeral doom, and industrial ascension. Juvenile black metal madness. Double-LP in wide spine jacket.
Hospital Productions present a reissue of Incapacitants’ Stupid Is Stupid, originally released in 1993. In 1993, founding fathers of Japan noise T. Mikawa and F. Kosokai revealed Stupid Is Stupid, one of the most classic titles to emerge from the criminally underrated and revered Incapacitants. A seminal document already over a decade into the duo’s unrelenting path of pure chaos after their formation in 1981, Stupid Is Stupid was released as a double cassette on the equally influential Sounds For Consciousness Rape label from France. Divided into studio materials and live materials oddly from two performances at the same venue on two different years. Beyond the massive frequency exploration and freedom of the sounds this set revealed dramatic documentation of the projects history, performances, and influence as shown in the form of color live photos pasted into the metal wire and mesh encased booklet where one can feel the physical energy just from the ravaged and ecstatic face and contorted bodies of the two doing the business. Japanese artist and illustrator Takuya Sakaguchi created The Incapacitants Data File comic book detailing the otherworldly origins behind the devotion and pure frequency dedication only Incapacitants create. Sakaguchi also wrote The Incapacitants Story which reveals insights from the Japanese perspective into how much influence the project achieved as early as 1993. The audio here is painstakingly restored for vinyl by Kris Lapke. Presented in a wide spine slipcase cover with obi strip; includes large format two-sided color poster that no Incapacitants worshipper’s home can continue without, alongside full-size comic book and insert card.
Hospital Productions present a reissue of Smell & Quim’s Cosmic Bandage, originally released in 1995 on their notorious Stinky Horse F*** imprint. Cosmic Bondage stands as a monument to the universal perversion inside us all. Birthed into the world with an auto-asphyxiated doll complete with toy packaging and overgrown pubic hair in an edition of 100, despite it’s limitation the material within has become a staple of the groups live performances to this day. The dark humor enforced by truly masterful concrete noise and arrangements that sit alongside the best of the English electronic and avant-garde visionaries serves as a cautionary tale to the misinterpreted dualist literalism of where we are today. Enormous textures are turned inside out, to the howl and psychosis of British voices that can only be from the north of England and a cacophony of intricate and present adult loops that never let you relax into them and are always cut to engage one out of their lethargy. After Cosmic Bondage, we are all from the North of England. Audio restoration by Kris Lapke. Packaged in wide spine sleeve with deluxe starry slipcase.
Before another Vatican Shadow release appears on vinyl for the first time early next year, Hospital Productions reissue a killer 2011 tape release on a 2019 vinyl pressing after appearing on a long sold-out LP edition for Type in 2012 Remastered and slightly edited from the original 4 x tape boxset, ‘Kneel Before Religious Icons’ reasserts its place in the pantheon of Vatican Shadow’s prized early releases which, with the benefit of hindsight, arguably amount to one of this past decade’s definitive projects.
Originally recorded in 2010, the album’s eight tracks revolve some of the first material recorded by Dominick Fernow in this mode, aside from his then better known work as Prurient. At the time, Fernow was still working under cover of anonymity and this release in particular only aided in heightening the intrigue and fascination surrounding this project and the way it eerily resonated with the both the redrawing of geopolitical borders and those between industrial, ambient, noise and techno styles.
The album contains one of the most valued VS outings in Worshippers At The Same Mosque’, with its pall of synth pads, needly harpsichord and stepping drums patently influenced by Muslimgauze, while the parade ground trample of ‘Church Of All Images’ – which would form the basis for a now classic Regis remix issued by Blackest Ever Black – adds up to one of the project’s most militant numbers along with the scudding, bombed-out terrain of ‘Gods Representative on Earth’ and ’Shooter In The Same Uniform as The Soldiers’.
As an historic document of the time and a gripping album in its own right, ‘Kneel Before Religious Icons’ holds tight among Vatican Shadow’s most crucial and convincing communiques.
Hospital Productions present a reissue of Slogun’s The Pleasures of Death, originally released in 1997. From the austere and frightening cover with the name of forgotten killers to the monolithic washes of analog synthesized grit and dust cloud vocals of the id, this legendary album first released as a limited cassette of 100 on the cult Labyrinth Recordings from NYC (one of the all-time great NYC cassette imprints) and then famously reissued to wide distribution via cold meat industry sublabel Death Factory, The Pleasures of Death came to prominence in the minds of the same era of release entertainment and descent magazine and Alchemy Records and Bloodlust. Never has there been such an in-depth, caustic, intelligent and evil exploration of true crime violence. Slogun has managed to take familiar stories, untangle them and create deep profiles that leave the listener with unsettling conclusions that do not provide the answers we are commonly forced to accept. Set against the decline of America, the abstraction of the victim landscape is shattered with the brutal and disturbing lyrics faithfully reprinted. A classic of NYC radical art and true crime electronics. Wide spine sleeve; includes large-format booklet and poster taken from the original cassette version.
Hospital Productions present a reissue of Masonna’s first full-length CD from 1990, Shinsen Na Clitoris, originally on Vanilla Records. The supreme voice of Japanese noise here on vinyl for the first time with audio preparation by Kris Lapke. What would become an inimitable explosion of energy and vision from Japan heralded in the glory days of ’90s alternative rock, death metal, and psychedelic synth music, Masonna surpassed all extremes with a full frequency violence that was as fast as it was psychedelic. Not once has any artist emerged with more intensity and focus in the history of noise. It was said onstage that Masonna has reduced the pure elements of classic rock, the guitar stack, the feedback, and the lead singer to an explosive few seconds of visceral feedback, metallic noise from the physical shaking and pressure of his fist around the shaker, processed through the self-described “harshtronics” and indeed ending in “exclamation!” If you have wondered where to start in the vast and increasingly difficult to find discography of this legend look no further. Presented in immaculate sleeve recreated original art with poster and insert.
Regarded by Dominik Fernow as the “best US noise project in terms of texture and composition”, Skin Crime return to Hospital Productions with an immanent inversion of noise convention exploring ideas of tense, slow-burn patience instead of aggressive intensity. Brutally active between the early ’90s and mid ’00s, Skin Crime took a 12-year hiatus until 2016 and the bloodshed of their instantly sold-out, 20CD boxset of archival material. That same year they also issued Ghosts I Have Been, a crushingly bleak album inspired by Japanese mythology and ghost stories which have paved the way for this new one, where the band’s Patrick O’Neil and Mark Jameson continue to refine their instincts into the dankest brand of organic ambient noise. In key with their ghostly Japanese muse, specifically the Bakaneko (1968) or Ghost Cat movies of the ’50s and ’60s, as well as the writing of Lafcadio Hearn, aka Koizumi Yakumo, the author of Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things (1904) — Skin Crime’s music in Traveller on the Road is all about presence and the suggestibility of hypnagogic and half-awake states. Their cold-fingered sleight of hand is applied to exceedingly fine layers of textural enigma in long, unbroken tracts that hold the listener’s gaze with frightening power. “Avoid Large Places At Night” takes hold with intravenous potency, very subtly drawing eyes to half-mast with its mechanical womb-like ambience, and stealthily introducing subharmonic rumbles and peripheral rustles that suggest unseen spectres lurking in a thicket of ghosts. A lack of sudden movement only ratchets the threat levels to seat-edge. Likewise, with its deeply soporific subs and texturhythms, the B-side’s “Black Cat From The Grove” continues to numb the senses in a noise style, but eviscerated of all open aggression, preferring a dense mode of suggestion that only emphasizes the unheimlich nature of their music. It’s a masterclass in saying it without saying it, and effectively amounts to a missing link between Kevin Drumm, Painjerk, and Mika Vainio, or even Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement and Meitei, that should not be missed by any fans of the above. Clear vinyl; mastered and cut at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin.
The rarest of all Vatican Shadow’s tape releases (only 25 were made), Kuwaiti Airforce now appears on double vinyl alongside obscure cuts and previously unreleased collaborations with Silent Servant and Demdike Stare in the fourth vinyl collection of early, hard-to-find VS editions. Back at the start of this decade the underground conversation between noise, techno, and ambient music manifested definitively through Vatican Shadow’s eerily evocative glut of tape releases for Hospital Productions. Clad in militaristic imagery and titled after phrases lifted from media articles about the War On Terror, the project became one of very few to contemporaneously attempt to musically reflect the state of international geopolitics, and did so in a manner that resonated with the subversive post-industrial music and politics of Muslimgauze and Whitehouse — who were both key touchstones for Dominick Fernow (Prurient, Vatican Shadow, Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement). The Kuwaiti Airforce tape which lends this set its title was only available in edition of 25 copies at Vatican Shadow’s September 29, 2012 show in LA with Silent Servant, Demdike Stare, Andy Stott, and Kangding Ray. Its two bombed-out blasts of rhythmic noise are now available on the first disc here, backed with two previously unreleased works written in 2012: a deep, rolling techno collaboration with Juan Mendez, lodged somewhere between his Silent Servant output styles for Sandwell District and the seminal Negative Fascination LP (HOS 357LP); and a more messed-up, sub bass-mired rework by Demdike Stare, who were still clearly in the mood surrounding their classic Elemental LP (LOVE 1077CD). The second disc however highlights cuts from earlier and more obscure releases, rounding up two powerful, even darkly romantic pieces of sturm und drang from 2010’s Around The Dragon’s Broken Neck… double-cassette, plus his opiated half of a split with Contrepoison and a cranky grinder that was only found on the White Eye Of Winter Watching compilation, both issued by Hospital Productions in 2011. Mastered and cut at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin.
An exclusive and outstanding Regis collaboration appears on the third volume of vinyl premieres for Vatican Shadow’s early and highly sought-after tapes, as originally dispensed in 2011 during the peak years of the War On Terror. Holding all six sides from 3x hard-to-find tape “deck” issues of Washington Buries Al Qaeda Leader At Sea, plus the previously digital-only track “He Ambled Down The Dirt Road For Visits To A Market” and the aforementioned Regis exclusive; the third instalment of the series definitively compiles Vatican Shadow’s impressionistic take on a turning point in 21st century U.S. geopolitics. Coupled with track titles lifted from the media and official government communiques on the subject, plus a full-length portrait of the Twin Towers prior to 9/11, the stark music suggests a perceptive void of detachment between reporting of the events’ objective reality and Vatican Shadow’s subjective response, beckoning listeners to read between the lines in a way that was previously deployed by two of Dominick Fernow’s (aka Vatican Shadow/Prurient/Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement) key historic influences; Muslimgauze and Whitehouse. From the offset clatter of drums evoking marching boots on “People In The Compound Kept Themselves To Themselves”, to the furtive pads that bleed thru “Supplying The Compound With Food and Medicine”, and the elegiac gloom cast by “Peace Be Unto You”, there’s a nerve-edged tension to the music which surely evinces its subject in an allusively classic style. And the two new parts succinctly fall in line, with the dusky stroll of “He Ambled Down The Dirt Road For Visits To A Market” marking out one of the project’s finest trip hop downbeats, while his collaboration with Regis on “See You Again Always” provides the project a new highpoint of guttural, militant, technoid pressure. With original tapes selling for triple figures on the second-hand market, this expanded definitive double-LP edition is unmissable for anyone with their head in the belly of modern electronic gloom. Mastered and cut to vinyl at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin.
The best Vatican Shadow release, bar none, finally lands on vinyl for the first time as part of a long overdue remaster/reissue series for the project’s earliest, fêted releases Originally slunk out on tape in 2011, Pakistan Military Academy sees Dominick Fernow (Prurient, Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement) calibrate his night-vision goggles to scan the most potent, affective visions of dark ambient and militaristic techno in his war chest. At the time of release, only months after the capture of Osama Bin Laden by US Army SEAL “Night Stalkers”, the project really came into its own as a form of impressionistic reportage, daring to grasp the nettle of contemporary US geopolitics in a way that, as music and art history will only make starker, everyone else broadly avoided at the time. In place of literal lyrics, a mix of quotes from newspapers and official government communiques, together with evocative photo documentation, supply the song titles and narrative/aesthetic framework for what are essentially abstracted emotions related to American military and foreign policy. Depending on how much you read or buy into it, for us at least the music rarely fails to evoke the shadowy unease and precarity of that era, as the sound betrayed an underlying mood contrary to the positivity of Obama-era politics, and that also spoke to the realignment of borders between musicks and socio-economics. The A side is worth the cost of entry alone for “Whitewashed Compound Stealth Helicopter Crash”, a spine-freezing tract of arcing synth pads leading to one of this decade’s most memorable codas, but when we factor in the scudding techno-stepper “Staccato Bursts of Gunfire”, plus the haunting late period Muslimgauze styles of “CIA Contractor Freed Over Pakistan Killings”, and the deep systolic thrum of “Prime Minister Defiant As Pakistan Outs CIA Agent”, this plate becomes an absolute essential for any and all connoisseurs of modern industrial and dark ambient music. RIYL: Muslimgauze, Prurient, Alberich, Raime. Remastered at Dubplates & Mastering.
Vatican Shadow’s impossible to find early tapes finally arrive on vinyl, kicking off a completist series of new Dubplate & Mastering remasters with a first volume featuring: Byzantine Private CIA (2010), Mural of Saddam (2011), and Yemeni Commandos (2011). Arriving under a shroud of anonymity in 2010 with the four tracks of Byzantine Private CIA, Vatican Shadow has since become one of the most vital projects manned by Dominick Fernow (Prurient, Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement). Daring to grasp the nettle of US geopolitics at a time when nobody else would (and that hasn’t really changed), Vatican Shadow hijacked imagery and text from a plethora of news articles, books and government publications, and used them to adorn and title his all-instrumental compositions, re-contextualising U.S. foreign policy in a way that recalls how original industrial, noise, and post-punk mutants used their art and music to express feelings towards the cold war and western socio-economics during the late ’70s and thru the ’80s — with a particular, explicit thread of inspiration coming from Bryn Jones’ prolific Muslimgauze catalog. The first LP contains all four cuts from Vatican Shadow’s first release, Byzantine Private CIA, taking in the cold thuds and clamoring background noise of “Deny Military Involvement” alongside highlights in the militant trample of “Cairo Sword Unsheathed” and the sludgy industrial dirge of “Gunman With Silencer”. The second LP follows with three tracks off Mural of Saddam, including the brittle, Muslimgauze-like stepper “Schwarzkopf Arc of Triumph”, and the furtive trip hop of “U.S. M1A1 Abrams Exhaust Rises Between The Hands Of Victory”, before concluding with some the project’s most sublime work in the opiated lushness of “Shadow War In Yemen” and “Asymetric Warfare Studies Group Double Game” from the Yemeni Commandos tape. Sounding more compelling than ever, thanks to the remastering at Dubplates & Mastering, and with original tapes now impossible to find for love nor money, these vinyl pressings of early VS gear are practically worth their weight in gold.
Definitive Hospital Productions artist Jim Mroz, aka Lussuria, follows duties on Prurient’s Rainbow Mirror LP and an appearance on Vatican Shadow’s Berghain 09 mix/compilation with a new opus worthy of comparison to his dank ambient classics, American Babylon (2012) and Industriale Illuminato. In the foreboding Three Knocks, Lussuria limns an unconscious, near-death experience based on a tale told by his mother, who was admitted to ER after an allergic reaction escalated into something inexplicable. She was put in a medically-induced coma and administered a breathing tube. When under the effect of heavy sedatives, she spoke of a visit by angels who warned of an impending disaster. She eventually came around, and recounted that her illness was preceded by three knocks at her office door, slow and heavy — proposing that each knock was a mockery of the Holy Trinity; one knock for each crucifixion — but when she answered nobody was there. This omen, and its confirmatory hallucination form the basis of Lussuria’s utterly absorbing new album. Using a Hawaiian flute made from a human femur, and an iron lung for percussion (don’t ask how he accessed it), together with operatic tape cut-ups and field recording made on the shores of Long Island’s empty asylums, Lussuria stages his mother’s vision in four parts of lugubrious, black metal ambient gloom. The atmosphere is just frighteningly tangible, revealing a sense of depth perception and stone cold clamminess that brings its spirit vividly within touching distance, from the over-the-shoulder vocals and cracked window pane howl of “Fentanyl Chaser”, to the hollow clank of oil drums and spent ammo casings in “Three Knocks”, and through to the frankly terrifying descent thru choral loops into a bony flute solo with “Confused And Ill By Shadows”. This would all just be another urban myth were it not for the exquisite detail and dramaturgy of Lussuria’s production and arrangement, which typically imparts its feeling in no uncertain terms, most acutely hyperstizing (making a superstition real) a state of psychological dread and panic induced by the occult imagination. RIYL: Cold Meat Industry, It, Prurient, Deathprod. Mixed and mastered by Josh Eustis. Vinyl cut at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin. First copies on silver vinyl.
Includes large format poster. Few contemporary industrial acts are spoken of in such highly reverential terms as Alberich, the solo project of underground super-producer Kris Lapke. While Lapke himself may best be known for his production and mastering work, both for such diverse sounding acts like Prurient, Nothing, and the Haxan Cloak to his audio restoration work for COUM Transmissions and Shizuka, Alberich has achieved a cult on par with many of the legends he works with; Lapke’s diverse contributions as a producer are recognizable for the perfect balance of maximalist and minimalist electronics that Alberich has relentlessly authored. Since Alberich’s 2010 masterful and highly collectable two-and-a-half hour NATO-Uniformen album, he has become a powerful force of modern industrial music. With only a series of limited tape and split releases, fans have been waiting with bated breath for a true follow-up album. Quantized Angel is Alberich’s first full-length album in almost a decade. In the intervening years between albums, Alberich has grown more nuanced, creating atmosphere and tension on par with Silent Servant’s classic Negative Fascination LP (2012) in regards to production and attention to detail. The results create a newly polished but no less intense vision of modern industrial music. Over the course of the album’s eight tracks, Alberich demonstrates a vision of ruthless existential electronics, a sound both commanding yet questioning in introspective spirit. Features exclusive track contributed to Berghain 09 2×12″ mixed by Vatican Shadow on Ostgut Ton.
Linekraft is the premier industrial performance unit arising from today’s contemporary Japanese underworld. Although active in the industrial stratosphere for many years, Linekraft has quickly developed a reputation as the leading industrial act from Japan through a series of stark, violent, and nihilistic live actions. The roots of these activities surround the lost tradition of “metal junks”, a succession of organized and disorganized physical strikes on various oil drums and canisters with long and short metal bars. This existential scrapyard is sped up, slowed down and stained through tape manipulation and layered, replayed, cut apart and reversed in psychic torment of old school analog processes. From this Kafka-esque cage of uninhabitable obstacles an alien and dehumanized voice of pure oscillations cries out equally in anger and despair. Resembling moments of Pacific 231 live recordings from the early 80’s. Engineering Analysis of Inner Death is the first full length for Linekraft and it shows he has arrived on record with the same atmosphere of his brilliant performances in the flesh. For fans of Esplendor Geometrico, Vivenza and White Hospital. Deluxe vellum sleeve; clear vinyl.
Includes poster. Silent Servant returns with Shadows of Death and Desire. Now-legendary producer, DJ, and art director Juan Mendez arguably reset techno at least twice. Once with his surreal and Europe-by-way-of-LA ’80s apocalypse culture aesthetics for Sandwell District, and again as Silent Servant capturing the youth-driven mutation of crossover electronics and dark parties churning in the American underground, which followed directly in the wake of his game-changing modern classic, Negative Fascination (2012). Mendez has evolved to more aggressive and stripped-down acid punk electro dance attacks Shadows of Death and Desire. Mendez took his time to deliver a more raw –yet refined– brutalism on this, his second album. The otherworldly guitar feedback of opener “Illusion” is cut short with a relentless bass sequence erasing any preconceptions of softening with time. Stereo-panned dusty snares drag along concrete and break apart with without a past or future. The introductory hypnotic sprawl is hastily dissected and left behind for the systematic tension of single “Harm In Hand.” Cold drum machine rolls that could have been removed with a laser from early Ministry are offset with a vocal delivery not felt in techno since Suicide. The narrative is constantly disrupted by caustic guitar stabs, its naked urgency like slamming on the brakes while inertia thrusts you forward in space but decidedly not in time. In his own words, “The record is a product of a significant life change that wasn’t a benefit,” which is eerily felt from the start but is surprisingly washed away with album closer, “Optimistic Decay” (which has become a mission statement from Mendez’s visual ideology). “Optimistic Decay” sees Mendez reuniting with vocalist Camella Lobo(Tropic Of Cancer). Lobo’s voice rises from spectral vocal delays beyond dub. A subtle nod to Silent Servant’s initial Maurizio-leaning EPs but with the grandiosity and opioid slow-motion haze of My Bloody Valentine. Also a student of cinematic deconstruction, the album looks inward from the exterior of LA’s untold stories in the netherworlds on the edge of the city, a rapid crash course in confidence games and subsequent letdowns. Shadows of Death and Desire sets the standard in electronic post-punk. Mixed and mastered by Josh Eustis. Designed by Silent Editions.
At the threshold of its 20-year anniversary, Akitsa presents Credo, the band’s sixth full-length and their most focused, furious and hypnotic album to date. Throughout its history, the band has operated unconstrained, willing, and capable of simultaneously exploring divergent paths. The accretion of Akitsa’s sprawling array of influences finds its most comprehensive expression on this album. Musically, O.T.handled the writing for the album, and there is a compositional coherence to it, despite the shifting moods of the tracks. The lyrics, however, were a shared endeavor; O.T. furnished the lyrics for two tracks as did Néant. Additionally, longtime Akitsa associate and visual artist Valnoir provided lyrics for another track. The drum programming on the title track, is supplied by Kris Lapke of cult industrial enigma Alberich, lending a barbaric strength to the title track. A critical component for the album, adding clarity to the sound without sacrificing the raw violence that has long characterized Akitsa’s music, is the visceral mixing, mastering, and post-production by revered producer Arthur Rizk (Prurient, Pissed Jeans, Power Trip). Credo opens with “Siécle Pastoral”, a driving, mid-paced riff before shifting into more tortured territory as O.T. delivers the lyrics, a poem by French poet, Jean-Baptiste-Louis Gresset. “Voies Cataclysmiques,” is a physical attack, its belligerence standing in contrast to the atmospherics of “Siécle Pastoral”, and “Le Monde Est Ma Bile”, which showcases the band’s unfolding of sorrowful melodies. “Espoir Vassal” is a vicious track featuring soaring, agonizing riffs with hints of Norwegian influence, before the frenzied and tense “Vestiges Fortifiés”. The album closes with the title track, combining the most salient elements that define Akitsa’s work to date. Across ten minutes, Néant’s lyrics, bellowed out in French by O.T., are a pure manifestation of poetic nihilism. The track is thus the metric by which Akitsa will be recognized. That a band would produce its finest work so deep into an already sensational career is an undeniably rare achievement in metal, and in Akitsa’s case, it is a testament to the band’s tenacity and versatility. After three years of total silence from Akitsa, Credo is a culmination of the band’s catalog and rise in cult status and arguably the finest representation of its pure underground devotion. LP in deluxe metallic print sleeve.
Low Jack and Equiknoxx join Dominick Fernow’s Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement on a new double vinyl expansion of Red Ants Genesis, originally issued on limited cassette in 2018. Recorded in winter 2017, Red Ants Genesisfinds the Hospital Productions boss discovering strength in collaboration following the triumph of his classic Ambient Black Magic (HOS 498CD/LP, 2017), which was conjured with the crucial assistance of Juan Mendez aka Silent Servant. Here, he works with Phillippe Hallais aka Low Jack and of Editions Gravats, who also tags in his pals Gavsborg and Time Cowfrom Jamaican digidub futurists Equiknoxx for a killer new version of the title track. On the tape’s original four tracks, Low Jack transmogrifies Fernow’s high volume microphone recordings of synthetic field ecologies with masterful sleight of hand in-the-edits, resulting in a hyperreal detachment and realignment of spatial proprioceptions executed with exquisite textural tactility. It’s far more oblique and desiccated than the relatively lush Ambient Black Magic outing, rendering the stark durational immersion of their 30 minute “Red Ants (Mics)” split over the first disc, while Low Jack’s percussive edits really come into play on the utterly gutted “Shields Ferns / Brown Pine Magic” and the slow, febrile push of “Papua Land (Live Edit).” No doubt one of the biggest attractions here is the curveball of an Equiknoxx remix of “Red Ants Genesis”. Surely one of the first meetings of Jamaican dancehall and dark ambient in existence, it’s a spellbinding piece of dub physics that demonstrates the endless, mutable imagination of Gavsborg and Time Cow in haunting and deeply mystic effect. Unmissable. Cut at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin.
The Disappearer story is an abstract and conflicted one, loosely based around moral codes handed down through generations, reinterpreted, debated and enforced, followed and broken. What happens when a threat is posed? Is the answer diluted to the simple fact of survival by any and all means necessary? Does instinct take precedence over all? This cycle is full of contradiction, feeding back in its most primitive animalistic and oft brutal of levels, with many questions left unanswered. Who becomes the disappeared and who becomes the disappearer? Two years since his last releases for Hospital Productions — A Gathering Together (HOS 477CD/LP, 2015) — L.I.E.S. Records boss Ron Morelli returns with Disappearer, his third full-length. Disappearer claws and tears its way through 13 tracks at 54 minutes long, touching upon everything from cold, stripped-back electronics, to hints of 1990s Hague scum techno, to grim passages reminiscent of early tape minimalists, the amalgamation forming a nasty sonic narrative that reaches an explosive unsettling apex. This is a definitive return to tense, urgent punk roots; the minimal beat construction, unexpected acid burned vocals, and stark atmospheres touch upon Morelli’s full spectrum of influences with his signature rusted razor production. Composed over the last two years in various foul states, the album is a fusion of base level hardware programming, open room mic recordings and extensive computer processing, all finalized in the Paris studio of Krikor Kouchian. Compositionally, Morelli has fused the brute immediacy of his then-controversial now-cult debut album Spit(HOS 407 CD/LP, 2012) with intricate compositional cut-ups of cassette culture, the updated crushing production the product of having circled and lived Europe’s nightclub circuit for close to a decade. Presented here as a double LP with new artwork, re-sequenced and edited from its original cassette format.
Hospital Productions presents a reissue of K2’s The Rust, originally released in 1996. From its imposing cover featuring massive Japanese characters fading from red to orange to yellow in a descending gradient to the title itself, rust would not have been enough for this edifice of decay. It is the rust, the final rust, the purest rust. The presentation only reiterates that this work is process driven, that it does not stop moving, clinging, falling, eroding, and covering its subject. As moisture turns metal to dust, this is Kimihide Kusafuka’s grand mastering of decay. The Rust is a four-part cut-up metal junk noise classic. Not to be confused with the typical high octane ’70s psych rock-obsessed outpourings by many of Japan’s more well-known noise elite, K2 has settled on a physical process of his own that gets at the inner workman surrounded by the urban accumulation of not-so-precious metals. Like the towering waterfront refinery, or the wrought iron fence outside one’s door that they may pass on their way to a busy morning routine, The Rust grinds away and piles on multi-track recordings that are violent and caustic and physical yet totally arcane in their construction. How was this made? Was K2 the executor of a junkyard? Has he lived among the ruins of automobiles, or perhaps locomotives based on the sheer dynamic range and scale of the rust? But that would be too misleading as when the gates open, naked moments are heard of isolated scraping and the unmistakable clutter of metal on metal sounds, pounded by human fists. The beating of metal is coated in feedback solvents and slashed with flange by Kusafuka’s self-described “Friktor” device that apparently exhumes the soul of any aluminum, steel, and cast-iron sheets. These liberated industrial ‘neighbors’ that we live among and construct our dwelling places with ascend to spheres and cities of their own. The rust will crush you with its weight, it will question the scale of your body, and it will cut away at your patience of watching water erode metal to dust. Recorded 1996 in Chiba, Japan for Kinky Music Institute, The Rust appears here on vinyl for the first time, faithfully remastered by Kris Lapke (Alberich). Gatefold sleeve with the original artwork; Rust-colored vinyl; Edition of 250.
Hospital Productions present a vinyl reissue of Merzbow’s Noisembryo, originally released on CD by The Releasing Eskimo in 1994. Noisembryo is a holy grail, not only of Merzbow’s obsessive discography, but of the entire ’90s noise movement. You’ve heard the stories surrounding the infamy of this release, but beyond that stands the depth and wild energy that Noisembryo encapsulates over two decades later. High-speed loops, roving automotive bass, and cacophonic drum machines gel together with the surprising inclusion of a sound rarely heard within Merzbow’s many years… Masami Akita’s own voice. Akita’s surrealism of the past stands prominently relevant to this day. Includes the bonus track “Travelling” from the equally as infamous Noise Forest compilation (1992), appearing here for the first time on vinyl. Edited and remastered for vinyl by Masami Akita. Includes insert featuring unseen classic paintings and collages of Masami from the original Noisembryo sessions. Deluxe foil-stamp gatefold sleeve.
Following a still-ongoing series of reissues of the earliest, previously tape-only releases from Dominick Fernow’s Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement, this long-in-the-making new album proper is an epic 80-minute set featuring additional production and “sound on sound processing” from Silent Servant, a remix from Substance, and mastering by Paul Corley. It’s by far the most ambitious and far-reaching Rainforest dispatch, taking that artificial, tropical humidity as a starting point before heading deep into a kind of textured ambience that are reminiscent of everything from Talk Talk’s Laughing Stock (1991) to Carl Craig’s “How The West Was Won” (1996), from Huerco S to classic Chain Reaction. Ambient Black Magic moves away from the extreme saturation of those early cassettes and the industrial environmentalism of his previous album Green Graves (2016) and is described by the label as “Fear Dub” — which is essentially the perfect encapsulation of the deep sense of paranoia contained within. The opening “Jungle Is A Shapeshifter” is a gargantuan 35-minute head-melter that’s split across the first two sides of the vinyl pressing. Co-produced with Silent Servant, it’s an absorbing piece of electronic music — slowly unfurling via chorus pedal guitars that gradually degrade, while a fathoms-deep bass pulse and tape-delay gives the piece its shape. It’s like an updated, tranquilized, fever-dream variant of the kind of ambient dub Vainqueur made his own back in the mid-90s. “Beyond The Yellow-Spotted Bamboo”, another Silent Servant co-production, clocks in at a relatively modest 17 minutes and heads off into more open terrain, this time with submerged percussion providing some propulsion, while shards of colored synth pull you back into the swamp. It’s another humid, breathtaking session — bringing out the best in both Fernow and Silent Servant. “Praying Mantis Black Arts” is another masterclass in sub-bass construction, while “Chile’s Crimson Tide” is the shortest track on the album, a kind of broken coda before Substance ends the set with a remix of “Beyond The Yellow-Spotted Bamboo”, deploying a tribal reduction that references classic Chain Reaction from a producer who was part of it first-hand. It’s a relatively upbeat conclusion to one of the most immersive listening experiences you’ll have in 2017; those of you looking for escape should dive in — you won’t want to re-engage with the world around you for a while. RIYL: Vainqueur, Huerco S, Talk Talk, Carl Craig.