20140107

interference (vaald, 2013)
when the trade offer from vaald/hooker vision arrived in my inbox, i was flattered but unsure of what to expect, being almost fully unfamiliar with the labels' style beyond motion sickness of time travel.  i wrongly assumed i'd be acquiring something along those lines--dreamy, synthy, reverby.  instead, this is a really excellent harsh noise wall (hnw) tape, a genre i heard and developed a taste for fairly recently in the past year.  what i like about hnw is the monolithic and focused sonic, which appeals to me on an aesthetic level.  it's very simple: overwhelming sensory onslaught to the point of relaxation or transcendence.  i also find it very functional music, both demanding and not at the same time: demanding because of the complete lack of any musical element or development, but also liberating for those same reasons.  the listener role seems heightened more than other styles of music (or raw sound) in defining the hnw experience, both in terms of mental attitude towards it and things like listening volume, environment, and so forth.  on the other side of the coin, the choices an artist makes offer the ability to suggest or define context in interesting ways.  this tape goes for a more ambiguous approach than most of the hnw herd, offering something like a 'static tv field recording' package rather than the standard gore/misogyny aesthetic, which often feels unneccessary and/or unwanted for my taste.  having said that, there's a hilariously stark picture of a boss metal zone pedal next to a switchblade on the inside, along with another picture of a leather glove.  great!  i also like that i have no idea who the artist is.  as for the sonics, it's a bit lighter than some hnw, and there is some development, two things i have no problem with.  the a-side starts off with a pretty unthreatening wash of vanilla white noise with a spacious, reverb-y quality, more tranquil waterfall than stab-your-face-and-guzzle-vomit.  gradually, midrange frequencies are emphasized, but slowly enough that i'm not sure if i'm imagining the development.  in the last minute, the noise cracks in and out, a nice visceral and human touch.  the b-side has a somewhat harsher texture with more bass and reverb and some present drone-y frequencies in the lower midrange.  i guess you'd call this atmospheric hnw?  are there hnw sub-genres?  it reminds me a bit of enfermement by the hnw artist "a."  anyway, let's face it, hnw is super hilarious.  so serious, so extreme, your parents can't stand it, and it makes the chops required to play punk (or other noise subgenres, for that matter) look like dream theater.  bottom line: this is a great tape because it has a nice touch of nuance and humor in the sound and presentation but still "delivers the goods," if you get my drift.  last opinion i want to offer in regards to hnw and then i'll shut up: need more women involved in the genre.

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