Saturday, March 23, 2013

Tonight in Chicago: Peter Sotos + Chip Smith

Peter Sotos and publisher Chip Smith discuss controversy in publishing

Saturday March 23, 2013

7:00 PM

1854 W. North Ave.

Chicago, Illinois 60622

Marking the roughly simultaneous re-release of Peter Sotos’ Tool and Mine, Sotos will appear at Quimby’s Bookstore with his publisher Nine-Banded Books founder, Chip Smith, to discuss the continuing role of independent publishers in curating controversial and overlooked literature.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Crucial Blast on Intrinsic Action "Sado-Electronics" CD


INTRINSIC ACTION   Sado-Electronics   CD   (Bloodlust!)

A classic slab of American power electronics that is finally available again, the debut Intrinsic Action album Sado-Electronics was originally released on Tesco Organisation back in 1992 and later reissued with new artwork on Bloodlust!, the label run by IA's own Mark Solotroff (also of Bloodyminded and Anatomy Of Habit). Although the band had been in action since 1984, they only released a handful of cassette releases prior to this Cd, and leather clad and frothing at the mouth they set upon this collection of brute force sadistic-sexual nightmares, lust-murder fantasies and terminally morbid visions gushing from the skull of bandleader Solotroff on tracks like "In A Glass Cage", "Metamorph" and "Shock Pit", set to a pulsating backdrop of primitive electronic noise and throbbing black synthesizer. The eleven tracks that make up the Sado-Electronics portion of the disc center around stripped down arrangements of delayed vocals rippling across heavy carcinogenic electronic throb, agonizing feedback abuse and crackling pestilential static, and often settling into an evil hypnotic lock groove pulse that took the Whitehouse influence into an obsessive new direction and combined it with a sinister minimal synth sound that had echoes of Suicide (just check out the opener "Male Payment"). The other half of the disc comprises the Surgical Stainless Steel: First Operation Incision Durations, a series of ten untitled short extreme electronics/death-synth pieces that range from crushing PE attacks to ghastly Atrax Morgue-esque drones.

I've been dyin' to get my hands on this disc for awhile and am seriously stoked that it turned up again in the Bloodlust! catalog; it's definitely one of that labels must-hear releases if you're into the early U.S. PE underground. Re-mastered for this new edition, with updated artwork and photos that differ from the old Tesco version.

Crucial Blast on Bereft 7-Inch

BEREFT   Tough Man   7" VINYL   (Bloodlust!)

A couple of the older "private series" 7" Eps from Bloodlust! turned up recently, allowing us to get both the hard-to-find Whorebutcher 7" and this 2006 Ep from the misanthropic New England power electronics duo Bereft in stock for the first time. As with the rest of Bereft's stuff, this is ultra-heavy shit that combines a hardcore-influenced vocal attack with excoriating lyrics and ferocious electronic noise. The a-side track "Tough Man" immediately launches into a sonic assault of extreme high-end feedback and distorted rabid vocals, a ferocious seething power electronics delivery that repeats the threatening lyrics over and over for maximum effect, while harsh rhythmic rumblings detonate beneath the acidic high-end skree, growing into the monstrous mechanical vibrations that take over the final few minutes. Real fuckin' intense. The other track "Religious Leaders" is at first a departure from the aggression on the first track, unleashing massive waves of cosmic synthdrift and metallic drone across deep, reverberating blasts of percussive power, creating a really heavy death industrial feel. The demonic vocals are situated deeper in the mix, adding to the malevolent atmosphere, but then it evolves into something harsher, erupting into roars of collapsing metal and nuclear blast distortion, transforming into a slow-moving and monstrous maelstrom of broken metal and irradiated synth noise that dominates the last few minutes of the side.

Comes in a plain white sleeve with a xeroxed insert, limited to three hundred copies.

Crucial Blast on Whorebutcher 7-Inch


WHOREBUTCHER   Fanatic   7" VINYL   (Bloodlust!)

There have only been a handful of releases from this American power electronics project over the past decade, but every one that I've picked up has been incredibly violent and vicious sounding, and I'd rate Whorebutcher's output as some of the harshest to come out of the American PE scene. His works have tended to be hard for me to come by though, with this limited 7" from the Bloodlust! label being the first of his titles that I've even been able to get for the shop. Released several years ago as part of Bloodlust!'s minimally packaged "private" series of white sleeve 7"s, Fanatic is a two-track eruption of extreme power electronics that flaunts some of the most agonal feedback manipulation this side of early Prurient. Opening with a roar of fast-moving distorted chaos, the first track "Fanatic" is a relentless shrieking nightmare of painful feedback abuse, brutal blasts of percussive distortion-pulses and murderous whispered vocals blasted through insane levels of distortion. What you can make out through that squealing, shrieking chaos paints a hideous picture of sexual sadism and obsessive violence, visions of violent debauchery set against layers of crushing electronics.

The b-side "Obsession " is more subdued, following the vicious noise of the first track with what begins as an atmospheric electronic soundscape fluttering with distant klaxon pulses and crashing waves of blackened static, a steady ceaseless feedback hum running like a thick black vein through the lightless factory ambience of the track, only veering from this dark pulsating driftscape in its final seconds as it explodes into a brief gale of shrieking noise that brings this around full circle to the waves of vicious electronic hate. 

Comes in a plain white sleeve with a xeroxed insert, issued in a limited edition of three hundred copies on white vinyl.

Crucial Blast on Sun Splitter LP


SUN SPLITTER   III   LP   (Bloodlust!)

I've definitely been picking up on a certain industrial influence that has been creeping into a lot of the underground metal/avant rock that's been coming out of Chicago lately; dunno if it's a direct by-product of that city's long history with mechanized sound with labels like Wax Trax and Invisible, but there's definitely traces of machine-music coming through in some of the Windy City's more doom-laden outfits like Bloodiest, Anatomy Of Habit, Rabid Rabbit, and Minsk. I love hearing metallic music incorporate industrial influences, and the latest Chicago band mixing the mecha with their metal is Sun Splitter, who I first heard on their excellent II cassette on Land Of Decay a while back. Sun Splitter has put a unique, punishing stamp on this sound, using drum machines to create the pummeling slow-motion assembly-line rhythms that drive their crushing guitar/bass drones and sludgy riffage, blending in electric organs and piano into their sound for added atmosphere.

III is the latest offering from Sun Splitter, a vinyl-only album out from Bloodlust!. As soon as opener "Eye Of Jupiter" kicks in, the band is battering you with you their concussive industro-sludge, a hypnotic assault of heavy mechanical drumming and chant-like vocals that snake through clouds of shimmering synth noise around the crushing low-end riffage, building into something akin to a psychedelic version of early Godflesh or Swans, but with that monstrous chugging industrial grind becoming fused to the vast droning narco-crush of Sleep and Om; a weird mixture on paper, but man, I was hooked from the first track. From there the album heads deeper into bludgeoning, down-tuned riffs weighted with moments of striking Sabbathian doom n' gloom, majestic leads soaring over bizarrely-arranged programmed blast beats, and a vocal delivery that goes from harsh frantic screams to weird chant-like utterances. Totally sounds like something that could have come off of the HeadDirt or Pathological Records labels, but with a very modern level of metallic heaviosity. The other tracks follow similar suit in their drive to pummel the listener with brutal repetition, the eleven minute "Parasitic Machine" driving home a pounding pneumatic rhythm while spacey, almost blackened guitar melodies and tremolo riffing ascend skyward as it builds to a crescendo that never comes. Instead, it drops off into an almost Lustmordain abyss of cavernous drones and distant ethereal chanting smeared with streaks of psych guitar, prayer-bowl resonance, and monstrous subterranean rumblings.

Sun Splitter drop a number of these long, mesmeric dronescapes among their heavier songs, and also make a couple of surprising detours from the chugging, industrialized hypno-crush. Like on the closer "Two Cold Oceans", where they lock in to an infectious hypno-rock jam that sounds surprisingly like Finnish avant-rockers Circle at first, a pounding shuffling drum beat driving the hypnotic music into endless circular grooves, a simple chugging riff repeating over and over, the guitars laying down a lysergic meandering melody; after awhile, it suddenly kicks in with much harsher, more evil intensity, the vocals changing from a stoned yowl to harsh blackened shrieks, the guitars surging in heaviness, continuing that looping heavy psych-hook as more and more electronic layers of noise and effects descend upon the music, until everything is swallowed up in a monstrous roar of crushing industrial drone and starry electronic nebulae and whirring Hawkwindian synth effects.

Crucial Blast on Anatomy of Habit CD

ANATOMY OF HABIT   self-titled   CD

Although Chicago noise artist Mark Solotroff has been destroying eardrums for nearly thirty years, first with his early American power electronics outfit Intrinsic Action that combined rabid Whitehouse worship with an evil undercurrent of S&M sleaze, later with the extreme electronic abuse of Bloodyminded and the apocalyptic industrial sludge-scapes of The Fortieth Day, it hasn't been until recently that Solotroff has started to explore more rock-based delivery systems for his visions of dystopian violence and collapse. Starting with a self-titled 12" released in 2011 and followed by another, similarly untitled 12" the following year, Solotroff's new band Anatomy Of Habit (which also features Blake Edwards of Vertonen on metal percussion, drummer Dylan Posa, formerly of Flying Luttenbachers and Cheer Accident, bassist Kenny Rasmussen, and Greg Ratajczak of Plague Bringer and Winters In Osaka) has been building a sound that is equal parts crushing noise rock, 80's-style goth n' gloom, metallic sludge and hypnotic post-punk, with long songs that stretch out across an entire side of a record, marked by marked by slow buildups into pummeling sludgy heaviness and long circular grooves. Swans and Joy Division are obvious influences on the band's music, but there's also a bit of Om-like psychedelic repetition here as well, giving this a heavy, trance-inducing feel at times.

The band has assembled their first Cd release with this re-mastered collection of all of their vinyl tracks to date, compiling both of the self-titled 12"s here on this full-length disc. Packaged in a six-panel digipack, this is an excellent entry point into Anatomy Of Habit's dour, industrial-tinged gloom-rock.

The first Lp features the tracks "Overcome" and "Torch": "Overcome" sprawls out into a dark, brooding mass of slow-moving gloom rock, the minimal guitars and droning bass line giving this a real Joy Division-ish feel, the deep distant vocals cloaked in shadows, the song seeming to be building eternally as the chiming delay-streaked guitar notes and incantatory singing rises ever skyward. It gradually takes on a ritualistic vibe as the drums come in and the song locks into a kind of circular trance, the melody slowly spinning around, over and over, a gloomy shambling hypnorock loop; it builds like this for minutes at a time, the sound slowly growing in intensity, until it all suddenly lurches into the pounding, sludgy heaviness that takes over the last half of the song, a lumbering, droning low-end crush fused to a catchy melodic hook, somewhere in between Killing Joke and Neurosis's calmer moments of apocalyptic dirge. The seventeen minute "Torch" is another powerful gloom epic, coming in on waves of shimmering cymbals and distant whirring synths, then shifts into dark piano sounds and those far-off vocals before slipping into another monstrous slo-mo groove. This one has some of the band's heaviest stuff, blooming into crushing metallic war-sludge and massive chugging riffage, then later devolving into discordant, plodding heaviness at the end. 

The second 12" from Anatomy Of Habit features two more long tracks of their crushing, hypnotic post-punk, "After The Water" and "The Decade Plan", and sees the band introducing piano and synthesizer into their sound. After a haunting introduction of simple laid-back percussion and jangling guitar melody, "After The Water" opens up into a kind of slow, brooding gloom-rock, somewhere in between Swans and some slow-moving math rock outfit, the heartfelt vocals droning over this slowly developing hook; somewhere around the middle of the song, it changes into an almost militaristic rhythm with clanging bass and the vocals becoming harder, more stentorian, right before surging into a blast of crushing, pummeling sludge. "The Decade Plan" follows with slowly cascading clean guitars and speak-sing vocals that make the beginning of the song sound like some early 90s slowcore, then blasts into a crushing doom-laden riff, a strange stilted heaviness with clanking metallic percussion rattling in the background, slowly but inexorably building into a majestic finale.