Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Various Artists - Stein: [Interpretations eines Geologischen Materials und Seiner Symbolik]

Various Artists - Stein: [Interpretations eines Geologischen Materials und Seiner Symbolik]
DLP + 7”. 16 pp booklet.
199 copies.

Irgun Z’Wai Leumi
Hal Hutchinson
Niellerade Fallibilisthorstar
Jeph Jerman
Clew of Thesus
Kristian Olsson
Dieter Müh
Feine Trinkers Bei Pinkels Daheim

When Chris Bohn [the editor of Wire magazine] took Noise and Industrial artists to task in one of his editorials a couple of years back I took him to task, only for the Wire to copy and paste my blog post [minus the Snotnosed review it prefaced of course] straight into their letters page without even having the decency to email me to ask first. Damned cheek. Either it was a well written riposte or they were hard up for letters that month. I’ll let you decide.

In March’s issue Bohn once again loaded his cudgels this time with Industrial music in his sights. ‘Industrial culture’s not dead - I’d say more’s the pity’ before going on to explain that its acts like Skinny Puppy, Ministry, Front Line Assembly, Nine Inch Nails and their ilk he saves his ire for blaming the original wave of Industrial acts [Throbbing Gristle, Cabaret Voltaire, NON, Laibach, Coil et al] for opening a window through which those ‘heavily mascara’d industrial rock emo’s’ could crawl through.

I too would be much happier not having to live in a world where Ministry and Nine Inch Nails ply their trade but once that windows open you’re buggered - you cant shut it just because you don’t like whats jumped through it. The cats out of the bag whether you like it or not.

That first wave of industrial culture isn’t just the preserve of those ‘heavily mascara’d emo’s’ though. Industrial Culture continues to influence a very different breed of artists, not all of whom are reliant on transgressive material and a user friendly website to further their cause.

I’d put a fair amount of money on all of the artists appearing on Verlautbarung’s mammoth double LP/7” release having within their walls a smattering of Throbbing Gristle’s output. That doesn’t mean they’ve produced music that requires mascara and a pounding Industrial beat to fill out a hockey arena with or have album covers featuring rotting corpses.

Verlautbarung asked all of the 15 artists involved to use stone as a concept in their work. Some took it literally, others more conceptually [for example AMPH with the boxer Roberto Duran a.k.a. Hands of Stone] and although I found no trace of someone banging two pebbles together I did find traces of Power Electronics [Irgun Z’wai Leumi, Värtgärd] and remarkable comparisons to early TNB garden shed compositions [Hal Hutchinson] amongst plenty of Industrial Ambience and loop type experimentation from lots of people who are new to me. Transgressive material appears in the accompanying booklet courtesy of a photo of George Mallory’s mummified remains lying bleached on the slopes of Everest, apart from that its mainly rocks.

Industrial Ambience looms largest though, Doroga’s random clanging of deadened tubular bells is distinctly bleak and funereal, the Dieter Müh track that follows it is grinding flour wheels and syrup thick cardiac rhythms, OCHU’s ‘For George Mallory’ does indeed sound like someone sliding down a gravel encrusted slope as a dented cow bell is struck in mock funeral tones. Some used stone as a sound source such as Jeph Jerman who’s managed to make stones sound like underwater machinery, others tape loops [MNEM], some sound like a massed march through rubble [AMPH].

Unusually for a compilation I found myself warming to all of it, no mean feat and the sign of some serious quality control going on. I thought I’d heard its best but it wasn’t until I got to side ‘e’ of the seven incher that I got the wind knocked out of me. Contrastate, those enigmatic purveyors of mysterious music, without the aid of mascara or podium or a helpful Merch tab on their website present ‘Haunted’ an aptly titled track drenched in layers of eldritch that disappears into the ether leaving behind it a trail of votive incense. Its softly spoken, half sung vocals are a repentant Catholic priest speaking in tongues, melodic, eerie and genuinely unnerving. Dunno where the stones were though.  

Verlautbarung is a vinyl only label and this is their fourth release.


Contact: Verlautbarung

No comments: