Sad news to pass on as avant-garde icon and Industrial Music pioneer Genesis Breyer P-Orridge has died. S/he – h/er was 70 years and passed away following a three year battle with chronic myelomonocytic leukemia. The news was confirmed last night to Pitchfork and then shared to social media by Dais Records co-founder (and P-Orridge’s manager) Ryan Martin. As a founding member experimental bands Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV, h/er five decades as a musician, poet, performance artist, and occultist was best known for h/er influential work in the industrial music genre and was often referred to as the “Godparent of Industrial Music.” Not just a genius creator of music and art, but a constant provocateur and defying of cultural norms and the status quo of the establishments of governments, religion and more, we will never see a once-in-a-lifetime talent and personality like this again. We send our condolences out to h/er familiy, friedns and fans at this time. Continue reading
It’s easy to love Sigh. It’s also easy to find them really annoying. Starting off as a Japanese branch of Black Metal’s second wave, Sigh has since mutated in all sorts of bizarre and interesting ways, integrating everything from classical influences to jazz breakdowns to having a nude, blood-smeared woman shrieking out vocals over Venom covers. As one does. At best, it made them a glorious thing to hear. At worst, it just sounded like a formless din. Continue reading
Doom masters SUNN O))) will make their Barbican début next March, as part of the Convergence Festival, next spring in London. Details to follow. Continue reading
Okay, I’m going to do it… after six albums as Author & Punisher, everyone who’s remotely interested in how Tristan Shone makes his music already knows, and constantly bringing it up is starting to seem like an accusation of gimmickry. It’s time, I think, to get over the methods and focus on the music.
Which makes it extremely fortunate that there’s so much on Melk En Honing (Housecore) to talk about. “Industrial” is probably one of the least reliable genre labels in music, having been used to describe anything from Throbbing Gristle to Rob Zombie, but here it works as an adjective, describing the bleak mechanised quality of Shone’s distinctive, powerful Doom. The core of A&P’s sound is built around vast, mechanised drones overlaid with precise beats and machine sounds, but the intent behind the song-writing is recognisably Doom.
Words like “bleak”, “suffocating” and “dehumanising” come easily to mind when listening to Melk En Honing – and they are certainly deserved – but those qualities are not what make Author & Punisher really special – it’s the surprising moments of hope that shine through. Extreme Metal has never had a shortage of bands who generate a hateful or negative atmosphere, but Shone finds himself in the rare group of artists such as Neurosis who infuse their music with genuine human emotion. Shone’s versatile vocals are a significant part of this, shifting from anguished howls and commanding barks to plaintive, weary clean singing as the music requires. There’s a human heart inside this cyborg, and it wants more than simply to crush.
Melk En Honing is perhaps likely to be one of the most quietly distinctive Metal albums of the year, simultaneously mechanised and surprisingly human, and is unmistakably the work of a man with a fiercely independent vision that extends far beyond his unorthodox methods and deep into the music itself.
In an age where physical releases are going the way of the dodo thanks to the all-conquering march of the digital epoch, it’s heartening when new bands still care enough about their fans to not only produce something that buyers can hold in their hands, but also to put real effort into making each copy a thing of beauty. The self-titled debut album from Cleveland, Ohio based Hiram-Maxim comes complete with a 100-page art book courtesy of local graphic designer Ron Kretsch, and his disturbing black and white images are the perfect accompaniment to the thirty-seven minutes of sprawling, oppressive psychedelia that comprise this debut release.
Spread over four tracks, the music on Hiram-Maxim (Aqualamb) sounds mostly improvised, giving it a genuine feeling of unease as the four band members craft sounds that could be the soundtrack to undergoing a particularly intense k-hole whilst locked in a Salvador Dali museum overnight. The loose, free-form approach often gives way to violent bursts of noise such as on the brutally harsh ‘Can’t Stop’ which sounds as if Throbbing Gristle had been force-fed mescaline. Elsewhere, the tortuous waltz of album opener ‘Visceral’ at least makes an attempt to appear normal in a kind of Sonic Youth-gone-wrong manner while the sparse post-rock melodies and languid singing of ‘One’ fight for prominence with buzzing drone and dissonant drumbeats to create an atmosphere of bemused melancholy.
Offering so much more than your average meat-and-potatoes heavy band, Hiram-Maxim may not have a clue where their compositions are going, but the terrain they visit on the way is freaky and challenging in the way all good psych should be, and crucially never feels pretentious. If you fancy a ramble into dissonant soundscapes where anything could happen then give this impressive first effort a spin and tune your mind into something very strange yet oddly nourishing.