artifacts of the no-audience underground: new from sheepscar light industrial

December 16, 2012 at 9:07 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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BBBlood – N 51°33′ 0” / W 0°7′ 0” (3″ CD-r, edition of 50 and download, Sheepscar Light Industrial, SLI.010)

Core of the Coalman – 12 Lines (3″ CD-r, edition of 50 and download, Sheepscar Light Industrial, SLI.011)

Ap Martlet – Pyrite (3″ CD-r, edition of 50 and download, Sheepscar Light Industrial, SLI.012)

bbblood - n 51 33 0 w 0 7 0core of the coalman - 12 linesap martlet - pyrite

Right then, regular readers will be familiar with Leeds-based label-du-jour Sheepscar Light Industrial and its charming head honcho Daniel Thomas.  Launched mere months ago, its collector-attracting homogeneous packaging has led to fistfights in the overnight queue that forms outside SLIHQ whenever new releases are announced.  Its ruthless quality control has guaranteed plaudits from all the commentators that matter.  Irregular readers can start here and then catch up by clicking one of the SLI links to be found inches from this current sentence.

Although Paul Watson, him of BBBlood, has been rightly praised for the physicality of his noise music, less is said about the artfulness of its construction.  Perhaps the obliterating racket obscures this skill.  Not so with this typographically challenging release, however.   N 51°33′ 0” / W 0°7′ 0″ finds him in a less combative, more contemplative mood than you may have heard before.  It contains passages of dense, high-volume cacophony, of course, but this isn’t simply HNW.  For the most part it doesn’t feel that H at all.

In allowing some room Paul foregrounds the interesting conflicts that occur when you push the concepts of noise and music together, like the invisible struggle between matching poles of two magnets.  His source material is clearly as ‘authentic’ as it gets – recordings of noise-generating activity and the good ol’ fashioned fucking up of innocent objects – but the breathing space allows you to hear the ‘artificial’ loops, reverb and other elements from which it is built.  You can hear the working out and it is fascinating.  Unlike lesser noise (which, given the quality of this release, is a very large set indeed) this fair demands repeat listens and rewards them by opening up a little more with each.

12 Lines by Core of the Coalman is twenty minutes of deliciously spiced drone. It’s as earthily satisfying as a well seasoned lentil dhal, as cleansing as chopped coriander and contains enough texture and flavour to distract even the fussiest, most skittish diner. Food metaphor not working for you? OK, let’s get practical and see how a track like this can be used…

Last Wednesday morning I found myself at my place of work, the University of Leeds, a full hour before I needed to be.  It doesn’t matter why.  On a whim, I took a lift to the top floor of the Parkinson Building (the imposing Art Deco pile that acts as gateway to campus), found a window with a radiator underneath it, leaned on the sill and looked out over the frosted rooftops of my city.  The rising sun coloured the freezing fog: smoggy ochre at street level, raspberry milkshake above.  All the while this track was playing on my mp3 player and was a perfect soundtrack to the scene.  Glorious.

Finally we have Pyrite by Ap Martlet, a solo project from Dave Thomas also known round here as half of Hagman.  It is an eerie 20 minutes of ominous fuzz.  Like the BBBlood disc it is full of space but this space feels somehow denied.  Like the hum of an electric fence surrounding an enormous and newly created hole in the ground, impossibly deep, something glowing at the bottom, guarded by armed men in hazmat suits.  Or the wind whipping through razor wire on the perimeter of a long abandoned military base.

This is of a piece with The Black in the Wood, apparently inspired by ‘The Whisperer in Darkness’ by H.P. Lovecraft and freely downloadable from the Ap Martlet SoundCloud page.  It sounds exactly like waking to find your brain has been removed and placed in a metal cylinder for the journey to Yuggoth and for that reason comes highly recommended.  You should get ’em both.

For purchases of physical objects and/or downloads visit the SLI Bandcamp page.  Should releases be sold out at source it is always worth asking the artist – Dan is almost nonsensically generous with freebies to his roster.

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