snatched reality: scott mckeating on deathwank, platemaker, inseminoid, colossloth

February 6, 2014 at 9:07 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Deathwank / Platemaker – Find Ahmed (business card CD-r, Vilenoise, 06, edition of 50 or download)

Inseminoid – The Whitest Eye (tape, Wealth of Abuse, Wealth of Abuse 02)

Colossloth – Anchored By Lungs EP (download, Peripheral Records)

colosslothplatemaker - find ahmed

Scott McKeating, RFM’s mysterious third voice, twiddles with the focus on his microscope and invites us to see what he’s smeared on the glass slide.  Over to Scott…


Aside from briefly shocking work colleagues that have no previous experience of the harsh noise or no-audience underground, the name Deathwank has several other functions for me. Their chosen name is an indicator that this is a band I’m probably going to end up avoiding in future and it’ll be a project that’s its hard to take particularly seriously. There’s something just a little too ‘look at me, ma!’ in a name like Deathwank (Editor’s note: true, but some of their track titles are pretty funny: ‘YOUR MUM AND DAD ONLY FUCKED ONCE AND IT WAS SHIT’ is comic genius). A side project of sorts for members of Scots grinders Sufferinfuck making an unhealthy noiserockpunknoise (or as they’ve labelled it “noisecore scum grind”) racket, the act’s single track here is so lo-fidelity that it’s just a nudge away from collapsing into harsh noise wall. With little but the vocals (I think I’m hearing two vocalists screaming like Cuckoo’s Nest detainees but I can’t be 100% sure) and snatches of rhythm straining through the brick-thick sonic soup, it’s a fairly one-dimensional sound.

In all honesty I’m instantly more inclined to like Platemaker’s offerings on this business card CD-r (Editor’s note: the whole split release totals just four minutes, physical object sold out – see download links below), pretty much just because he’s not called Deathwank. For those that need to know the who and what, Platemaker is a solo “workplace grievance related noisecore” project from Tide of Iron’s vocalist / drummer Rob Woodcock. A frenzied three-pack of balance assailing tracks, this kitchen-based fury is a din risotto of live drums, noise blasts, programmed beats and treble screams; a super fast spew from the service industry that would rather take a big shite on the customer than season their dishes.

Inseminoid (Lee Culver and George Proctor of Mutant Ape’s dronestaticnoise duo) have been reasonably quiet of late, so this cassette is a welcome sight on the release schedule of Gareth Howell’s (Sump’s drummer) new PE/noise label Wealth of Abuse. This back-to-business outing begins with crossing sonic pulses and dusted down 80s VHS soundtrack melodies forming underneath the pair’s signature static thunder. Despite their stationary aggression, an Inseminoid listen demands headphones. There’s too much going on under the gale to risk losing it in the rumble of public transport or the interruptions that contact with humans can bring.  Overheard melodies are almost tentative in the mix of sound, the handful of notes (subsequent listens suggest they were made using a shite keyboard rather than broken samples) rapidly become part of The Whitest Eye’s Alvin Lucier skew. The fleeting snatch at reality these elements represented is eventually reduced to a near whiteout by the trademark Inseminoid slow rise to noise.  The deal is sealed – another extraordinary release.

Buried deep in the city of Leicester, Colossloth is a one man experimental project that isn’t easily tagged with a sub-genre. Wherever people end up deciding where the music fits, the recent Anchored By Lungs EP is a definite success in stitching together abstractions. At three tracks and around ten minutes long, the EP is more a signpost than a release (although it is an actual release, download only at the moment though). The title track might well be a very musical piece, but its still slough dredging heavy. Crawling along like Sadako on a broken pitchshift riff from the MBV archives, ‘Anchored By Lungs’ is a clash of clean and scarified, a ‘real’ violin line saws through the loopage. With death moans in the track’s recipe, accompanied by creaks and desolate piano, it’s a bit Nurse With Wound-y in the best possible way.

The broke fairy tale vibe continues into ‘Welcome Home Mourning Voyeur’ – some kind of adagio for creaking floorboards or creeping-troll-incubus on the bed springs.  There’s a genius loop (created? Randomly found?) of a revolving weathervane of percussion noise, spinning at the tip of the forthcoming storm. The track isn’t all abstraction though, there’s a tasty Sabbathian electric guitar squall in there. ‘Feint Hearted’ also features guitar, possibly sampled and removed from its usual world, and angularly spelunked in a bed of manipulated bleepage and circuitboard sucked squelches. An Argento mood permeates this piece, plucked string and piano horror atmospherics add to the darkness. Colossloth is also a better name than Deathwank.

Deathwank on Bandcamp

Platemaker / Shybairns Records on Bandcamp


Wealth of Abuse via All Dead Tapes

Colossloth / Peripheral Records on Bandcamp

perfectly down: scott mckeating on smut and caroline mckenzie

January 12, 2014 at 10:02 am | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Smut – Vulgar Tongue (tape, Wealth of Abuse, Wealth of Abuse 03)

Caroline Mackenzie – Almost Air (download, Incorrect Things, ALOIT-01)

caroline mckenzie - almost airsmut - vulgar tongue

A message from the editor: many thanks to those of you who have bought a copy of The Swift and/or moseyed over to the midwich Bandcamp site.  I am very grateful.  Special thanks to those who have paid for the privilege of downloading some of my odd early stuff – your donations are very much appreciated and I wish you the best of luck with your purchases (my stats page tells me that one listener has made it through the heavily mentholated ‘stomaching‘ from beginning to end – midwich fan, hero class).

Right then, enough advertorial.  The first reviews of 2014 come from RFM’s mysterious third voice Scott McKeating who wants to suggest two soundtracks for the January floods and frost.  More soon from both me and Joe and The Barrel Nut issue #5 is currently being loaded onto the delivery truck…


Wealth of Abuse is part of the tape underground rooted in Northern England.  A sonic peer of labels like Matching Head, Cruel Nature and All Dead Tapes (its parent label), its handful of releases fit snugly into that axis of noise. I’m in love with the fact they are all prolific and each have defining aesthetics, whilst perhaps not always being a fan of their particular choice of aesthetics at times. If that makes sense? (Editor’s note: sure, it does.  See my well documented prudishness at Lee Stokoe’s use of horror/porn imagery.)

Those familiar with the previous output of Lucy Johnson as Smut might be expecting this tape to follow the direction of her previous Turgid Animal releases, continuing on with her starkly recorded solo piano works. Vulgar Tongue, it seems, is exploring another avenue altogether. ‘Nuns Choir’ begins aptly enough with a recording of a choir, taped from what sounds like a black-and-white telly. This distant soaring praise is speedily and unsteadily swallowed by the buzzing of unstable amps and the roar of unmarshalled noise. Layers rise and fall, oscillations spew, surface and sink – Smut’s noise is duvet warm yet scab knotted and night black. A handful of violin notes are introduced, perhaps forming a melody – perhaps not, each seemingly on a short fuse but never exploding, the treble sounds scything through the busy industry of noise.  Like a churning sea front, ‘Nuns Choir’ makes a sodden wreck of its elements yet manages to maintain an identifiable ‘sound’.  It ends with the returning/resurfacing of the choir and the feeling that Smut has been expanded into a project where anything goes.

The other track, ‘Nature of the Beast’, is also strong.  It contains the customary Smut piano but this time it’s a stilted pattern of notes in a drone murk instead of the echo of piano in a box room. This runs through the turned up swamp fog like it’s emerging from under a shroud of grave dirt, the feedback like breath through cracks in a coffin lid.

Buy here.

Self released as a five track download on her new imprint, Incorrect Things, Caroline Mackenzie’s Almost Air is her second album. Her debut, Did you really think you were safer in the dark?, (out on Glasgow’s very reliable and very productive Black Circle Records), was a much darker, noisier matter. Almost Air is another thing altogether, a perhaps unintended showcase for Caroline’s varied drone sensibilities.

‘Three Diaries’ opens proceedings with a metallic-ore derived sound of light-dazzled drone, there are swells of melody submerged throughout adding to a sense of sporadic trepidation. Channelling the sensation of being trapped in a vibraphone box while everyone else is asleep, this song is scrapes, skewed reality and iron tasting queasiness.

A straight-down descent from its opening, second track ‘Three Shadows’ begins as a frozen song of metal breath, soon joined by an insistent and raw guitar line. A blunt chime that could well be mistaken for ‘Wish’ era Cure, a melody circling a further cycle of blurry sounds. The drone is a spinning top caught in mid spin – still turning and sending off waves – and ends in cold breath effects, icy howls and guitar tamper. ‘Three Bridges’ is probably the most perfectly down drone that’s come through my headphones for a long, long time. The piece is desperately sad, unqualifiably so, but definitely sidesteps being anything close to generically depressing (if there is such a thing). Trimmed in a silvery lining, it’s an odd, melodic, transient piece.

“Three Waves (XII, XIII, IX)” is a short circling guitar piece that leads to the closing widescreen horizon of Jesu-esque “…And Now, We Ascend.” Caroline channels this final track away from, then back into, song structure coating it all in a living glaze of feedback. Like a nine minute burst of slow-motion fireworks.

Download here.

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