Monday, July 27, 2015


Site's is at:

~ Ryan

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Label Interview: Amnesia Program

[HESalvo: First, the usual; when did this label start and why did you start the label? ]

Initial planning for the label began in November/December 2011, with the inaugural batch of releases appearing in August 2012. I started activities with the label out of a simple desire to curate what I felt would be a unique and interesting catalog consisting of overall quality releases. From the beginning, there was an awareness of how a label's output has the potential to shape and influence the perspective of art in which it operates. I wanted to focus on using Amnesia Program's releases to contribute to the landscape of Noise in a way that would hopefully further the evolution of the art rather than causing stagnation and repetition to thrive, while maintaining a respect for the foundation and principles of the overall tradition associated with the movement itself.

[HESalvo: Is there a specific creative influence behind the label itself, is there a similar vein that you are hoping to, I don't know, mine? I suppose is there a thread from one release to another, is there a uniformity within the label? ]

There isn't necessarily a singular influence to pinpoint, although there is certainly an intentional aspect of uniformity and concept that exists within the label. In some ways it's direct, but in other ways it can be more intangible. For instance, when referring to the appearance of the releases, the similarities are clear. Each release includes an 8-page booklet inside that contains all information pertaining to that release, as no text is featured on either side of the cover itself. This allows the imagery to be presented as more of an art piece rather than simply a traditional cover for a release. The booklets themselves also follow a set pattern when it comes to the format, although the artwork featured in the booklets vary and are specific to the release itself. The criteria for deciding on whether the material is fitting for the label can be more vague in nature. There isn't anything concrete that I require when choosing what to release. It just naturally makes sense to me whether it's a good fit for the label or not. It almost always comes down to the overall feeling of the material, and if it coincides with the label's aesthetic. Of course, the quality of the material is a prerequisite which is essential to the end decision.

[HESalvo: Is Amnesia Program your own label or are there multiple people involved? ]

I operate all aspects of the label, such as the curation of artists, duplicating, printing, and assembling the releases, while a friend of mine handles all of the artwork and design exclusively himself.

[HESalvo: "Amnesia Program"; What's the name mean? ]

The name is based on the concept that the label's output represent a body of work that has it's own identity. I like the idea of how amnesia somewhat represents the ideas of disconnection and being isolated within oneself. Existing independently of outside reference points or preconceived notions with only internal factors being the basis for decisions. In a sense, that mindset is the foundation of everything the label is based upon.

[HESalvo: The art on the releases is fucking outstanding. Is this all of your own work or does this come from the artists? If the former, what influences these images and collages you create? ]

As I briefly mentioned, all of the artwork and design for the releases are done by a friend of mind named Andy Krupinski. I've admired his art for a while, and he clearly understands what I had envisioned the visual aspect of the label to look like. I also really like the idea of having the same person handle all of the layouts, in order to help achieve a sense of continuity when it comes to the appearance of the releases. His art style is an integral part of what Amnesia Program represents, and often deals with themes such as damage, hopelessness, and detachment; all of which are among some of the elements present in the label's total aesthetic. 

[HESalvo: Has there been any one label, person, artist, whatever that has influenced you more than another, if so how? How does it effect your work? ]

I have been influenced in many different ways by several different artists and labels over the years, of which there are way too many to mention. I feel like various facets of these influences have played a part in shaping my overall identity as an artist/curator, which have culminated in the approach I choose to take. However, my work as a Noise artist and label operator has particularly been influenced by the Mid-west Noise scene. I've always felt a strong relation with a lot of the artists and recordings associated with that area. The textures/sounds, approach, and attitude that a lot of those acts present are the ones that I tend to prefer and gravitate towards the most.

[HESalvo: How do you find the artists you release, or do they find you? ]

I typically choose to work with individuals or artists that I am in contact with or whose work I am already familiar with and have an interest in. Although there have been a couple of instances in which I've reached out to an artist I haven't met before simply because I feel strongly about their material. I prefer to have some sort of connection to the projects and releases themselves, instead of seeking them out in an arbitrary manner. This adds to the feeling of the release having a personal significance, which I believe is an important part of the label's approach to things. I never release anything because I think someone else will enjoy it or in hopes that it will sell several copies. I instead base my decisions on what to release solely on the relationship that I feel to the material, and whether or not it fits into the label's vision.

[HESalvo: Are any of the projects on Amnesia Program your own? If so which project(s)? ]

I've issued recordings from some collaborations that I've been a part of via the label, but never any releases from what is my main project (Hostage Pageant). One of the releases is the split tape between Harness and Glass Half. Harness is the ongoing project between myself and Luke Tandy of Being/Skeleton Dust Recordings, and Glass Half is a collaboration between Nate Tandy of Diaphragmatic/Foxhole Atheism, and myself. Electrical Cord Noose was also a collaborative project with Patrik Dougherty that I was involved in for a short period of time.

[HESalvo: I could be wrong about this but it seems like every artist that has put a release out through the label is an American act (or at least the majority of the artists). Was this a deliberate, premeditated or did it just work out that way?  ]

The label has indeed only released works by American artists thus far, but that was never an established plan. Part of the reason for this could be that I do have a tendency to want to work with people that I know on a personal basis, or have at least had some sort of interaction with. I don't allow this to be a deciding factor on whether to work with an artist or not though, and there are already plans to work with select international artists in the future.

[HESalvo: Another similarity is that most are Harsh Noise, little Industrial or "true" Power Electronics, no rock music whatsoever. Do you consider Amnesia Program a Harsh Noise label? Or would you release other material, you just haven't had a chance yet? ]

I most definitely consider Amnesia Program a Noise label, as that is the only type of output that I ever intended to release through this outlet. With that being said, I've never limited the releases to only Harsh Noise acts, but rather different variations and styles of what is universally known as Noise/Experimental. For example, the Mark Van Fleet and Crown of Cerberus cassettes are very different from the other releases in the label's catalog in that they are more ambient in style. I plan on continuing forward in exploring different facets of experimental sound with the label's future output, and not confine the works to only one genre/sub-genre.

[HESalvo: Another parallel is every release is a cassette tape. Once again, was this on purpose? What makes cassettes an attractive medium for the material you release. ]

From the start, I planned on primarily issuing the recordings exclusively on cassette format, with hopes to eventually release some material on vinyl format as well. Basically, I choose to only work with those mediums simply because those are the formats that I personally enjoy to listen to the most and how I prefer to have audio art presented. Cassettes tend to be an ideal medium to work with due to the amount of control you have over the sound of the end result when home duplicating; and as most people would agree, Noise sounds exceptionally fitting on cassette format too, maybe even more so than when on vinyl.

[HESalvo: Future plans? ]

I plan on continuing activities with the label indefinitely. At this point, there are a few different things in the works. However, the next releases to surface will be the debut LP from Harness (which will be co-released with Skeleton Dust Recordings), as well as a cassette from Kjostad.

[HESalvo: Thanks for doing this interview. If there is anything you'd like to add it's all yours... ]

Thank you for the interview and to those that continue to support the label!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Interview: Hal Hutchinson


[PURESTENCH : When did you start getting into Noise/Industrial/PE music? ]

I can't remember exactly when but I think it was (and still is) a gradual process over time, whilst looking for new music that genuinely interests, stimulates and excites me.

[PURESTENCH : Hal Hutchinson, the project itself, has been around for quite some time. our later output seems to have a different sound and aesthetic than your older material. The main culprit seems to be metal/junk and found sounds, what is it that made you make a transition to this style? What is it about metallic sounds and textures that you find most appealing? ]

Hal Hutchinson is my real name.When I first started making sounds when I was a teenager I didn't even consider releasing anything, I was just experimenting with field recordings, synths, found objects,etc.The first few D.I.Y labels I got in touch with seemed suitable to release similar kinds of 'experiments', not as what you could call 'proper' releases (CDR,very small or 'private' editions of self dubbed tapes,etc) and that suited the approach at the time.

After a couple of years I gradually started recording more scrap metal objects,and sounds I could make from items I found,so they were unique.There were of course reasons for this : Sounds I wanted to hear as opposed to what I was hearing, and those I had heard before and wanted to incorporate,so trying to balance the lines of influence and imagination, so to speak.Also, to present some kind of progression within the work itself to provide a groundwork for future works.

What I find most appealing about metallic sounds and textures is the variety of sounds you can procure from them.You can convey a large palette of sounds with metal that range from sheer aggression to the more calculated and clinical and everything in between.It is also unpredictable in it's own way as a material.Depending on what you're doing with it and the nature of the particular pieces you're working with, it can be dangerous,it can be physically heavy,it can injure you, it can make you have to work very hard to achieve what you want from it,but the end result is very satisfying if you reach you're desired outcome, which sadly I never have.I think that it was and is the danger aspect of metal that attracts me to it most,and the risk of failure in what i'm trying to achieve.

[PURESTENCH : You termed your approach to some of your later releases as "Factory of Metal Sound", which was also the name of one of your releases, what does that mean? Do you have a special technique or method when it comes to the creation of your material? ]

'Factory Of Metal Sound', which was released by Banned Production was the first attempt I made at trying to re-add a form of structure to recording scrap metal sound,and to try and achieve the sound I wanted to with regard to presenting the element of progression to what had been done before by people like TNB, K2, Macronympha or Grunt, for example.

There has always been a very 'free form' approach to recording scrap metal sound and I wanted to add something new.I had heard other people working with scrap metal sound and there were sounds they were not getting that I wanted to hear.Other releases that used this approach were 'Corrupted Scrap' which was released by Freak Animal Records and 'Wreckage & Reconstruction' which was released by Unrest Productions.'Factory Of Metal Sound' is the name of the technique I developed to try and achieve this.

Sadly, it didn't come off and those recordings failed in their objective.I came close to getting what I wanted, but didn't. Since then however, I came very near to getting the sound I desired on some recordings I made entitled 'Wreckage Installations & Metalworks', of which there are seven parts.At the time of this writing they are unreleased but they should be available in the somewhat near future.

As for technique in general I try and do my best to achieve the sound I want to by working towards it in a sort of 'trial and error' process.In some respect, chance will work for you, but it does not always.If I have a particular idea for something in my head I usually know more often than not what I need to get it, but actually executing and getting what you want in terms of the actual process usually ends up a little differently to how you imagined it in the first place.

[PURESTENCH : How would you describe what you do to someone who doesn't listen to Noise/Industrial or have the slightest clue about these things? ]

I generally try to avoid that situation, but sometimes it's inevitable that someone who might not be aware of your particular interest wants to know more about it,they are curious, which is just human nature.I usually try and describe it as 'Soundtrack' type material, to cover all bases and to stop them asking more, but more often than not the person does want to know more and i'm often pleasantly surprised when they are actually more knowledgeable than you think.However, you do get plenty of ignorance, and this is what I assume at first. I usually find those kind of conversations very boring actually, so as I said I try to avoid the subject with some people all together if I can.At the same time I don't try to hide my interests from others.

[PURESTENCH : Junk metal abuse and acoustics seems to be a small "niche" which wouldn't come across as having a lot of potential for expansion and experimentation, yet each of your releases is different from the other and these changes and nuances are palpable when listening. Why is this?]

What one may call 'industrial' music has been using elements such as scrap metal since the start (and metal has found it's way into music in many other ways before that) but in my opinion, a great deal of what came in the years immediately afterwards was people trying to emulate and expand on what they had heard before which was someone trying to place (in this case metal), within a musical context, and trying to contribute that to part of a composition or audial narrative.Either that or they were simply doing what I sometimes do and were using all they could get their hands on at the time.

The sounds of machinery & mechanics are things we encounter everyday.They bury themselves in the unconscious.When these sounds are remembered,unlocked and articulated they manifest themselves in different ways,depending on what the recordist is attempting to achieve.

Other recordists that appeared later wanted to break down these structural barriers and present (metal) in a somewhat more 'free form' or what one might call an ordered chaotic state, and what I have tried to do is bring both approaches together in some way,to have the structure incorporated (for example in the form of crushing mechanized sounding loops) with more 'illustrational' parts additional to that.This is just one way I have approached the problem of trying to present something new.As for each release being different from one another, that depends on the sound I am looking to achieve at any one given time,and at the same time trying to progress in some way from previous efforts.

[PURESTENCH : Do you play live shows? If so how many have you done and is there a difference in how you play live as opposed to recording? ]

It's very rare that I play live.I have not done many shows.Yes, there is a difference.In the studio you have the benefit of being able to re-wind,edit and erase,etc but when playing live different things count so I try and make live shows more primitive with regard to equipment.However, as I get more confident I want to work more elements into the live approach.

[PURESTENCH : You have put out material on several different formats such as CD/CDr and tape. What do you feel is the best medium/format for your music? ]

In an ideal world I would prefer vinyl & pro format CD, but all formats serve their purposes.Many frown upon CDR for example...It depends, if something is well presented and the material is good, I do not see a problem.As I said though, I have my personal preferences.

[PURESTENCH : If I am not mistaken you run the label Der Bunker. What made you start your own label? What are some of the things which you enjoy or do not enjoy about having your own label and releasing you own material as opposed to making it for another label?]

I decided to end Der Bunker in 2011.I may revive it for specific project plans, but only if it is deemed fit for purpose.I have issued a couple of tapes under the release platform / moniker of 'Savage Discharge', and worked on a recording project of the same name.It remains to be decided if I will continue with that.There are of course good and bad points to releasing things yourself, obviously the issue of time and money is first and foremost but the benefit of releasing things yourself is that you have 100% creative control over anything you do.Also, if you know someone who acts as   a reliable distributor you can approach them to help you achieve your goals.Doing things myself this way has taught me many valuable lessons in how to , and how not to do things with regards to business affairs, but sometimes it's good to learn the hard way.Once bitten,twice shy.Sometimes releasing things yourself can be very satisfying if your find success, but it can be a very disheartening process if you don't get what you want.However, success should only be defined by ones own terms.

Promoting things yourself in this way is fine, but with the sheer amount of people out there just releasing anything and everything you have to work very hard to push through and get to where you want to be.There is so much dirge out there.The material you release has to be as good as you can make it.You must do your best to kill the competition.Music is war.

[PURESTENCH : Is there a need for a consumer or audience in order for you to feel "complete" about your work, or do you think you would still do this even if no one would ever hear it or record it? ]

I do what I do first and foremost for me,and for my own satisfaction.Presenting what i've done to a 'consumer' or any audience is neither an essential or necessary part of the process at all.Anything i've done has already served it's own purposes, even if it remains unreleased.I certainly don't release everything I do.This would put me in danger of releasing things for the sake of it and those works becoming a commodity.I would feel the same about what i've done if only I ever heard it and I don't do what I do with other people in mind.There is something very satisfying about keeping recorded material clandestine from others, even if it is kept out of nothing but genuine spite towards the so called 'underground' music scene and the torpid cunts that haunt it.

[PURESTENCH : What are your personal favorite releases that you have put out and why? ]

The upcoming collaboration with Shift , entitled "Full Weight Of The Opposition" is something I am particularly proud of.The collaboration work with Mania came out very well.There are a few I like very much.

[PURESTENCH : Are there any consistent themes which run through your work? What type of ideas, emotions or subjects do you want to convey to the listener through your "music", if any?]

I try and present to the listener things that involve me and excite me, but mixed together with an element of obscurity that blurs any easy answers.

[PURESTENCH : What are the plans this year (2013) for Hal Hutchinson? ]

There are two live shows planned: One in Prague with Shift, S.T.A.B Electronics and Iron Fist Of The Sun,and one in London with Consumer Electronics.The Prague show will also be the launch show of the Shift / Hal Hutchinson collaboration 10'' entitled 'Full Weight Of The Opposition'.There are other new releases planned along with a re-issue of some collaborative material on CD.I have also been thinking about doing some private edition releases along with working on other projects but details remain to be decided.Stay tuned.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Label Interview: Diazepam

[ PURESTENCH : What does Noise, Industrial Ambient, etc. mean to you? How long have you been interested in these types of sounds and what drew you to them? ]

In mid ‘90s ( when I was 16/17 years old) I was into metal, mostly black/doom/death stuff. I was into tape trading, and received some CMI stuff that really hit me. I started to investigate further in that direction and discovered bands like DIJ, Non, Coil, C93 etc.. Then I read an Atrax Morgue interview in an art mag, wrote him few lines, he sent me his catalogue and a whole world appeared. It was in 1998. This kind of “music” meant a lot to me in a time I was searching for more radical sounds and content, and Industrial had both. It has everything I was, and still am, fascinated with. 

[ PURESTENCH : When did you decide you wanted to start a Noise label? Diazepam is fairly new, with the releases starting just last year (2011). Was there a moment when you decided you wanted to create something or have you been making material all along but never released it? ]

I made the first attempts in industrial/noise back in 2001/2002. It was very poor stuff  and nothing was ever released. Diazepam should have been the name of that project. At that time I was also involved in the hardcore punk scene and spent in it most of the time. Couple of years later I started Ur with 2 friends, and that became my first important industrial project.  We are still active, but slowed down a bit for various reasons, so I decided to start my own project Shiver in 2010, followed shortly after by Deprivation and Wailing of the Winds.
I have started a label with the intent  to promote my own music. I got in contact with interesting people/projects, so I decided to release their stuff as well.

[ PURESTENCH : What are some of the main aspirations and goals for the label? Where do you seen Diazepam in, let's say, 2 years? ]

I keep a “low-profile”. To release my own stuff is the main goal of the label: not just the “commercial” side, but to record music, think about a nice looking layout, try different kinds of paper to print artworks,  try different styles of packaging…It is all part of the “artistic” process and I really like that. If in the meantime I’ll get in touch with other interesting people/projects, as happened before, I’ll be happy to release their stuff. I don’t think the situation will be different in 2 years, but, who knows…

[ PURESTENCH : Diazepam, for those who do not know, is the chemical name of Valium which can be a fairly fun, recreational benzo (downer) akin to Xanax. Why did you decide on this name? ]

I named my first project Diazepam back in 2001 when I was using it, as you said, as recreational. Used it when recording stuff. Later I used it for more conventional reasons, due to some sleep disorder. Somehow I felt “close” to that name so I decided to use it again for my label. Now I try to stay away from it. Label activities are more entertaining during sleepless nights.

[ PURESTENCH : If I am not mistaken you have at least 1 project of your own on the label, Shiver. How would you explain Shiver to an outsider? Do you have any other personal projects on the label? ]

Shiver was my first serious solo project, created to perform what I like/feel the most: dark, oppressive music that can go from violent bursts to hypnotic  soundscapes.

Other projects are:
 Deprivation, born from my passion for the old school Italian industrial scene : M.B., Mauthausen Orchestra, Laxative Souls, Atrax Morgue, N., Murder Corporation…
Wailing of the Winds: acoustic, ritualistic music
Recently I teamed up with a friend in Fungi from Yuggoth, doing some sort of  psychedelic noise.

[ PURESTENCH : You have released Shiver material on labels outside of your own, such as Datahex Records. How was the experience as opposed to putting your own stuff out? ]

I released Shiver material on 3 different labels and everything was great: the guys from Prairie Fire did a great job with the cover /layout and I’m very grateful to them. Shiver was a new project and they took the risk to release something from a band that nobody knew. Tony from Datahex was very helpful to spread my first tape on the web, and his project A Night to Dismember is brilliant. Andy is a long time friend of mine in the industrial scene, and I really admire his project Regosphere : sharing a tape with him on his label was a pleasure.

There is also a “ghost” release (that anyway ended in the net release on Datahex) : a 3” cd-r on Pigdurt Productions that I have never seen. The guy from the label has disappeared because of some personal problems, people say. If someone have a copy to sell, please get in touch.

[ PURESTENCH : When listening to other artists material that you are considering for release what are some of the things you look for? How important is the content? Is there any content that is too "taboo", any subject matter you just won't release? ]

I like to release someone else’s music when it is something that I’d like to have recorded myself, or if it is something that I’d listen to repeatedly. It must moves something “inside”. Content is also important, of course. When music, artwork and content complete and reflect themselves and create a whole artistic object, that is perfect. 
Industrial and  taboo are two words that don’t match, in my opinion.

[ PURESTENCH : What is your favorite format for releasing material or does it not matter much? Unlike a lot of the labels I have interviewed you have released tapes as well as CDr's. Was this your choice or did the artist insist? ]

I like tapes a lot, both for the sound and the object itself. I like 3” cds as well, somehow they are similar to tapes if you use those mini dvd cases. I suggested it for the Autocancrena release and he agreed. For the upcoming A Night to Dismember it was him instead to insist on the cd-r format. Basically, I prefer tapes but I’m open to all artist request: the main goal is that both of us will be happy with the final result.

[ PURESTENCH : Who are some of your biggest influences? Not just musically, but within both your personal and musical/artistic life? ]

Biggest influences are those bands I discovered first and blew me away: TG, Spk, Mauthausen Orchestra, Current 93… They were a “shock” for me both musically and visually. They gave me “hints” to investigate in many directions: movies/documentaries, books, visual artists (paintings, photography…). I don’t consider them just musical influences. 

[ PURESTENCH : If you could hang out with 3 people, any 3, whether they are dead or alive, who would they be and why? ]

My girlfriend and my 2 cats because they are the best company I had in years.
[ PURESTENCH : What does the near future hold in store for those of us paying attention to the label? ]

I should release, sooner or later, some stuff from Uncodified , オキシコドン (Oxycodone) and Hheva. I’d like to release also something from Compounded because they are a great underrated act. Plus something from my projects, of course.

[ PURESTENCH : Thank you for taking the time out to do this interview. Anything else you would like to say... ]

Thank you very much for the interview. Cheers

Friday, December 7, 2012

Review: Split - Pogrom & Body Cargo

Split - Pogrom & Body Cargo 

The sonic roots of both artists have always had a very obvious European style. Sharing an atmosphere and the self-sufficient creative spirit of everyone from M.O. to Grunt, spotlighting the great parts of both stylings. On this split CD you get 10 tracks, 4 from each artist respectively, and then 2 where they alternate sounds and vocals, e.g. Pogrom doing vocals over a Body Cargo track and vica-versa (both titled "Resistance"). The sounds have a palpable duality, something like up and down or "active/passive", but it is not overdrawn. Actually, the production from both artists is almost identical. I would assume this to be the case if they shared equipment and recorded with similar productions standards/settings. The idea behind this CD and the content is also shared by both units, yet the ideas and cultures being addressed are both continents away, figuratively and literally. Body Cargo is giving an insightful look from an outside perspective into the cannibalism in Papa New Guinea, and the tribes who maintain these traditions by resiting outsiders from effecting their culture. Then you have Pogrom who speaks proudly of his home turf, Lithuania, and the resistance of the guerrilla warriors of the country. The idea carries over perfectly from Pogrom's last release, "Multicultural Degeneration", where he gave a similar intelligent backed voice against the removal of a people from their roots. Ideas both easily reflective to anyone.

Opening tracks belong to Body Cargo. The style here has been establish on prior releases which have emerged from Body Cargo's slowly growing catalog. The material has matured with the artist, as any good material should. It also seems as though he has taken on less outside influence, removing pieces instead of adding, so now his style has fermented into a purely refined breed of "post-mortem Industrial" and Power Electronics that can only be fashioned by this artist himself. With Body Cargo the low frequencies tend to hold reign. Movements of sound mutating at a deliberate pace is the glue that bonds these sounds together on each track without falling into the pitfall of "repetition without progression". Tracks like "Gutpath" and "Resistance (Survival Methd)" are BC at his true auditory apex. By the time Pogrom comes around you are heavily weighed down by the previous experience pushed upon you by Body Cargo's relentlessness.

Pogrom seems, at times, ultra-aggressive due to the way this split worked out. I find this to probably be completely subjective and I think if Pogrom went first it wouldn't have had the same effect which actually made it work out well for both artists. In any case, Pogrom now takes up the duties and gets to it without time wasted. Pogrom takes an approach somewhat akin to what is happening in Finland, and by a small group of active American artists, but with Pogrom's own brand of complete authenticity and native concoctions. If I were to make any comparisons to give a potential buyer an idea as to the sound of Pogrom, I would say it is something like the rough cuts and junk of Mania meets the pounding compositions of artist like Concrete Mascara with a Grunt vibe, yet composed in a totally original manner. To put it clearly you just simply get a good range when it comes to any Pogrom release and this is no exception. Pogrom saves the best for last, something to remember him by, with the closing piece "Girioj Gules", which is rather fucking amazing to my ears. It's a unique thread of sounds starting out with a long chant which I assume is in Lithuanian. This goes on for some time before slowly mixing with, from what I can discern, a blurry distorted scrap metal loop, although I don't know if using the word "loop" fits here, I believe it to be more like a stream of the same source played for a decent length of time as if it were a live setting. And then, as promised in the label description, a piano pops up and plays a disjointed melody atop this beast. Truly an amazing piece of Power Electronics.

The first time I spun this I thought it existed in 2 separate, but equal, spheres of appreciation. On one hand an almost passive listening experience, to an active one (as I mentioned earlier in this review). But the more I sat down with this CD, which I have now listened to it in depth quite a number of times, I realized my prior assumptions were not wholly accurate. The appeal here can be measured within both modes which is ideal. It's low and textural where it needs to be and is also hyperactive at times (a few times both exist within the same space and time frame). Drawing a bottom line: this is a truly great CD that I recommend to anyone just looking for a great Industrial/PE CD.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Black Church - "Heaven's Temple Fails To Rise"

Black Church - "Heaven's Temple Fails To Rise" (Bleak Environment, 2012)

"Heaven's Temple..." is one of the harder albums to give a definite genre to in my collection. Understandably some folks may not be able to hear something in this that others have, some may not have the same listening history. You could easily see one group saying Post-Punk and another whispering of that buzzword "Raw Black Metal". The latter is more difficult for me, personally, to hear. My point being is that Black Church covers a lot of ground, there is a blend of styles going on in here yet somehow this comes off as unpretentious. I don't feel like this material is searching for a home or a crowd but rather it just exists as a document of sounds. The varying nature of this release keeps it interesting through-out and escapes the meandering wankery that many bands who mix styles exhibit. It's fresh and doesn't come off as "trying too hard". It may be difficult for people to get excited about hearing this type of music which is implied by sheer design. So to their credit (or quite realistically "his credit", as this may be solo) making anything with such a "downer vibe" and making it fresh and as pleasant as they do is not an easy task.

Repetitious rhythm, and some very dirty droning synth (or Guitar?) work seems to flow perfectly together. The vocal work has a very depressing quality to it something comparable, in atmosphere, to Ian Curtis. What I mean by that is the vocals here aren't a rip off attempt, it is in the atmosphere created by a vocal style devoid of any excitement that you can hear the likeness. The melody and rhythms keep in line with the gloomy despair. Nothing overly bombastic or complex but that's OK as it doesn't seem like Black Church has any desire to implant their tunes into your minds with catchy melodies.


Bleak Environment has yet to fail, the man behind these sounds has yet to release anything sub-par (same can be said about his own label, Fallow Field). With that the character and craftsmanship found on this tape should be no surprise, and it isn't, yet with every listen something fresh seems to find its way through, which is quite surprising.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Sexfactor (Bagman & Dark Session Collab.) - Sexfactor

Sexfactor (Bagman + Dark Session) - Sexfactor

The sleaze is ripe on this one. Both units who contributed to this tape, Bagman and Dark Session respectively, are a bit different on their own. I have never been a big fan of Bagman, and I have only heard small pieces of Dark Sessions, although from I heard I definitely noticed potential. Together these guys dismantle their own styles completely and seemingly unite as one sleazy, foul plague. And it flat-out fucking works. The ideas these 2 artists work with, the material they want out of their head and on to tape, the subject matter and content, isn't ambiguous, in fact it is very explicit and clear cut. The Noise and, specifically, the Power Electronics scene has tread these waters before, no doubt, but there is something special about this pairing that makes this tape stick out from all the other artists and units that do, or attempt to do, the same style.

A good amount of this tape is set upon a porno backdrop, in the style of Clinic of Torture and the Bizarre Uproar - "Lily The Flesh" cassette. Moaning, screaming, spanking, pornstars, victims. This is an approach to Power Electronics that I never get tired of, and there is seemingly little artists that attempt it and only a smaller amount of those who do that can generate the same atmosphere and feel an unnatrual, taboo sensuality. And this is only half of what makes up the tape. Atop these moans and dialects a wave of sound is reacting to it. Feedback overlapping thinly textured electronic static which, at times, evokes feelings of Sutcliffe Jugend. When vocals are brought into the picture (from which artist, I do not know) such as on the final piece, "III: Power Violence (Abused)", there is more overwhelming feelings of nostalgia. A heavy accent reciting amusement at the prior abuse heard of the earlier tracks. Sexfactor never skips a beat, and like a virus it grows on you.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Omistettu Suomen Kuninkaille

Omistettu Suomen Kuninkaille
reviews Oct/2012

I've put together a new outline for reviews, in which I post shorter reviews than what I would normally do, and group them together into one large collection, posted bi-weekly. But each of these reviews will still be decent sized write-ups, just not the large 3 paragraph reviews I normally post here. 

This months reviews are dedicated to some recent tapes, records and CD's from one of the strongest countries within the Power Electronics/Noise and Industrial genres. Of course I am speaking of Finland; a country who is at the top of their game within the "scene".  This is Part 1 of 3 and features 2 albums I have been listening to most often lately.

First up is a newer act, Unclean, that actually retains the oldest sounds that is most faithful to the late 80's crumbling Power Electronics scenes, which is more than fine by me. Albums like "Fetor" by the great PURE and the oldest works of Kleistwahr without the "paint by numbers" approach that so many of these "throwback" units/artists play by. This is just simplistic, minimal post-mortem at its most direct, the feeling of something in its infancy before the naive masses began to amuse themselves by piling on as many sounds, rumbles and flanged-to-fuck vocals as they could. And it failed, miserably, it was Noise but in a different sense of the word, like "agitation". Unclean does no such thing. This is traditional, this is monotonous in the best sense of the word. These 5 tracks with titles ranging from "Homophobia" and "Salo" will give you an idea of the type of scum you are dealing with. Each track washes over with constant, usually mid-range, currents of polluted tones. Feedback bursts and shortwave experimentalism that is sometimes reminiscent of "Dedicated To Peter Kurten". I feel like any track from this tape could have fit perfectly on "Axis Sally" or "Trial by Ordeal". If you are into that sound than get this tape.

My stomach churning from the what I had just heard, and my head in need of some pounding drums and riffs I decide to try Chains of Death Command, who just released a new beast 7'' with 4 short tracks of mid-paced Garage Punk shit. Have you ever watched one of those documentaries on Skinheads where they have little cut scenes of some party in the woods with like 12 drunk guys in a push pit listening to some semi-melodic RAC? Well that type of band, slow them down a tad and run it through a Filth & Violence blender and you get Chains of Death Command. This 7inch features 2 older tracks and 2 new tracks. Side A is the old stuff, which is boisterous and infectious in a strange dirty sort of way. Then Side B offers up 2 new tracks. One of which is titled "World Wound" and is my favorite. Some mid-paced snarling punk mashes on for a good minute and then a melody break through and some smashing "White Rider" worship spills out. It's wistful, nostalgic RAC meets Noise Punk sound changes the entire climate of this record, yet retains its disjointed and near-sighted anthems. And yes, these are Noise Rock anthems. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Label Interview: Bleak Environment.


[PURESTENCH: Introduce Bleak Environment. You started the label this past year (2011), correct? What was it that made you want to start up your own record label? ]

I honestly can't say when it started. I think the first tape marked BE was in 2010. The label just sort of came to be, really. I grew up in the mountains. I moved to the city. Bleak Environment was started to document the output of a small circle of  people currently residing in Denver.. It has grown to include artists outside of that. It is more or less just to document my surroundings. 

[PURESTENCH: What do you look for in the material you release? Is there a specific sound or formula that you want the artists to adhere to or do they pretty much have completely free reign with their own material? ]

It depends, really. When dealing with projects like Xothist, Vocivus, or Tollund Men, the people involved are my closest friends. They were doing noise bands in the town an hour north of me since before I was in high school. We all grew up in these nothing towns, being total weirdos. Eventually ending up in Denver and maintaining this outsider disposition. I think the whole 'outsider' thing is mainly what I look for. I feel that Nuit Noire is a pretty perfect example. Tenebras has done such beautiful things with that band, it fits so roughly into black metal, but it is everything I love about black metal, everything is so genuine and sincere, every time I listen to it, it feels really important. That's what I look for; this relation.

[PURESTENCH: What have you been listening to lately outside of the material on your label? How about reading? ]

Tenhi, Ride for Revenge, Crazy Spirit is a really good band. I've been re-reading Cat Eyed Boy and this book Other Tongues - Other Flesh about our brothers from the skies, has some really out there swastika history, and is far less obnoxious than any episode of Ancient Aliens.

[PURESTENCH: Are you a member of any of the bands on your label?]

I am.

[PURESTENCH: You have put out a couple of Metal releases (Xothist and Vocivus). What is it that attracts you to Metal music? The Metal that you put out is pretty lo-fi and raw. Does the recording quality effect the overall music itself and if so what do you think it brings out in the sound of Metal? ]

Black Metal is the truest expression of misanthropy. When it is removed from the initial feeling of hate, it no longer has a need to exist. I have little interest in bands spending countless hours in a studio trying to purvey hate through some clean, produced rock and roll song. After a point it gets lost . stops making sense. Xothist, as a solo project, the approach is very different from a "live band" and where it was definitely very fleshed out, and a lot of time went into it's production, it  was written and recorded in a matter of days, not leaving the basement. No outside influence. No distance from the initial emotion.

[PURESTENCH: Your artwork is fairly uniform, although the tapes don't have the same themes they all have a distinct look that you can look at and say "oh this is Bleak Environment". Does the label or the artist create the art for the releases? Is the artwork as important to the release as the sounds are? ]

It depends. Neal (from TM) and I have these bouts where we'll sit in a Kinko's til 3 in the morning. Just feeding money into the machines. Eventually we just stop.  A lot of the art comes from that. Some bands will do their own. Though I do say "no" often. I'm greatly concerned with the object; it's presentation, it's reception.

[PURESTENCH: What are the inspirations behind the general aesthetic of the label? ]

Negativity, Hate. Darkness, whatever.

[PURESTENCH: What are some of your favorite labels operating right now? ]

Anima Arctica - Finnish folk label I greatly admire and respect. Some of the most haunting and beautiful recordings I've ever come across. Though spanning several different genres, the catalog serves as this beautiful document of the people and the environment it was created in. Rather than rehashing these established sounds of Folk or Neo-Folk, they are truly contemporary. Pure Finnish art.

Satan's Din - Beautifully curated US noise label. Jason does a great job with all of his releases.

 Nostilevo - New Detroit label from the ashes of Nursed Etiquette, Liable for Abuse is especially notable.

Kuunpalvelus - Another Finnish label. The absolute best of our time.

[PURESTENCH: Is BE a "solo project" or is there a few people helping with the label? ]

I find myself out of town for work a lot, while it is mainly my endeavor, my girlfriend will pack and ship orders, drive me to Kinko's, hold my fucking hand.

[PURESTENCH: "Limited editions" are a fairly common practice in the underground. BE is no exception. Why is this? Do you ever intend to increase the number of releases which you put out or do you prefer how it is now?]

There exists as many as we feel need to exist. 

[PURESTENCH: If you could hang out with 3 people of your choice, anyone dead or alive, 24 hours each, who would you choose and why? ]

My grandfather, my friend, my dog.

[PURESTENCH: What does Bleak Environment have planned for the year 2012? ]

Nuit Noire, Black Church, Tollund Men 7", Garrotte I 7" more immediately, plenty to follow.

[PURESTENCH: Thanks a lot for doing this interview. Final comments? ] 

Thank you for your interest.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Label Interview: Fusty Cunt


[PURESTENCH : Fusty Cunt; why did you decide to create this label and what were your ultimate goals? Why the name, where did it come from?]
I created the label when I was 13 or 14 as a means to self-release a bunch of the stuff I was doing then. It mostly consisted of grindcore and noisecore stuff. Unfortunately almost everything is long lost because I didn't really care about anything then and I don't have any of the original tapes; however, I do have a few of the digital masters from one old goregrind band I did. Maybe they will see the light of day, maybe not. As time progressed, I started becoming more serious with harsh noise material and decided to give the label another chance, this time with proper catalogue numbers and actual work going into releases. I also started getting in touch with more people and wanted to support them by properly releasing their material as well. The name simply came from my childhood love of goregrind and toiletgrind band names. To be honest, I really HATE the label name, but I keep it for that reason. To me the name represents a certain kind of noise to me. It's an annoying noise that you just can't block out and are forced to live with it In misery.
[PURESTENCH : What are the qualities you look for in an artist that you are putting out on the label? Is the content as important as the sounds?]
First and foremost, I try to determine if they are actually dedicated. If I can tell someone is sending me a load of shit right away, I immediately write it off. Next, is the content. I highly believe noise is (or at least should be) based around concepts.
Noise, to me, revolves around specific concepts and how an artist can go about producing a sound that reflects said concept. For instance, when I did the release "Free Health Care" from my own moniker PTM, all the sounds were produced using old and new medical equipment cut up and manipulated at high speeds. It was then packaged in a surgical glove. I would say that It does not ALWAYS have to be this way, but when artist get creative with their ideas, it makes it much easier for me to make a decision on whether or not to release it. Sound, then, of course, would be the final step. If it simply sounds like garbage or rehashed examples of others work, why even bother. On the other hand, sometimes something unsustainable is just what I'm looking for. True noise if you will. Bottom line is, content/concept is just as important (and often more important) than the sounds themselves.
[PURESTENCH : Unlike most of the other labels I have interviewed you release both Cassettes and CD(r)'s. Does the label or the artist choose which will be used? Do you prefer one over the other, if so why?]
The artist does not really have a say. I'll tell them beforehand that I mostly release cassette, and pretty much everyone has 
accepted that. That being said, I rarely use CDr. It's a medium that I don't particularly like to work with artistically because of it's shape (especially 5" CDrs). When I use it, it's mostly to add a special something to a boxeset (i.e., the …Massacre box and Streetmeat box with extra b-card CDrs). It's a part of the whole, but it acts as an outcast. The sound of cassette is also just more inviting to me. The act of having to flip the cassette from side A-B really forces the listener to be an active one, rather than passively throw on a CD and cook breakfast without even paying close attention. I will be getting into the vinyl game more actively as a follow up to the Pharmakon/Deterge split 7". In the works are a Urine Cop 7" and a Skin Graft/Deterge 12".

[PURESTENCH : Is Fusty Cunt your label alone or is there other people involved, either with equal creative input or just to assist you?]
In the past, I've worked with Sam from Phage, Adam from Winters In Osaka, and others to co-release certain releases. I do like working this way at times due to financial constrains, but mostly I choose to work with my friends and dedicated colleagues (of whom ultimately become my friends) to get different perspectives on art, sound, etc. As for Fusty Cunt as an everyday operation, it's 100% me. It dies when I die.
[PURESTENCH : PTM and Deterge are your personal projects, correct? Are there any other projects in the FC catalog that belong to you? Is it easier to release your own material or do you find that working with other labels is easier? Is one approach more fruitful than another? ]
Correct those are my two main projects, and PTM is slowly becoming more and more scarce. I have had PTM as a project since I was 13 years old, so it will never fully die, however. They are both completely different in concept, sound, artistic merit, and emotion; which is why they are much more than one-off projects, but remain separate. There are plenty of things on the label that are either myself or a collaboration with myself and someone else. I won't name exact projects because I prefer to keep myself out of them. They exist for their concept, not my involvement. Although, if one actually pays attention, it's fairly obvious which ones they are. The reason these exist is for a few purposes really, (1) I like the material, but It doesn't fit with Deterge or PTM conceptually (2) it's an actual musical project/band and (3) it's a collaboration that both/all parties involved want to keep separate from solo work.

It's easier to release my own material when packaging is highly important for the release. I wouldn't expect a label to go all out on exactly how I want certain things done (i.e., PTM's "Hoarded Gifts" or two upcoming Deterge private releases). Some things are too special for me to not have complete control. On the other hand, when a label asks to do a release for me I take it as a challenge to cater the sounds and aesthetics to that specific label while keeping my own style. I never record something and just shop it around. Either I have a specific label in mind or a certain label has asked me for material.
[PURESTENCH : When you started Deterge what were your intentions and have they remained the same over the years? What has been your personal favorite release that you have done?]
When I started Deterge the concept was a simple; I wanted it to be more power electronic and composed than PTM. As I put more thought into what I was doing I wanted to keep a running concept of "intelligence" involved with each release. It could be intelligence as sexuality, hate, anger, mourning, worship, etc. I feel that it really isn't a concept many would include into their artistic imagery, but something that is highly important to myself as a person. I focus on the darker side of intellect or the more theoretical and metaphorical concepts, which is why I believe it works well in the PE scene. All the elements are present; I just decided to be a tributary to the whole body. Making something "real" is far more important to me than My personal favorites, that has already been released, are "Intellect" on Gods of Tundra and "Roscosmos" on Collapsed Hole. With "Intellect" the lyrics and sounds just mesh perfectly and really is a true introduction to the concept; plus I love the artwork that Connelly produced for it. "Roscosmos" is special in that albeit being entirely instrument, all the sound sources directly reflect the theme. James (from Ahlzagailzehguh/Collapsed Hole) is a person I really trusted to present the material in a really calculated way and he did with the metal stand. It's also an honor to be the first artist outside of the east coast to have a tape on Collapsed Hole!
[PURESTENCH : Do you know how many shows have you played as PTM, Deterge, or any other group? What was your first show like? Do you ever get stage fright or does the alcohol take care of that?]
I've played way too many performances as PTM to count over the past 12 years, but most were when I was young, didn't know what I was doing (which I wish I could go back to now and again because it was true noise at that point) and I would open for punk and metal bands near my hometown, often unannounced. I've decided on doing a PTM performance only once a year now because I feel each performance has to outweigh its predecessor and will act as a "state of the union" for all the misery in the past year.
Deterge has performed 20-30 times since its formation.

Stage fright has never been an issue because I've always felt each performance was a necessity rather than a recreational activity. Before each PTM performance I feel it's best to literally psych myself up immediately before I start…it's like the opposite of a meditation. The one and only performance that I was actually nervous about was the Burning Fleshtival 2011. Even though many of my friends were present, it was personally a highly important show. Once I began, I was fine however. I hardly drink in general, but never will before a performance as I feel it would completely distract me from the most important element, the pure raw emotion Involved.  If I ever experience stage fright I want to confront it with the noise, not hide it with alcohol or any other substance.
[PURESTENCH : Unlike many labels today it doesn't feel as if the material on this label is only there to be gimmicky. I usually find that you can tell a lot about a label by their Compilations. What was the thought process you went through when you put out stuff like "Anhedonia"? It is fairly unique in that each track is fairly short. What was the purpose, if there was one, of doing this? ]

Glad you asked this since, unfortunately, the concept was lost on many of the listeners. "Anhedonia" was compiled over 2 years and the lineup was hand picked by myself (with the exception of one, which was suggested by another artist involved) because they were friends or close to friends. Each artist was given specific Instructions to compose a 45 second to 70 second track with the idea of "denial of self gratification" in mind. Artists were chosen because each has a unique sound and I knew each would generate a different spin on the concept (social denial, monetary denial, sexual denial, intellectual denial, political denial, bowel denial, etc.). Many artists truly went all out on the concept especially Hands Rendered Useless and Endless Humiliation. Each artist was then asked to provide their own artwork because they would be able to perfect their idea with more insight. The track lengths were chosen as a denial of gratification to the listener. Just as you are about to fully get into a track, it's over, leaving you wanting more. It is also meant to be listened as a whole, not necessarily track-by-track. The diaper is also an attack on everyone's prized personal record/tape collection. It's hard to display without someone saying, "What's with the diaper?" The ultimate goal was reached when I could not get brown tapes as planned because they apparently don't exist. This denied me the satisfaction of having it turn out exactly the way I intended.
[PURESTENCH : What is the process of releasing material on your own label like? Is there a "template", or some regular arrangement that you go by?]
I more or less mentioned earlier. There are certain aspects that I
feel only I can produce to my liking when it comes to packaging. I just feel time and thought are needed in order to do something right. There is no real template because I wouldn't want anything to look or necessarily sound like previous work. I don't know why people are so afraid of progression and comfort. Noise should be about pushing boundaries. What I'm interested in at the moment sure as hell better not be completely present in my sound and presentation in a year or two or I'm doing something very wrong.
[PURESTENCH : Do you create the artwork and packaging ideas yourself or do the artists?]
Depends. If the artist is adamant about doing his or her own art, that's fine with me. It honestly will keep things from looking too similar. Unless I hate the art they produce, I'm down for whatever. If the artist has no preference, I do it. Artists often actually request that I do the art just to see what I can come up with.
[PURESTENCH : The label is relatively new, beginning in 3 years ago in 2009 if I am correct. Where do you see Fusty Cunt in 3 more years? How do you see the general Noise/P.E. "scene" in 3-5 years?]

It's actually not really new at all. I started it 12 years ago. I was just never active at all until recently. Plus most of the old releases are lost and never had catalogue numbers. I see Fusty Cunt producing only the finest material in 3 years. By this I mean bigger named artists, but keeping an eye on many up and comers that are doing something unique but are yet unheard. My goal is to expand my fanbase and have the fans trust my judgment so that these new artists have a safe and expansive outlet to be heard. I could care less about myself; the label exists for something bigger than me. It's support for something I believe in.
The scene will be relatively similar to what it is now, but slightly bigger. Everyone is concerned about noise becoming "big," but it will never happen to the extent of what most could imagine. I don't really see that as a bad thing if it did anyway though. Even if 100 kids join the scene, 75 will probably be gone in a year or two, and if you get only 1 good artist out of 100, that's great in my eyes. Anything that is worthless to you can easily be disregarded, there is no need to complain about it.
[PURESTENCH : Is there anything that is going to be coming out soon on the label?]

I'm keeping really busy. At the moment, the things I'm most excited about are:
Urine Cop 7"
Skin Graft/Deterge split 12"
Ascites - Leak Test C20
Two private Deterge releases
A potential collab 12" from two of my major influences sonically (will remain secret until confirmed)
[PURESTENCH : What does Power Electronics/Industrial/Noise mean to you? What do you feel, see, hear when you create and listen to these genres?]
It means everything, quite literally. Noise goes far beyond the reaches of sound. It's really a way of thinking. It's the drive to focus and meander simultaneously. It's the drive to create. It's uncomforting. It's a necessary failure. It's greed. It's elitism. It's fucking up while remaining persistent to succeed. It's nothing, yet all encompassing. When I create and listen it's all dependent on my mood. When I perform live all faces are completely blank (I actually block out all facial features), but I realize they are present and extremely important. It's a collective masturbation for myself and those who actually pay attention and understand.
[PURESTENCH : What do you think of the current American Power Electronics and Noise scene? Who are some artists that are currently active who you are into?]
I enjoy a good amount of it. I feel that many of the Americans are more willing to try new things. The Europeans shit on us for unknown reasons. Just because their sounds are more "uncomfortable" doesn't mean they are personally out of their comfort zones. That's a problem. Of course I couldn't generalize an entire continent, I'm just going by a lot of what I've red negatively about us and what I've heard coming from there. There are great examples that prove that generalization incorrect; for instance, Content Nullity, IFotS, Vomir (his ideas and philosophy are unique only to him, not those that replicate it), Cut Hands, plus many more. Granite there is a lot of garbage In the USA, but there are a lot of incredibly innovative artists. The entire Red Light District crew is fearless in pushing boundaries, Nyodene D is perfecting a new death industrial direction, Mack (Koufar, et al.) is continuing to take chances regardless the outcome, Dominick and the entire Hospital lineup consistently pushes new concepts, the entire No Coast is dedicated to their sounds and art by producing a specific sound while remaining singularly different, and acts like Urine Cop and Endless Humiliation are understanding how to meld noise/pe and music without sounding fake.
[PURESTENCH : Thanks for doing the interview, anything else you want to add?]
Thanks Ryan for the thoughtful questions and to anyone that took the time to read this.