In one of our almost regular features Fighting Boredom have been catching up with the eclectic mix of releases from the cassette label Cruel Nature, there will be more to follow but for now we give you the ‘immersive sensory challenge, uncovering personal forms of madness’ of Beckton Alps2. The ‘Dual bass and drums hardcore noise-punk riff assault’ of Disciplinary. The ‘twisting and screwing funk hip-hop techno and a smorgasbord of prime cuts’ of Tibshelf and the beautiful music of Clara Engel. Read about them all below.
Beckton Alps2 – 60 (Don’t Go Crazy)
An hour long piece of music that is built on a base layer of drone, low clear waves of synth come over low and clear and feels like a sunrise. This is countered by an electronic voice about madness, the different faces of madness and where she has seen it. Religious fundamentalist madness, the story related is terrifying, what choice do children have against adult’s madness? They have none.
The base sounds alter and shift giving it an unbalanced and slightly more menacing feel, morse code catching your attention that descends into static hiss and tapping alongside the morse, frantic and lost sounding. Synths underneath now sound like someone scrambling for sanity, then it gets hazier, more disconnected but it is a very gradual change, you don’t realise it’s changed in any way until it’s too late to go back.
As you listen your brain takes in the changes and repetition, but they are never jarring. Sometimes the switches are more perceptible than others. The noise circles back to confusion and bleeps but then moves over to a quieter, calmer shimmering, that pauses briefly then rises up and over takes all, eases but shimmery again like metal on metal which always puts my teeth on edge. The morse code is now isolated and alone echoing into silence and isolation as it struggles to communicate, the pauses between each burst of morse seem to be getting longer, taking over the communication. Then the synth drone and jarring undercurrent appear skittery and brittle to break you down again.
As a piece of music about madness it works almost too well, brilliant but disturbing.
Disciplinary – Porkwind
Fistfight in the crowd, cropped hair landing on you from the stage, flailing legs and arms to the music. This sounds like what it feels to be at the front at a hardcore gig. A total release. It feels like there are at least three sets of drums and seven bassists creating this unholy mess of a sound. It’s rough, nasty and shouty. I’d call it illiterate but that’s only because I can’t hear the bloody words.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not an all out attack on the senses but it’s just dirty enough to cause mass disruption. Nine tracks of gloriousness.
Tibshelf – Supreme Flounder
Tibshelf has created an immense soundscape from samples mined from God only knows where, the first track is laid back to the state of nodding out with some relentless woman telling you she’s in love over and over as drum and bass plays faintly down the corridor.., we’ve all been there. The muffled noise turns into strange jazz hip hop beats and skittery, over sampled rapping, funky and ice cool.It quickly turns into a discordant pile of sounds, that eventually circles back to hip hop but it’s been slashed apart and scattered over the beats. The whole thing clams down with the smooth beats and guitar of The Miracle, just like sitting in the shade watching the ocean drift into the beach. This works its way into a slowed down rap over an electronic dubby groove, laid back and hazy. He brings it to a close with a strange funk driven beat and bass alongside birdsong and the feeling of the day drifting by.
An excellent construction painstakingly moulded together.
Clara Engel – Sanguinaria
This is beautiful. I can’t really call it anything else. The music is quiet, unassuming but still manages to give a sense of intense menace, the feeling you come away from the music with is not a good one. Disquiet, loss and heartache. But the music fades and loses you as soon as Clara starts singing. It’s a voice for folk songs, for terrible tales, for lost loves and storms. It drips with emotion and without any fuss or argument takes you and lifts you high up in the air with the swifts, swallows and silk riding spiders. It’s music for darkness, moonlight in the woods, lamplight on streets, broken windows and blood on bones. Just beautiful.
All words by Adrian Bloxham