Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Phocomelus/Mania C30 (Collapsed Hole)

Side A goes to Phocomelus - strange pairing a name taken from several Philip K. Dick novels with such consistent harshness. Always thought of more melancholy or cinematic sounds in connection with PKD, but the phonetics of a word like Phocomelus have an abstract "Americanoise" feel IMHO. Even though for me the sounds don't immediately bring to mind much imagery, I still really like this side and might look into the project further. I wouldn't immediately think "violent" or "psychedelic," as in Skin Crime or Macronympha, as for me the sounds are more rough, raw, organic, physical, and spontaneous-sounding, without being too devoid of purpose. I do like the textured, brittle, and very much analog sounding wall of consistent but imperfect blast. Perhaps there are acoustic sounds somewhere in the mix, but if so, I can't tell. What I especially like is the linear, unrelenting, "broken" feedback sound which sits atop the mid-to-slightly-low (not HNW heavy) crunch that also has a broken texture. The track resolves dialing back to a simple synthesizer pulse, leading me to wonder if the sounds are perhaps homemade patchable devices. More than older project affiliated with the guy behind this one, Phocomelus brings to mind Treriksroset, Wince, Sewer Election, Weak Sisters. Not at all unique or groundbreaking, but a style of noise I like very much and only occasionally am disappointed by.

Side B goes to Mania. Starts with fluttering low-end blown-out textures that might be the acoustic junk sounds heard for a second or two pushed to the limit. Really "relaxed" (or tense, if this kind of thing registers differently) quiet sounds that build atmosphere really well, that are interrupted by microphone feedback, which introduces some background acoustic rattle which is fucking excellent. Not even sure what to guess the source is, and not sure what associations come to mind, but it lends a rusted texture making things a bit more sinister. When the volume starts to kick in and things start to gain momentum, mid-range almost roaring is heard bellowing out from the background of the mix. The creaking, rattling sounds of metal make way for really tasty, wet synthesizer static which grinds away at low level in '80s PE style, out from underneath which some vaguely '80s but more psychotic vocalizing (again sort of a roar but more of a bellar) echoes forth. The feedback and static textures shift and change, but don't gain much volume, as they keep background holler/bellar vocals in check, leading to a really haunting effect, which is again sort of 80s, with a more psychotic touch. Translation: some of the better PE vocals in, period, although these are hardly my favorite of any Mania release. Others have been more present in the mix in some sections, and outright violent, but the haunting feel of these is definitely not lost on me as the sounds ever-so-slightly intrude in volume. As this occurs, the static again pulls back to reveal more present acoustic junk banging, clanging, and thudding. The bassiest, blown-out impacts are fucking tasty as more rattling junk is exposed, ending with a static tone reminding me of a distant jet-engine "wind" sound. By far, not my favorite material from Mania, though that's not to take any negative connotation. I'm still a fan of the restrained, sinister approach, because the following release is generally dynamic and violent, which is a good approach to keeping listeners looking forward.

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