***NOW ON SALE***
Scar 020: Mania/Custodian Split Lp
Each artist contributes 4 new tracks! The MANIA
material is raw, ugly basement old school
industrial/noise with some choice junk metal
stylings thrown in for good measure. CUSTODIAN side
is just balls out. Harsh, loud, brutal and "hard"
noise! Double sided insert included.
(Includes immediate download of 8-track album)
Direct orders also at: novisiblescars(AT)gmail(DOT)com
"While it’s impossible to divide any musical genre along binary lines, the majority of harsh noise artists plant themselves firmly into one of two camps: those trying to push the boundaries of what harsh noise can sound like, and those who feel that harsh noise is fine the way it is. On the recent 12-inch split between Custodian and Mania, each artist crafts a solid argument for one of these two approaches.
Milwaukee’s Custodian represents the traditional side of the argument, grinding out churning layers of bass-heavy, rhythmic distortion that give way to ear-piercing swashes of feedback. It’s a simple formula, but Custodian’s Jon Engman balances these two elements perfectly on his side of the disc (entitled Traces), fixating on one for long stretches of time, but always filtering in the other at just the right moment. A subtle use of texture also presents itself throughout the four tracks as thick, wet walls of all-encompassing sound break down to reveal dry, borderline thin tones working underneath the surface.
Where Custodian looks to the past to find aesthetic inspiration, Texas-based Mania (a.k.a. Keith Brewer of Taint fame) looks in a different and entirely unknown direction. All of the elements of classic harsh noise are present on Heralds Of Agony: feedback, distortion, scrap metal abuse, screamed vocals, and weird synthesizers. How Brewer arranges and uses these elements, however, puts his side into a category all its own. The record sounds as if it’s falling apart, with bass-heavy drones capable of rattling Fort Knox colliding head-on with what sounds like an ungrounded amplifier left to its own devices. Both elements perfectly bury some truly horrifying vocals that only rarely burst through the rest of the mix.
Personal taste will almost inevitably push listeners into one mode of thought, finding new energy in old sounds or looking for the next, new fix to satiate their hunger. When considering a musical cannon, though, is it more important to create new branches or to add to the existing foliage? If nothing else, this record shows that there’s a place for both approaches. "
By Peter J. Woods September 20, 2011
Side A: Mania
"Oh, the things an emotionally disturbed mind can create through random white noise. I’ve always been a sucker for the true industrial/experimental where the buzzing of chainsaws, clanking of metal rods and chains, and the manipulation of feedback and various frequencies of sound can be crafted into a hallucinogenic state of insanity that’s as real as any sane mind would not want it to be. Much stuff found in this genre can be eardrum piercing, irritating, and uneasy to listen to, but Mania takes the shrill and the tremor inducing bass fuzz bombs, some field recordings and jumbled vocals and actually creates an experience out of it. It places it might make your ears ring, but their side of this LP is a cyborg/urban/dismal psychedelia that almost sounds as if you’re listening to the recordings of some alien race in their daily routine. It’s not really music, it’s a sci-fi audio sculpture that draws you in through curiosity, amazes you with atmosphere, amuses you and confuses the Hell out of anyone nearby catching a glimpse or two by ear of this deliberate madness. Artists like Mania take noise and power electronics to new heights of ingenuity, intensity and validity, so if you thought it was in fact ALL NOISE, I recommend Mania and Deathstench/Demonologists to rip your head off your shoulders and screw it back on correctly. The skills of mixing and layering sounds reminds me of the brilliance of Throbbing Gristle and Nurse With Wound, you still feel the manual working of tape reels,etc., but without that it would be polished “cut and paste” shit, all digital and clean, and lose texture and craft. If you want pretty, then you wouldn’t be reading this in the first place because this wouldn’t be a site/zine that’d appeal to you.
Side B: Custodian
Track one is somewhat of a high speed diesel train comings to a “screeching hault” while multiple explosions occur simultaneously in the background and you’re tied to the tracks. Not for the squeemish or sensitive, but beneath the high pitched stabs to your ears there is some incredible rhythms and textures in low-end frequency rumble. Ironically, I put this stuff on to think to, and it works really well as it’s hypnotic and has that same effect as low volume white noise for inducing sleep. All four Custodian tracks keep using the same components, but tweaking them differently so you get this “variation on a theme” effect where things appear similar on the surface but almost instantly unfold into unique experiences that are somehow connected, but not directly. The only thing that could improve upon this style and skill is to add a live bass underneath, maybe some weird jazzy horns, or something to live underneath it hidden and trying to get out that really creates something almost organic in a purely inorganic world."