The Cherry Point - Black Witchery / Black Sand Desert - Choking on Grave Soil / Knurl - Scyamine (PACrec CDs)
I'm not sure if Phil Blankenship ever sleeps, in between playing and recording as the Cherry Point, maintaining the Troniks and PACrec labels, and putting out 10xLP boxsets...but he's able to do all these things rather extraordinarily. These three are the most recent offerings from his PACrec imprint, uniform in their monochromatic cardboard sleeves. How about we go in ascending chronological order, leading up to the most recent one?
As I mentioned not a few words ago, the Cherry Point is Blankenship's own solo project, and this disc is a compilation of a bunch of 3" CD-Rs he released in 2004 for Chondritic Sound, Fargone Records and Audiobot. According to Phil's website, these pieces were influenced by classic horror movies rather than classic noise albums, and I can dig that. First up is "Virgin Witch", the shortest piece at 16 minutes but easily the most abrasive. Blankenship sculpts a quivering tower of scorched-amplifier earthquake rumble, and it's one of those beasts that just keeps on eating and keeps on growing. By ten minutes in you're trapped inside a veritable blizzard of cable sparks, antenna eruptions and audio magma. And when you think about it, it's not such a bad way to go after all. Track two is "Devil's Witch", a real fluttery and blinking kind of opus. In fact it'll probably cause epileptic seizures if you listen to the full 20 minutes on your headphones, which is why I put it on the stereo and bask in its post-C.C.C.C. kind of gaping, holistic funeral bliss. Last of the sessions is "Season of the Witch". In it, jittery staticked electronics grapple with alien transmissions from Planet X, all in a bid to have their earth-cleansing vision satisfied. And something must've given, because the track slowly devolves into the kind of soundtrack you'd hear when a ceasefire is finally declared and all that remains is a vast landscape of broken-down machines and a smattering of thick n' heavy smog. Slick!
Black Sand Desert is probably best known to you and me as Greh Holger aka Hive Mind, for I believe this is his maiden voyage on a format that isn't totally misshappen and limited to 32 copies. Why the alias? Well you see Hive Mind traditionally put forth grotesque slabs of hell-sent drones, whereas Black Sand Desert is where Greh gets all the harsh noise tendencies out of his system. And no shit, this is ear-rupturing stuff of the highest order. The first of the two 14-minute-ish untitled tracks reminds me of the first time I had my nipples melted clean off by Masonna's "Frequency LSD", it's just that kinda power. Eventually it calms down (though not by much) and Holger begins sending cloud after cloud of furious locusts hellbent on all simultaneously driving themselves down your throat and through your stomach. Then his busted machinery starts emitting thick droning flatlines sent-up by ominous shots of lo-fi buzz and bubble. Just when you think you're out of the woods, the explosion the track has been teetering on occurs and splits your body open from the head on down. Number two is even more unrelenting, despite what the chopped-up static diffusions near the beginning would lead you to believe. You're shoved back down into the abyss just as quickly, with only Holger's dark, thorny bed of sonic hatred to cushion the landing. Best part on the whole jammer is about halfway through when what I think are vocals are added to the mix and shit just gets ten different kinds of chaotic. This is ass-blastingly heavy stuff, thick and buzzy and swampy and just the way I like my noise to be.
Knurl's "Scyamine" was recorded live-to-tape using the kind of demonical alchemical machinery that Alan Bloor's project has become so well known for. There are seven tracks, all titled with words you hope to never hear coming out of your doctor's mouth. In fact this disc helped remind me just how good Bloor is at doing the things he does. "Aloplasm" is chock full of mechanical rip-tides and hulking, mind-mashing amplifier blurps while "Entrosyme" and "Exteroceptor" follow in a similar tapped vein. The latter seems to ratchet up the tension as it juggernauts towards a closing, leading into the crippling stomp of "Perparaphy". "Aesthesia" marks a slight change in the album's direction, building up from silence to an enormous tower of white-noise blindness in a matter of seconds before loping back into the kind of groove laid out by the previous tracks. "Scyamine" sees Bloor pushing his electronic firestorm all the way into the red before stripping the sound down on "Panasomiasis". So this is the kind of under-current that's been worming its way inside my skull for the past 40 minutes? Cripes...I think I'm a serial killer now. The track, the album, and my hearing go out with a bang as Knurl's machines start to beg for mercy and form drawn-out robot screeches and moans and he finally puts them to sleep, at least for the time being.
The black-and-white sleeves these all come in are très apropos, because this is pretty bleak shit. But at the same time it fills me with a kind of inspired, life-affirming feeling. The kind that Albert Fish had when he heard he was going to the electric chair. Okay okay it's not that kind of feeling but what else can I say, these three albums are the kinds of treats that just warm me all up. I can't pick a favorite, they're all equally devastating, so buy one or buy all!