Various Artists - A Nice Noise Evening Vol. 1 ([&] CD-R) / Various Artists - D.R.M.K. Kronika Vol. 1 (No Label CD-R)
Got a couple of cool CD-Rs in the mail the other, er, month from Matjaz Galicic, Slovenian everyman who has a noise outlet called Gen 26 and a label called [&]. He used to run a couple of classic labels dating back to 1994, Abnormal Tapes and Fuck-U-Tapes (not to be confused, of course, with Fuck It Tapes). [&], as you can see, are responsible for "A Nice Noise Evening Vol. 1" which is recordings taken from an evening in Ljubiljana, Slovenia in 2005 featuring the aforementioned Gen 26, A.U.B. (also from Slovenia), Man Manly ("artistic nomad state") and Justice Yeldham & The Dynamic Ribbon (Australia). I don't know if Matjaz did the "D.R.M.K. Kronika Vol. 1" CD-R too, but he appears on it, along with A.U.B., Propalitet, Sist En 343, and Minimal Bastard. The D.R.M.K. is the Ljubljana-based "Collective for Development of Youth Culture" (the acronym is Slovenian you see), who put on all sorts of "youth actions" (concerts), exhibitions, art workshops, etc, featuring Slovenian and non-Slovenian acts in a "non-profit, non-commercial way and involve young people who otherwise might not have a chance to perform and take part in events such as these". Sounds like fun!
For a soirée that brought together four acts from potentially disparate locations, I would've expected "A Nice Noise Evening Vol. 1" to be a bit longer than the pithy 25 minutes it clocks in at, but hey, works for me. Each act contributes about 7 minutes of noise. Most immediately enjoyable are A.U.B. and Man Manly. The former does up a strange brew of sizzling feedback and xylophone/toy gamelan virtuosity topped off with the addition of a melting karaoke version of Wham!'s "Wake Me Up Before You Go Go". Sounds gimmicky, shouldn't work, but it does! Kinda like Japan's Thirdorgan, with more of a sense of humor. The latter, Man Manly, uses homemade instruments to bleed out a seriously head-emptying droning throb that only increases in both pureness and intensity as the track wears on. I thought my sinuses were going to erupt towards the end, so I liked it. Now the other two "sets" were nothing slouchy either - Gen 26 dredge up a nice haze of basement-birthed feedback swirl, guitar (?) crunch and spiked blasts of supercharged oscillation while Justice Yeldham & The Dynamic Ribbon Device belie their goofy name with menacing static gamma rays and spectral crystallizations steeped in abused pedals and synths. Sprechen sie sassy? It's worth mentioning this "Nice Noise Evening" comes housed in a sexy foldover sleeve made from what appears to be a thicker wallpaper-type textile, in hand-numbered editions.
The "D.R.M.K. Kronika Vol. 1" compilation, issued by D.R.M.K. themselves, brings together five acts all with ties to the collective: Gen 26, Propalitet, Sist En 343, Minimal Bastard and A.U.B., all contributing between 4 and 15 minutes of exclusive music. All five are pretty diverse (though all with noise roots...well almost all) so this compilation makes for an entertaining listen, especially since all the tracks are mixed around and no artist's tracks play consecutively. Like the Slovenian noise mixtape you always wanted! Gen 26 plays the most straight-forward, brutist noise on the whole compilation, approaching Masonna/Prurient terrortories with single-minded feedback assaults "Še En Komad Brez Naslova" and "Incubator of Death", while A.U.B. returns with his/her/it's brand of junkyard mechanical percussion, drones and feedback joined up with keyboard quirks, same as the ones I played around with on my brother's Casio circa 1990 or thereabouts. Awesome blast from the past! Of the remaining artists, Sist En 343 contributes just under 4 minutes of sound in the excellent "Merzfuk (Live In Swenak 26.10.2001)", sounding equal parts hurricanes, earthquakes, typhoons, and other world-ending visions of apocalypse, and Minimal Bastard also goes the single-track route, only with an 11-minute barrage of mutated drum machine beats and what could be a guitar begging to be put out of its misery. It has a lot more in common with some of the more severely bent black metal than it does noise, like a weird meld of the Battlecruiser label's bedroom simplicity, the production values and the distortion of early Anaal Nathrakh, and the militant head-down stomp of Bone Awl, all without a single word uttered or (possibly) a real note played. Weirdest, however, are the four tracks from Propalitet, none of which contain a bit of noise at all. It sounds like one guy belting out fairly rockist tunes on an electric guitar, devoid of any other instruments, imbued with a strange punk rock feel despite Mr. Propalitet's mid-paced, slightly-nasal, somewhat-bored sounding speak/sing voice. Somewhere in the midst of Frank Zappa, Ludo Mich, Bruce Russell, Keiji Haino and J. Mascis sits this guy. Quite a curious and cool disc, and it comes with a boss 80's DIY-style fold-out collage containing pics, info, tracklists, etc. "D.R.M.K Kronika Vol. 2" is on the way and is slated to feature a couple of the guys mentioned here in addition to people you might already know, which is to say Merzbow, Crank Sturgeon, George Cremaschi, and Molkjebka Pvlse.
If you're bored of the steady stream of Californian or Japanese noise discs you keep buying, it might be worth it to take a flyer on these, as you're sure to hit on something that tickles your fancy amongst the seven different acts featured. The D.R.M.K. disc is available throught their website while you can get "A Nice Noise Evening Vol. 1" from Matjaz Galicic right here.
Click here to listen to MP3 samples from the above albums