Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Noise from China 2X LP (2013)

This is the sort of “horrible noise” or “skronk” Bangs praised/lambasted/extolled back in 1981/2. It’s also the coolest thing I’ve heard all year, and undoubtedly the best thing to come outta China since the Black Death (look it up, genius). It’s also a standing refutation to the idea that only us decadent, debauched Westerners are capable of making truly sick, contorted and sadistic noise. I know nothing about any of these bands and care even less, but whatever. Of course, I didn’t listen to the whole thing-who the hell could listen to two CDS’ worth of longform noise improvisation in one sitting, I ask you?-but I’ve listened to most of the tracks over a few days’ time and this is the best noise I’ve heard since Druids of Huge broke up.

As far as I can tell-not knowing Mandarin and everything-this is a comp of recent Chinese noise (go figure, right?) compiled by a dude who’s pretty prominent in the noise scene. By “Chinese” I assume we’re really referring to Beijing, Shanghai, and Canton. It’s hard to imagine the peasants of the interior grooving to artists doing their best to ape Chicago’s BloodyMinded or Prurient from NYShitty. The comp kicks off with Orgasm Denial’s “Hawk Meets Penguin”: a squalling freeform piece of disgusting, feedback-drenched squalling noise. Ronez follows up with “Cosmic Frog Bizarre Warfare” (dontcha love these names?), which is a similar bit of noise, although heavier on the high-pitched tone terrorism as opposed to feedback. Ronez even throws in a bit of Mars-esque vocal contortionism. It’s a nice touch. It was also at this point that I realized one of my room mates was knocking on the door. Turns out she’d been doing so for a few minutes, asking me to turn down the “fotens romore” (‘fucking noise’) issuing from my rat’s nest of a room.
Most of the rest of the tracks follow the same general pattern: no instrumentation, simply a savage noisebox attack on my eardrums. In my review of HURE’s EP back in January, I outlined what I think of as the basic dichotomy in noise music. The people on this comp fall well to the other side of HURE’s colossal noiserock apocalypse. I threw this on with the window open so the whole time I was guzzling beer listening to this, the sonic misery coming outta my computer blurred with the motorcyles, buses, and people shouting down on the street: I recommend you take this in similarly. Either that or pop some Xanax, do a few lines of coke, guzzle some wine, and throw it on. IT’s that sorta mindfuck of a record. For a minute there-I think a bus broke down-it was diesel engine exhaust and shouted Tuscan profanities fighting it out with piercing feedback.

I just read an interesting article on the burgeoning Sinopop scene and its deep connections to the CCP’s efforts at developing “soft power” in East Asia. After listening to a few tracks of this comp I’m very curious to know more about Chinese noise, and its position vis-à-vis the wider society. Is this a buncha Beijing Uni dropouts getting blackout drunk on rice wine in a Shanghai back alley squat? Rich scions of the Shanghai bourgeoisie, recording on high-end equipment paid for by slave labor? Who knows. Somehow this sort of sadistic noise lends itself to either possibility, heroic avant-gardism or dilettantism, well, cruelty. If there’s any Lester Bangs-type weirdoes in China, get in touch and school me on what’s good across the pond. 

Buy a copy of this monstrosity from the burgeoning Tenzenmen Records!

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