The Well CDr on Breaching Static Records:
Horrible Mess is a Canadian based HNW/Harsh noise project that has been active since seemingly 2011, putting out around twenty or so releases- which take in split tapes, compilation appearances, and a few stand alone tape releases. "The Well" appears on American wall noise label Breaching Static, (run by Alex Nowacki of HNW/HN project Boar), and the release offers up a rewarding selection of moody, brutal & often quite sonically descriptive HNW, oh & it's also the first stand alone CDR release from this project.
The CDR comes in black carpe paper slip sleeve which features a stuck on picture of grim looking iron grated well. Inside along with the CDR is a single piece of white paper inlay that takes in the track listing, and blog pages for both the project & the label. This release comes in a edition of 20 copies, and was released mid February 2013.
The release conists of three tracks in all, which last between just over the ten minute mark to around the fifteen minutes mark. First up we have the wonderfully entitled "Head Against Brick", the tracks built around a taut 'n' tense mixture of billowing/juddering low-end noise, & shoveling/ scraping/ jittering mid-ranged static grained noise. The low-end stays rapid but mainly fixed through-out, while the mid-range textures are quite active & altering, and at times get quite rapid & agitated- yet they never move too far from there shoveling/ scraping/ jittering feel. The track has a nice crunching, scraping & dragging feeling to it, which does really give the feeling of one's head/face being pulled, smashed, and grinded along a brick wall. By the end of the track it almost feels like you've got concrete & brick burns.
Next up we have "Descent", and this brings together a billowing, descending & semi-tumbling weathered low- end back drone, which to start with is played over by a fixed static licked jittering tone. This track feels a little less manic & more moody than the last track, though as it progresses the back drone seems to become more weathered, murky & subterranean. Also as the track continues these rumbling & dripping dank aquatic sub-tones take hold too, and these sort of start to blur & melt the textures around it as it moves away from HNW towards ANW.
Lastly we have "The Bottom", and this is an extremely heavy & meaty track to end the release. The 'walls' built around a thick mass of bass droning 'n' billowing noise, that's weaved with a mixture of slow yet weighty tumbling/ spinning water tonality, and drilling 'n' buzzing white static fixed-ness. The track has a dense, airless feel to it, yet there is quite a nice tonally separation too, and really it does feel like your crawling through dank tunnels that lead off the bottom of the well, and all around you can hear tumbling & fall water, with seemingly the brick work it's self pressing in on you.
I must say "The Well" stands as one of my favourite HNW releases so far this year, as all three tracks here show both creative sonic flare, brutality, and a really very effective atmospheric focus. So if you dig well thought-out, intense, yet moody walled noise I strongly recommend tracking down one of this release twenty copies before they are all gone!.
- Roger Batty
Concrete and Clay on Altar of Waste:
Concrete and Clay offers up five ‘walls’ worth of moody & creative textured noise, which falls some where between HNW & ANW. As the CDR titles suggest there’s often a very earthy & layered feel to many of the tracks presented here. Often the ‘walls’ here bring to mind images of vast yet stark ‘n’ bleak building sites busy with odd sounds, strange subterranean borrowing’s ‘n’ tunnelling’s, or weird muddy twisting of massive semi aquatic beasts. Yet for all it’s earthy, wet, and organic feel, there is often an undertone of eerier alien-ness present, which takes this release beyond just purely organic focused sound texturing.
Horrible Mess is a Canadian based HNW/Harsh noise project, it's been active since 2011 & put out around twenty or so releases- these take in split tapes, compilation appearances, and a few stand alone tape releases. I was very much taken by this projects 2013 release The Well(on Breaching Static), so much so that I made it my top album for the year in 2013- so in my mind Concrete and Clay had a lot to live up to.
I’ll have to admit my initial plays through this release did leave me a little underwhelmed & disappointed, sure it was clear that Horrible Mess was once again using his ability for great descriptive, creative & atmospheric noise textures- but on an emotional/ gut level I felt it somewhat lacking compared with a release like The Well. So, like with any release that I respected, but doesn’t initially grab me, I gave it time and then distant- i.e. I played it through a few more times, then waited a few months before coming back to it.
After coming back to it again I certainly appreciated & got more of what Horrible Mess was trying to do here- you see the album is built around five untitled tracks all, it opens & closes with two shorter (just over two minute) tracks, the three tracks in-between last for the longer running length of eleven to thirteen mintues a piece. The opening track works as a more simplistic textural gateway into the rest of the tracks, while the last track sort of smothers you in this dank, earthy & murky textural psychedelics. Each of the longer central three tracks really tell their own individual subtle shifting textural story, that is often quite layered & detailed in it’s feel. The whole thing is certainly very cleverly conceived, constructed & put together, and clearly a lot of time/effort has been put into this work, but I’m still a little unsure about the whole thing, & I’ve still not completely connected & engaged to the release.
Maybe it’s a matter of more time & distant ( hell there are some albums that have taken years for me to fully get), or maybe it’s simply that this isn’t as fulfilling or rewarding as The Well- at this stage I’m still very much undecided, but don’t let my doubt put you off!- if you enjoy creative & descriptive textured noise that flits between HNW & ANW this really is something you must check out so you can make your own mind up.
Split with Dust Cult:
"Horrible Mess is an awesome name for a noise act. It's really not much of a horrible mess aurally though. It's also quite good but it's pretty straight forward noise edging towards HNW. I would like to hear a bit more of what this person or people are up to. This cassette is well worth picking up and packed with potential. Limited to 20 copies and probably almost gone. "
- Dead Formats
Track on the "Seven Domains of Disgust" quadruple cassette compilation on Kafkex Rex:
"Moving onto tape number two, and on side C we have a track from Canadian based Horriblemess, it's entitled “Hygiene”. The track slides in with a distant billowing/ grating tone, and this is quickly joined by a huge sounding locked juddering/thundering low to mid range texture mesh. From here on in the track locks down into mid-paced bludgeoning ‘n’ suffocating attack which seems to well & truly engulf your sonic sensors. The huge sounding tones take up most of the sonic picture, through from time to time you can make out a distant billowing texture at the edges of the ‘wall’. Also ever now & then you get subtle shifts with-in the main tones feel, these are never vast. The ‘wall’ seems to become a but more churning ‘n’ hazed like in its feel for the last ten or so minutes, and I felt this was rather effective- it’s a pity this couldn’t have been done sooner. This track is certainly very engulfing & huge sounding, through I did find my mind starting to wonder around the mid way point….maybe it would have been better if they’d been two instead of one track on this side, as I did feel this tracks ideas didn’t quite stand up to a forty five minute run."
- Roger Batty