VOMIR – recouvre la merde (en trois mouvements) CD (4iB 008):
1. recouvre la merde (mouvement un) (17:04)
2. recouvre la merde (mouvement deux) (20:53)
3. recouvre la merde (mouvement trois) (34:47)
– CD in Jewel Case
– 8 page Booklet (Note: Discretion is Advised)
– Individually Numbered
– Limited Edition 250 Copies
PRICE (Including Airmail Shipping from Singapore): USD18 / €13 / £11
To Purchase, Please Go Here.
VOMIR – recouvre la merde
“recouvre la merde” or to loosely translate, “Cover the Shit” embodies the dark and sick humour of French ‘troubadour’ of Harsh Noise Wall, VOMIR. In this 3-parter, Romain Perrot unleashes a no-nonsensical torrent of unyielding wall-of-noise-harshness through 3 brain-convulsing tracks delivered in one long continuous movement. Guttural avalanche of sonic boom deluges upon the listener as the 3 long textural pieces of unpleasant roar harangue the listener into psychotic submission. The grinding movement of each abysmal track succumbs the listener into a state of sonic claustrophobia through its absolutely unique monolithic tonal amplification, all streaming seamlessly as one complete orchestral symphony.
Other than copious abuse of the aural senses, the album is also visually disturbing due to the vivid reference to coprophagia. This is attributed to the creative design work of imagenumérique’s™ Felix Rosier’s innovative art direction combining photography and installation art, and a crazed mind.
“recouvre la merde” completes the entire Perrot experience by staying true to Romain’s consistent classification of the term ‘ultra shit folk’. This album clearly asserts Perrot’s psychological position about the sad state of the world we live in, reinforcing his statement (in more ways than one): “We all eat shit everyday, women more than men. The shit is everywhere. Now it’s time to overlay all this shit, and noise is one way to do it”!
Please direct all enquiries to:
PO Box 206
ARTIST: SUTCLIFFE JUGEND
TITLE: Pursuit of Pleasure
CAT NO: 4iB LP/0811/001
FORMAT: LP in Gatefold Sleeve (Ltd/No’d 300 Copies in 2 Editions)
PRICE (Incl. Airmail Postage from Singapore): USD42.50 / €34 / £27
MORE INFO: Click Here
TO PURCHASE: Click Here
CAT NO: 4iB CD/0712/002
FORMAT: Digipack CD in Slipcase (Ltd/No’d 500 Copies)
PRICE (Incl. Airmail Postage from Singapore): USD20 / €15 / £13
MORE INFO: Click Here
TO PURCHASE: Click Here
ARTIST: SUTCLIFFE JUGEND and JUNKO (非常階段/Hijokaidan)
TITLE: Sans Palatine Uvula
CAT NO: 4iB CD/0513/003
FORMAT: CD in Gatefold Sleeve + 8pp Booklet (Ltd/No’d 500 Copies)
PRICE (Incl. Airmail Postage from Singapore): USD20 / €15 / £13
MORE INFO: Click Here
TO PURCHASE: Click Here
ARTIST: HIROSHI HASEGAWA (C.C.C.C./Astro)/POSITIVE ADJUSTMENTS
TITLE: Cryptic Void
CAT NO: 4iB CD/1013/004
FORMAT: CD in Gatefold Sleeve + 12pp Booklet (Ltd/No’d 250 Copies)
PRICE (Incl. Airmail Postage from Singapore): USD20 / €15 / £13
MORE INFO: Click Here
TO PURCHASE: Click Here
(Note: Orders from 4iB Records come with a Special Paper Overlay)
ARTIST: K2 (Kimihide Kusafuka)/GX Jupitter-Larsen (The Haters/Survival Research Laboratories)
TITLE: Convulsing Vestibular
CAT NO: 4iB CD/1213/005
FORMAT: Digipack CD (Ltd/No’d 250 Copies)
PRICE (Incl. Airmail Postage from Singapore): USD20 / €15 / £13
MORE INFO: Click Here
TO PURCHASE: Click Here
(Note: Orders from 4iB Records come with an Embroidered Cloth Patch – Limited Quantities Only)
ARTIST: MAURIZIO BIANCHI MEETS ROADSIDE PICNIC
TITLE: Dictatorship of Dead Labour
CAT NO: 4iB CD/0114/006
FORMAT: CD in Jewel Case (Ltd/No’d 250 Copies)
PRICE (Incl. Airmail Postage from Singapore): USD18 / €13 / £11
MORE INFO: Click Here
TO PURCHASE: Click Here
ARTIST: THE NEW BLOCKADERS & CREATION THROUGH DESTRUCTION
TITLE: Negative Mass
CAT NO: 4iB 12″/0314/007
FORMAT: 12″ (Ltd/No’d 250 Copies)
PRICE (Incl. Airmail Postage from Singapore): USD33.99 / €25 / £20
MORE INFO: Click Here
TO PURCHASE: Click Here
TITLE: recouvre la merde
CAT NO: 4iB CD/0714/008
FORMAT: CD + 8pp Booklet (Ltd/No’d 250 Copies)
PRICE (Incl. Airmail Postage from Singapore): USD18 / €13 / £11
MORE INFO: Click Here
TO PURCHASE: Click Here
ARTIST: THE RITA (UPCOMING!)
TITLE: Female Statuesque
CAT NO: 4iB 7″/0814/009
FORMAT: 7″ (Ltd/No’d 200 Copies)
PRICE:To Be Advised
MORE INFO: Coming Soon
TO PURCHASE: Coming Soon
CLICK HERE FOR A FULL LIST OF TITLES AND OUR BUNDLE DEALS.
THE NEW BLOCKADERS & CREATION THROUGH DESTRUCTION – Negative Mass 12″:
- Thick Cardboard Sleeve
– Direct Metal Mastering (Extra Loud Cut)
– 12″ x 12″ Insert
– Limited Edition of 250 Copies
– Individually Numbered (Cover Sticker, Main Sleeve & Vinyl)
1) Generation of Matter
1) Theory of Everything (Sample)
PRICE (Including Shipping from Singapore): USD33.99 / €25 / £20
To Purchase, Please Go Here.
THE NEW BLOCKADERS & CREATION THROUGH DESTRUCTION – Negative Mass
Here is a 2-track 12″ release that presents 2 prolific (and masked) noise making entities partnering together with the intent of inducing a breakdown of the senses through their own distinctive identity of generating relentless noise assault. This collaboration of UK noise terrorists and harsh noise pioneers THE NEW BLOCKADERS with Serbian’s harsh/static noise/wall act CREATION THROUGH DESTRUCTION (DEAD BODY COLLECTION) sees the merger of two noise genres with unique creative sound methodologies being amplified and redefined to an even greater level of sonic brutality.
The 2 tracks: Generation of Matter and Theory of Everything epitomize THE NEW BLOCKADERS philosophy of sonic nihilism through anti-art and anti-music as well as the dark and sadistic psyche of CREATION THROUGH DESTRUCTION’s Dr Alex. This is a full on display of explosive sonic violence, anguished background screams drowned further by a wall of weaving noise. This incessant ear battering of tonal destruction sustained through the complicated textured layers of brutal grating pandemonium is what nightmares are made of, and made even more disturbing by the masked anonymity of madmen.
Best Blasted Loud!
Please direct all enquiries to:
PO Box 206
Strength Through Joy is an enigma and often a seeming contradiction in terms. An iron fist hidden inside a velvet glove. Taking their name from the Third Reich program which provided cultural enrichment for the common workers, not to mention Volkswagens and vacation cruises for every happy German family, Strength Through Joy deftly mixes iconography of European romanticism and totalitarian artistic imperatives with lush string arrangements and pensive lyrics to form a unified vision that’s as haunting as it is beautiful.
Created by Richard Leviathan and Timothy Jenn after meeting in Australia, the band soon struck up a correspondence with Douglas P. of Death in June, who quickly sensed the importance of their unfolding development. Strength Through Joy fits nicely both alongside and outside of the continuum of Death in June, and admittedly there are numerous similarities in approach. These connections are even more amplified by Douglas’s contributions to their first EP, Dark Rose, as well as his overseeing of the production on all of their releases to date. Despite such strong collaborator ties, Strength Through Joy has forged its own sound and is steadily defining itself more completely with every subsequent effort.
Based now in Australia and Dublin, Ireland, the Celtic influences evident since their first recordings are even more predominant on Salute to Light, a new double CD set which has just been released through the Twilight Command imprint. Equally evident in Strength Through Joy’s expression is a beautiful painting by Völkisch artist Fidus titled Sun Worshiper adorning the front of the new release, to the swirling solar imagery on the discs themselves, one cannot help but notice a similar disposition in much of the music as well. These are not dour and gloomy songs for the self-indulgently depressed, but rather genuine celebrations of life in all its simultaneously radiant, torturous, joyful, and absurd glory.
Chad Hensley: When did the band form and what is the meaning of the band’s name?
Richard Leviathan: We began around 1991-92. The name of the band is derived from the German social organization which projected an ideological and aesthetic conception of physical strength and beauty. The historical roots of the organization, however, predate the rise of the Nazis, beginning with the emergence of the Völkisch and Naturalist movements which comprised various political, cultural and esoteric elements. These were not restricted only to Germany and were evident in other areas of Europe as part of a general shift in consciousness towards an intimate awareness of the relationship between Man and the natural world, with particular emphasis on the indigenous landscape. To some extent this was a reaction to the negative effects of materialism and industrial civilization, but it was also inspired by the revival of a magical vision of the universe which could only be recaptured through a more natural expression of life. The forces that motivated and its destructive culmination in history are of considerable interest to us, not simply as relics of the past but as a vital element that continues to inform any deeper awareness of life.
CH: One thing that immediately grabs my attention is the use of the Process symbol on both the CD and 7 inch–but the symbol is upside down. What is the significance of this?
RL: The symbol actually resembles the Process symbol by chance, significant as this might be. The design represents a fusion of four diagrams of the Volkswagen gear stick (the VW being the original Strength Through Joy automobile). This image is quite striking, and probably has some symbolic value. The complete design is also a Celtic symbol and the similarity to a swastika is no doubt another reason why it looks like the Process emblem.
CH: What concepts of the original Process Church most fascinate you and why?
RL: I have read some of the original Process material as an extension of my interest in Charles Manson. From what I can remember, the Church was seeking reconciliation of certain Satanic and Christian perspectives combined with a doctrine of Social Darwinism. There were also some pagan aspects to their vision. I tend to be generally averse towards any Christ-centered orientation, but I still quite admire what the Process was trying to do in the late sixties. Robert DeGrimston is an interesting figure, the type of person who personifies what he preaches in a bold and charismatic way.
CH: Douglas P. of Death In June both produced and played on “The Force of Truth and Lies”. How did you come to meet him and how did this collaboration take place?
RL: We met Douglas after having sent him some demo tapes from 1991 onwards. By an interesting coincidence, he had already spent some time in Adelaide, South Australia, where we eventually recorded our material.
CH: Obviously Strength Through Joy is influenced by Death in June. Why? What concepts does Death in June embody that the band identifies with?
RL: Death In June conveys a depth of musical and lyrical resonance that makes a strong impression on the listener. The themes which Douglas explores are also an integral part of this experience and express in a poetic but not inaccessible form the powerful and elusive aspects of reality which are missing from a lot of popular music.
CH: Are you involved with the occult?
RL: Timothy and myself are both interested in the magickal traditions of European paganism.
CH: A lot of material on “The Force of Truth and Lies” deals with the worthlessness of life, failure, and misanthropy. Why do these subjects fascinate you?
Timothy Jenn: I think it is a natural disposition I’ve always had. I can’t give a specific reason for this “fascination”. Simply by observing people and studying their history has led me to this position. The things you mention involve fundamental questions about existing. It may disturb some people when they discover that their life is ultimately worthless, but it can also be used, paradoxically, as an affirmation of life. Those who believe that their life is universally significant, perhaps because they think they are going to some heaven or other, usually constrict their actions in life to follow the requirements for entry. If one rejects this mode of living and accepts that life, in the abstract, is ultimately worthless because the universe and everything in it will eventually end completely, one can either say, “what’s the point in going on, then?” or take the position that, as the sum of all human activity will end in nothing, “personally it really doesn’t matter what I do”. But while life may be pointless, this is no reason not to enjoy it. Unfortunately, there are always people trying to stop the fun, and that can make existing in this futility a bit overbearing.
CH: The title track seems to imply that this world is living in the end times. Please elaborate.
RL: There is something positive to be found in the void if one has the will to embrace it as a potential source of power.
TJ: I don’t necessarily see it as a pre-apocalyptic vision of the world. It is more a portrayal of the struggle between essential truths and the misinformation promoted by social establishments. The backdrop is one of the inevitability that existence everywhere will cease. This fact is ignored by those who perpetuate the myth that all this is going somewhere. Most people don’t like to think in these terms. By keeping their lives in a progression of boxes until death, they need not think why they are actually living. Perhaps at most they believe they are doing their little bit in the progression of humanity. But they don’t really want someone telling them that no matter what humankind does, the sum of all human endeavor will count for naught.
CH: I would guess that you are not too fond of Christianity? Why? How has growing up in Dublin affected you personally?
RL: The problem with Christianity and the whole Judeo-Christian spirit is that it emerged as a foreign import into Western civilization and although it contributed significantly to the culture of Europe, it also destroyed much of its indigenous heritage in the same way as it was used against other cultures around the world. Of course, many native traditions were preserved in Christian forms, partly as a way of protecting them from dissolution. But the spiritual substance of life changed dramatically. By insisting on the sinfulness of life and encouraging resignation, Christianity bred a negative contempt for existence while at the same time promising salvation after death. This outlook could only frustrate the natural instincts of which, in their most spiritual expression, seek transcendence through the experience of this world. Thus, the Christian religion was destined to be trained with the hypocrisy with which we are so familiar, given the contradictions between its gospel of humility and the methods it needed to impose its unnatural ideology on the world. This is not to say that there have been no profound Christian achievements but the inherently negative characteristics of that religion are revealed in its general state of decrepitude in the contemporary world for which it is a totally inadequate faith.
TJ: Christianity is an inherently unnatural system of belief. It goes against every basic instinct of life. Maybe most irksome is that Man is brought above Nature because everything was put there by God to serve Man. Thus, partly through the mediation of Christianity, Man had distanced himself from Nature and I think we are seeing the consequences of that in the world today. Growing up in Dublin, it is difficult not to be aware of the history of the city. One is surrounded by historical landmarks all the time. Being aware of history makes one realize more readily one’s place in time, and the mechanizations of existence. Dublin is a city of culture, with many great artists from all fields emanating from it over the years. The closeness of their worlds has influenced me in some respects.
CH: What can be accomplished with the death of nature and culture?
TJ: The song you are referring to is written in the second person. We are not advocating all that is said here. It is a comment on the economic manifestations of society among other things.
CH: Do you follow the philosophy of the strong over the weak. And, if so, why?
RL: It is probably the principle that most clearly reflects reality. Obviously the reverse would be inconceivable. However, the distinctions between “strong” and “weak” need to be qualified. The possession of power does not necessarily suggest an inner strength and arbitrary force is not always a creative factor in the exercise of power. Strength implies wisdom as well as the willingness to act forcefully.
TJ: In any animal society, the survival of the strongest ensures the perpetuation of the species in its most adaptable form in its environment. As humankind, for the most part, has taken itself out of this process, the weaker members of the society are given an undue share of power which can only be wielded by those who seek to exploit their interests against the stronger adversary. The Christian ethos of embracing the meek and loving everybody has become akin to bathing a festering sore on the body. What’s more, these people have been given means to express their views. The weak are pandered to by reducing everything to the lowest common denominator for ease of understanding by those unwilling or unable to think for themselves. The cultures and societies of the world are demonstrating what happens when the weak are allowed some input.
CH: The song “The Blond Beast” seems to imply the Aryan Race. Do you think that any race of people is more intelligent than others?
RL: The “Blond Beast” is actually an idea conceived by Nietzsche and does not refer exclusively to the Aryan Race. It is an image of the lion and the unbridled forces of the wilderness which Nietzsche saw as the sources of the most creative cultures. It describes all conquering races who have imposed their will on the world, free of the civilizing constraints that debilitate and domesticate the “beast of prey”. Christianity and modernity were elements which Nietzsche felt contributed to the decline of life. The “Blond Beast” applies more to ancient than modern Man and while it has definite racial dimensions, it is also related to the idea of the Overman which Nietzsche associated more with an individual than a race. We are not particularly concerned with whether one race is more intelligent than another. What is more important is the existence of differences between races which are fundamental to the biodiversity of the planet. There are some scientists today who are trying to deny these differences as an argument against racism, but the conception of race cannot be restricted to an analysis of human genes. There are a host of other factors to consider like culture, environment, physical and spiritual characteristics.
CH: What does the song title “Rosin Dubh” mean?
TJ: “Rosin Dubh” is actually a misspelling to differentiate our song from a famous traditional Irish song, “Roisin Dubh”. This translates as “Little Black Rose”.
CH: Are you a religious person?
RL: If by religious you mean spiritual then the answer is yes, but I am not affiliated with any religious institution. I believe in other dimensions of reality beyond the immediate experience of the senses but these are transcendent or hidden aspects of this world rather than a paradise or netherworld reached only after physical death.
TJ: I am aware of the spirit in Nature and attempt to relate to it in my own terms. I don’t feel the need to join any organized religion to do this.
CH: Who are some of you musical influences?
RL: Our musical influences range from traditional folk and classical music to artists like NON, Current 93, David Sylvian, Joy Division, Bauhaus, and The Doors.
CH: Do you have any literary influences?
RL: I read a lot of European and some American literature. D.H. Lawrence, Celine, Burroughs, and Camus to name a few.
TJ: I have a particular fondness for old and contemporary Irish literature within a wider context of European writing.
CH: Would you call yourself a misanthropist? If so, why?
RL: Misanthropy is a reflection of the struggle of life through which the individual reacts against the lower, uglier qualities of humanity. The antagonism between Man and Humanity is a natural condition which is not exclusive to the attitude of a conscious misanthropist. It is one of the common features of life, a human trait which any misanthropist would have to consider in his endeavor to rise above humanity.
Originally published in the book “EsoTerra: The Journal of Extreme Culture”, published by Creation Books, 2011.
Француз Ромэйн Перро – шумовик до мозга костей, с обширной кассетной и «болваночной» дискографией и богатым внутренним миром. С объемами его творчества познакомит сайт исполнителя и всяческие справочные ресурсы вроде Discogs, о внутреннем мире поведает оформление релизов. Взять, хотя бы, его новый диск «Recouvre La Merde (En Trois Mouvements)», изданный сингапурским лейблом «4iB Records». Название, которое можно перевести как «покрытие дерьмом (в трех действиях)», сопровождается в буклете наглядным пособием из специфической кинопродукции, как этот процесс, собственно, происходит. Слабонервным смотреть не рекомендуется, впрочем, и слушать тоже. Всем остальным, кому нойз не кажется орудием пытки и массового поражения мозгов, «Vomir» гарантирует больше часа если не удовольствия, то чего-то извращенно-близкого. Впрочем, ничего особенно оригинального это копание в нечистотах ценителям не принесет: это, по сути, статичный harsh noise wall-продукт, монотонный шум, созданный с помощью мусора, бытового и цифрового. Постепенно вырастает стена шума…впрочем, не стена, а, скорее, забор или даже баррикада, по ходу действия обрастающая колючей проволокой. Порой даже начинает казаться, что можно протянуть руку и ощутить ладонью фактуру этой постройки: грязную и шершавую, исчерченную трещинами и буграми колючих неровностей, тыкающимися в пальцы остротами и ржавыми углами. Запись с определенно гипнотическим, – или, что гораздо точнее, отупляющим, – эффектом, что достигается за счет пониженного уровня агрессии и давящей статичности. Можно использовать, кстати говоря, в качестве неплохого фона, когда нужно ментально отгородиться от окружающего мира. Материал «Recouvre La Merde» и сам по себе производит впечатление отстраненности – что-то шумит, что-то рвет звуковую ткань пространства, но это что-то абсолютно автономно, как, например, радиопомехи – им не нужно присутствия человека и роль творца здесь предельно номинальна. Шумит и шумит себе, повинуясь однажды запущенным или даже предельно спонтанным процессам, и продолжаться это может вечно, не нуждаясь в присутствии слушателя. Такой же монотонный и привычный акт…ну как тот самый акт, ставший вдохновением для автора, примерно с такими же последствиями, что в шумовой среде, однако, может считаться даже похвалой.
AN INTERVIEW WITH NAEVUS
Over the course of 7 albums Naevus have been steadfastly and quietly building an impressive repertoire of songs. With a sound centred around acoustic guitar and Lloyd James’s soft-sung and perfectly delineated voice, furnished with keyboard, accordion, electric guitar and solid bass, Naevus have often found themselves bracketed as part of the dark folk genre. This association is largely due to the prominent role of the acoustic guitar and Lloyd’s assured deadpan vocal style. Even though the acoustic based tracks of their earlier releases elicited favourable comparisons with Swans and Death In June it appears with each subsequent release Naevus have been continually expanding their acoustic sound into a more minimal abstract sound incorporating post-punk, experimental and shoegaze elements. Their most recent albums Relatively Close To The Sea and The Division of Labour have been significant highpoints in the 14 year history of the group.
Relatively Close To The Sea included such delights as the streamlined rock sound of ‘Meat On Meat’, the alluring folk-pop of ‘Traffic Island’ and the impressive expansive ‘Go Grow’ that took Naevus into progressive rock territory. The Division of Labour, meanwhile, ranges from the layered guitars of ‘Man In A Ditch’, to the surging urgency of ‘Beat Bleep’ via the ringing and soaring shoegaze of ‘The Stomach’ to the minimal ‘Song In Suspension’ on an album that to these ears at least is far more ambitious than previous releases with its electronic, drone based and experimental touches. Both albums, like many of their previous releases, also featured short, direct songs such as ‘Dented Mess’ and ‘Idiots (Let Me In)’ fuelled by an obvious post-punk approach. In interviews Lloyd James has touched on his love of Wire, Joy Division (as referenced on ‘Bleat Bleep’) and Magazine. Magazine and in particular Luxuria, a later project of Howard Devoto, have been singled out as prime influence on the lyrics of Naevus.
Perhaps the defining mark of Naevus can be found in their distinctive abstract lyrics. Lloyd James’s writes cryptic lyrics of urban realism, fractured perception and obtuse personal introspection. Other times he pens narrative based lyrics, like ‘The German’, a cautionary tale for outsiders, and ‘Making Hay’ that speaks of the drudgery of work and a need to make art. Other tracks while highly literate are far more oblique but still worth hearing.
Naevus albums have boasted contributions from an impressive list of post-industrial luminaries including Karl Blake, Rose McDowall, John Murphy, Matt Howden and David E. Williams. Outside of Naevus, Lloyd James has sung for Knifeladder, Kirlian Camera, Jerome Deppe, Albireon…. Occasionally Lloyd can be found manning the drum stool for Sol Invictus and Rose McDowall. He’s also a member of the experimental project Lark Blames with Marc Blackie (of Sleeping Pictures), releasing two albums, Chimney and The Reins of Life, on Old Europa Café. As a solo artist he released Enquiries a solo experimental album under the name Retarder on the US based label Tourette Records. Another collaborative project Man Eat Man Eat Man are currently completing their debut release. Naevus, meanwhile, have regrouped with a new line-up featuring Hunter Barr (drums), Ben McLees (guitar) and Arthur Shaw (bass). They’ve already undertaken a series of low-key shows with recording sessions currently underway.
I’ve long enjoyed the work of Naevus but felt prior interviews with Naevus have never really captured the essence of the group. Following the release of The Division of Labour, the first Naevus album released since the demise of the former Naevus line-up featuring Joanne Owen and Greg Ferrari who performed a major role in previous Naevus recordings, we caught up with Lloyd James to help shine a light and bring a broader appreciation to the work of Naevus.
The latest Naevus album, The Division of Labour, is largely a solo-recording, what happened to the line-up?
During 2010, there were a number of changes in the personal circumstances of the band members which meant that, in the short term, it was not possible to sustain a full band line-up Naevus. I continued with the recording of The Division of Labour and did some gigs in Europe (some as a solo performer, some as a duo with Edel Braun), then towards the end of 2011 set about reactivating Naevus with a full band line-up.
How did the difference in group structure affect the recording of The Division of Labour? You didn’t think of releasing this as a solo-album or under a different name?
I started work on the songs the make up The Division of Labour as far back as 2009. Some were intended for a Retarder release, some were intended for a seventh Naevus album, and some were solo versions of tracks I had worked on with other projects. All of these recordings were being worked on by me alone, and after a while it became clear that they were forming a coherent album. I had considered releasing them as a ‘Lloyd James solo album’, but when I began to mix the tracks they sounded like Naevus. Releasing the album as Naevus seemed the only sensible thing to do, as the approach to the writing and recording of was much more in keeping with the early Naevus recordings. As soon as I began to think of The Division of Labour as a Naevus album, it became clear to me that it was the best one I’ve made so far, and the one most closely aligned with the idea of Naevus that I had when the project began.
Compared to other Naevus releases The Division of Labour is more diverse including experimental touches and more electronic based tracks. Was this a direct result of it now being as solo-project? If so, did you ever feel limited or compromised within the confines of a group?
I don’t think The Division of Labour album is any more electronic than the preceding four albums, and it’s certainly much less electronic than the first two Naevus albums, Truffles of Love and Soil. However, the electronic elements in the album are partly a result of having previously performed them live as Retarder. After the release of the first Retarder album in 2009, I did a few concerts as Retarder to help promote it. As most of the Retarder album was not really suited to live performance, I devised my own arrangements of songs that I had written with other projects that would be suitable. ‘Man in a Ditch’ and ‘Hobo Placing’ were written in collaboration with the French electronic duo Propergol Y Colargol, and ‘Donkey’s Trough’ was written with Mushroom’s Patience. I developed versions that were based over a minimal loop or drone and these versions formed the basis of the versions that appear onThe Division of Labour. Apart from this, I wanted one track on the album to feature drum machine rather than real drums, as a nod to the origins of the band, where most of the instrumentation was programmed. So ‘Song in Suspension’ makes use of some 808 drum sounds and synthetic timpani.
Do you envisage Naevus ever becoming a group again?
Naevus is a group again; even before the recording of The Division of Labour had been completed, a new band line-up was established. Hunter Barr had his first drumming stint in Naevus in 2003 (as heard on the EP The Body Speaks), returning in 2009; Ben McLees was guitarist for Naevus for a series of concerts in 2008 and rejoined at the end of 2011; and Arthur Shaw joined as bass player in 2011, having previously played keyboards on the album Relatively Close to the Sea. The current line-up has so far undertaken a few low-key gigs in London but we have some ‘proper’ gigs coming up, starting with The Underworld in Camden on 3rd November, followed by a short tour of Italy, and some European festivals in 2013. We’ve also worked on some new recordings, which will see the light of day in the not-too-distant future.
What were the aims of the group when you first formed Naevus and how have they changed?
As far as I am concerned, the aims are the same; I try to make the songs that I want to hear, about the things that interest me. When I was working on the first Naevus album, Truffles of Love, in 1998-1999, I was determined to make the music I felt was missing from the world at the time, and also to make songs that had lyrics that were interesting or useful and that stood up to scrutiny. Rather than looking to the bands that were around me for influences, I turned instead to music from the past that I considered great work (Magazine, early Roxy Music, various others) and tried to position myself in a kind of lineage, taking influence from intentions and attitudes rather than sounds. I had a great sense of freedom in making that album, and I have done my best to preserve it since.
To return to the new album, ‘Making Hay’ seems to speak of the drudgery of work and craving for art. Does it and is it at all autobiographical?
Well, that’s life, isn’t it? I know very few people who are able to make a living doing something which they enjoy or which truly matches their abilities. In that sense the song is entirely autobiographical, although the words have put into allegorical, ‘oldey-worldy’ terms, to convey that fact that it’s nothing new – it’s an old story, and it will go on. I don’t deliberately set out to write songs that are autobiographical. That seems to me to be a little indulgent. Personal experience creeps in naturally, but my aim is always to do more than simply reflect my own experiences.
There’s a sense of dissatisfaction and frustration that runs throughout the tracks ‘Idiots (Let Me In)’ and ‘Song In Suspension’? What accounts for this dissatisfaction and frustration?
At the time of writing the songs, I was not aware of any particular sense of frustration and dissatisfaction, but looking back at them I can see that that theme comes across fairly strongly. ‘Idiots (Let Me In)’ deals with the sense of irritation with the world at large that we all feel from time to time, but this is hopefully brought into perspective by the final line of the song, which is intended to convey that venting such frustration is ultimately pointless. ‘Song in Suspension’ was originally written as a commission for John Murphy’s Shining Vril project; he asked me to write some lyrics for him that dealt with the idea of suspension, of being stuck in a nowhere-land, between situations. I’m not sure where some of the imagery comes from, but I imagined John’s voice singing the song rather than mine, so that probably has something to do with it.
What prompted you to include ‘Chalk is Valuable, Keep it in Your Hand’ that previously appeared on the Retarder album, Enquiries?
I did some solo performances as Retarder in 2009-10 and want to include ‘Chalk is Valuable, Keep it in Your Hand’ in the sets as it was the first Retarder song. However, the original arrangement for drum machine and bass guitar would have been impossible to perform live, so I worked out a version for acoustic guitar only. I was very pleased with how the new version turned out and wanted to release a studio recording of it, and it seemed to fit perfectly onto the end of The Division of Labour, as a kind of summary. It was recorded in one take, with one microphone and no overdubs, and I felt it was a pure expression of what I have been trying to achieve with my songs for a long time; simple, minimalistic, awkward, intimate, surprising and emotive, all at the same time. I’m not sure that all listeners will agree with that assessment, but that’s how it seems to me.
Naevus have released 7 albums. The first two albums Truffles of Love and Soil have been reissued recently. How do you feel about the early Naevus albums? At what point do you think Naevus became fully formed?
To be honest, I’m really not sure. At one point, I felt that Naevus didn’t become fully-formed until Behaviour in 2002, but looking back now I find the original intention of Naevus to be clearly expressed on the very earliest recordings, even if production of the sound is not always sufficiently developed. Songs such as ‘The Mouth Song’ are a clear expression of what I always wanted to do with Naevus, even if the musical style and the sounds used are a long way from how I do things now. With the reissues of Truffles of Love and Soil by Old Europa Café, the opportunity to include bonus tracks enabled me to quite neatly collect all of the recordings from the first phase of Naevus, when we still used drum machine. I’m very pleased with how those reissues turned out.
Naevus are often regarded as being part of the neo-folk / dark-folk genre yet your music doesn’t seem concerned with Europe or carry occultural or magickal themes. Why do you think Naevus are considered as part of the genre? What are your thoughts on the genre?
I think Naevus has been considered as part of that genre for a number of reasons, but the primary one is probably that we make use of acoustic guitar and I have a fairly low, deadpan voice. Over the years we’ve received more comparisons to Swans than to Death in June, though. I have no problem with being considered part of the neo-folk genre, since some of the acts to be found in it have a sound that I like very much. It is true that yearning for some mythical lost Europe has no interest for me and I really can’t take ‘magickal’ themes particularly seriously. But I do enjoy the music of some of the bands that employ these themes.
With each album featuring a number of short, sharp songs with a punk or post-punk feel, what role does punk or post-punk play in Naevus?
The post-punk era has undoubtedly been a bigger influence on me than any other era. The records I’ve listened to most in my life are things such as Metal Box by PiL, Three Imaginary Boys by The Cure, Secondhand Daylight by Magazine, Hee Haw by the Birthday Party, etc. Even though I was born about 12 years too late to be listening to this music at the time of its release, it’s the music that really captured my imagination when I was a teenager. I don’t try and imitate or even emulate the sounds of those bands, as there is no point repeating what has gone before, but the influence of post-punk is deeply engrained in me and certainly manifests itself in some way on each album. The attitude of the post-punk era has had more influence on me than the sound.
The lyrical themes of Naevus albums are both personal and quite abstract. How important are the lyrics to Naevus? How do you come up with them? What do you hope to convey?
To me, the lyrics are the most important element of the songs. Generally, the words are written first and the music is devised as a supporting structure. But then the process of creating a finished, listenable product takes over. In 2008, I self-published a Naevus lyric book, entitled Slopped Down from Eden, which contains all of the Naevus song lyrics from the period 1998-2008. I recently discovered another box of copies of this book, so it’s still available and will be on sale at upcoming concerts.
A number of Naevus tracks, like ‘The German’, ‘Making Hay’, and ‘Shown’ are written like little narratives. Outside of writing lyrics for Naevus do you do any other writing?
Like everyone else, I have bits and pieces of a novel that needs finishing. I intend to get around to finishing it one day, but I think it’s highly unlikely that it would ever be published. My style of prose writing is probably very out of kilter with current tastes.
Who or what would you consider as prime influences on the lyrics and sound of Naevus?
The prime influence on my lyric writing must be Howard Devoto. He took pop-and-rock lyric writing to a level that hadn’t really been achieved or attempted before, with the exceptions of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen at their best. In terms of sound, it’s more difficult to pinpoint a prime influence, but if I had to do so, it would probably be Cranes. I saw them live recently, performing a lot of their earlier material, and I was quite taken aback by just how much I must have been influenced by their sound. I hadn’t really listened to them for quite a few years, so it was strange to hear in their sound echoes of what I had been aiming at with Naevus.
Bodily functions and meat seem to be recurring features in the lyrics of Naevus (‘Food’s Journey’, ‘Afters’, ‘Meat On Meat’, ‘The Stomach’). What do they mean to you?
Eating, digestion, excretion and so are all essential parts of our lives and influence us in many ways, whether we acknowledge it or not. The general trend in songwriting is to focus on love and sex, which is fine, of course, but I think that the other activities of the human body merit attention. As Bukowski said: “A man can go seventy years without a piece of ass, but he can die in a week without a bowel movement.”
‘Go Grow’ seems a pivotal track in the history of Naevus, could you tell us about this? It’s a lot more expansive that other Naevus material, do you agree?
‘Go Grow’ was a project I set for myself. I wanted to see whether I could write a song that was the length of one side of a vinyl LP yet didn’t betray the style of Naevus (i.e., didn’t resort to superfluous soloing). The structure and arrangement of the song was devised in an Excel spreadsheet; I tried to get some kind of visual harmony or symmetry in the blocks in the spreadsheet and then translated them to instruments when putting together the arrangement of the song. I’m pleased with how the track turned out, but I must admit that the shorter version that was released as a 7″ single is a little easier to listen to.
Although based in the UK, the majority of Naevus releases have been released on central European based labels. How much interest is there in Naevus from the UK and how much from Europe? If there is a difference, how would you account for it?
There is not a great amount of interest in Naevus in the UK as far as I can tell. For example, we have never had any interest whatsoever from a UK label, but lots from various European labels. I don’t know why this is, but Britain does seem to suffer from musical apathy, at least as far as my music is concerned. But that’s fine by me – having more interest from other countries means that I get to travel in Europe for more than I would otherwise.
Naevus albums have appeared on numerous labels but the last three albums have been released by Hau Ruck. How did you hook up with them and what’s your relationship with them like?
I wrote to Hau Ruck! in 2003, after the release of Behaviour, to see if they would be interested in releasing a single or EP. As it happened, Albin at Hau Ruck! had recently heard the Naevus contribution to an Ain Soph tribute album and was very impressed with it, and agreed to release the Sail Away 7″. Since then, we’ve had a fruitful relationship; three albums and a number of vinyl EPs.
Naevus have covered songs from a broad range of artists including Tom Waits, Scott Walker, The Monkees, Laibach, Sol Invictus, David E. Williams… What music do you listen to?
I listen to quite a wide range of music, so it’s hard to answer this without giving a very long list. In recent weeks I’ve been listening to Momus’s Bibliotek, Can’s The Lost Tapes, various Wire albums, Dome, Magazine’s No Thyself, Syd Barrett and early Eno.
Previous Naevus albums and tracks have featured formidable musicians such as John Murphy, Karl Blake, Matt Howden and Rose McDowall. How did you enlist their involvement? Were you fans of their work?
For all of those four people, I was a fan before I met them. I got to know them through meeting them at gigs or through mutual acquaintances. Three of them are still good friends of mine and I hope to work with them again in future.
Many of the musicians you work with such as John Murphy, Hunter Barr (KnifeLadder), Marc Blackie (Sleeping Pictures), Arthur Shaw (Cutty Sark), Ben McLees (SonVer) are all, or have been, London based musicians. What draws you together? Does it or did it ever constitute a scene?
I don’t think that there is a scene as such, it’s more to do with the fact we’re based in London and play in each others’ bands. These people are friends of mine and enjoy making music, which means that I can enjoy making music with them.
If given a choice, who would be the ideal Naevus collaborator? And is there anyone you would like to see cover a song of yours?
The ideal Naevus collaborator, outside of those people with whom I am currently working anyway, would be someone in the role of producer rather than musician, perhaps someone like Mike Hedges, who did some great work in the early 1980s. I like the textures that he achieves and it would a welcome relief to hand over the reins of production for a while.
Jerome Deppe recently recorded a very good cover version of ‘Kill Your Friends’, which can be found on his excellent Songs of Love, Hate and Fear album. As for who else I would like to see cover a Naevus song, for some reason I can imagine Morrissey doing a good job of it, although I’m sure he wouldn’t approve of Naevus – too many songs about meat.
Outside of Naevus you’ve guested and performed with a number of artists. Could you tell us about these? What do you get from collaborating?
I’ve recorded guest vocals for a number of acts, including Kirlian Camera, David E. Williams, KnifeLadder, Andrew King, Sieben, Mushroom’s Patience, Jerome Deppe, Cutty Sark, Propergol Y Colargol, Albireon, Thomas Nöla & the Black Hole and Der Blutharsch & the Infinite Church of the Leading Hand.
Besides this, I’ve produced recordings by a number of acts, including Shining Vril, Sleeping Pictures, Rose McDowall and Duo Noir, and I produced a remix for Der Blutharsch.
As for live work, I’ve variously been a member of or guested with Sleeping Pictures, Sorrow/Rose McDowall, SonVer, Sieben, Albin Julius & Friends, Andrew King, Thomas Nöla & Friends, While Angels Watch and Fire + Ice.
Collaborating with others is very important to me; I find it very rewarding. Making music is best enjoyed as a group activity, and working with others can lead you down avenues that you wouldn’t normally expect. For example, when I recorded my vocals for Sieben, Matt required that I sing in a register higher than that in which I normally sing. I was surprised with the results and it made think more about the vocal range I use on my own recordings.
Could you tell us about your art that often adorns the covers of Naevus releases? It is striking in its minimal and abstract approach. What materials do you use? Did you study art?
I studied art at school but didn’t take it any further, apart from studying aesthetics at university and continuing to paint sporadically. I wish I had more time for painting, but having a full-time job means that the time and light are never right, so these days I only paint for Naevus artwork. I paint in oils, so time is important in executing paintings correctly. Having said that, the cover painting for The Division of Labour was executed in about two hours, which is extraordinarily fast for me. Perhaps if I can replicate that pace in future I can get more painting done.
You released a solo album as Retarder, what is the impetus behind Retarder and how does Retarder differ to Naevus?
Retarder was conceived in 1999. I intended to use that name to explore ideas that didn’t really fit in with Naevus at the time; there is a somewhat ‘da-da’-ist approach, incorporating use of repetition and number-based composing. I confess that I diluted the original intention of the project on the first Retarder album, Enquiries; most of the tracks are derived very directly from the original Retarder concept but there are a couple of tracks on there that are really more Naevus songs than Retarder songs and would probably be more at home on The Division of Labour than onEnquiries. For future Retarder releases, there will be a kind of ‘re-set’. Mostly instrumental pieces, automatic or self-composing compositions, pseudo-serialism, that kind of thing. There will be a new Retarder album released by Tourette Records in the future, and I’ve recently completed a one-off Retarder track for a compilation.
And then there’s Lark Blames your experimental project with Marc Blackie of Sleeping Pictures. How did that come about and is it still ongoing?
Lark Blames is still ongoing, even though it has been on something of a hiatus recently. Marc and I first met at a Sleeping Pictures gig in London many years ago and have remained friends since. So far there have been two Lark Blames albums (Chimney in 2006 and The Reins of Life in 2010) and I hope there will be another in the future. We often meet up and talk about working on some new recordings but we both have commitments to other activities that limit the time we have available for Lark Blames.
And I’ve read of another called Man Eat Man Eat Man, what’s that about?
Man Eat Man Eat Man was a project consisting of Hunter Barr, Ben McLees and myself. After working on Relatively Close to the Sea, I wanted to work as part of a band project that was more raw and spontaneous, and Ben and Hunter, who are both very accomplished musicians, were up for it. At the particular point in time at which the project started, neither of them was a member of Naevus, so it was a good way for me to continue doing music with them, which I’d enjoyed very much previously. We had only two recording sessions, in late 2008 and early 2009, followed by some overdubs and mixing, and a Man Eat Man Eat Man album is basically ready for release, apart from some final mixing on three tracks. Man Eat Man Eat Man was democratic; all of the songs were conceived collaboratively, and as a result the sound of the band is more hard-edged than most other music I’ve been involved in. If you can imagine a mixture of KnifeLadder, This is Radio Silence and Naevus, that’s not too far away from what the band sounds like. I hope the Man Eat Man Eat Man album can be finished in the near future, as I’m very pleased indeed with those recordings.
You’re obviously prolific, what inspires you to create?
I suppose that I am quite prolific, but it never really feels that way. I always have the feeling that I should be making more but that I never have the time. I have day job that takes up most of my days, so time to write and record always seems to be scarce and I try to make the most of it when it comes along. So I think what inspires me to create is primarily fear – fear of not being creative. If a week goes by where I haven’t done something creative, I feel terrible. I need to create in order to feel that I’m alive.
What’s next for Naevus and yourself?
Currently, I’m writing some lyrics for the second album by the Finnish neo-folk band Harmony Garden, and I’m putting together a 3-CD collection of all of the Naevus singles, B-sides and compilation tracks that are not available on the albums. This will be quite a big release, probably three CDs, and will be a tidying-up of history before working on the next album.
And where exactly was it, where you lived relatively close to the sea?
Pembrokeshire, south-west Wales, although living in London, as I do now, I’m still relatively close to the sea. And I suppose the same is true of anywhere in Britain – we are an island.
Naevus on Facebook – Naevus Facebook page
Hau Ruck – label for current Naevus releases
Old Europa Cafe – label for Soil and Truffles of Love reissues
Tourette Records – label for Retarder’s Enquiries
Russell Williams speaks to Romain Perrot, one of the main practitioners of harsh noise wall, to discuss how creating his monolithic slabs of caustic static offers a way to exorcise his frustration with the world.
We live in an age of perpetual crisis. From global wars without end to individual precarity. From seismic geopolitical shifts to the day-to-day tyranny of neoliberalism. From disaster zones to the disappearing high street. How should we respond? Should we mobilise, join forces, take to the streets and seize power? Or, should we focus on individual survival above all? The noise work of French outsider artist, or anti-artist, Romain Perrot points, more controversially, to the latter option.
Over the last ten or so years, harsh noise wall (HNW) has become a significant – if still acutely liminal – genre. Its practitioners take the bludgeoning angular discordancy of harsh noise and extend it ad infinitum to long, unflinchingly monolithic slabs, or ‘walls’ of static noise, interference, grumbling drones and crackling acoustic growls. In the face of a mainstream culture which fleetingly breezes between fashions, trends and popular celebs, Perrot is refreshingly militant. In his influential VOMIR project, he is on the side of withdrawal, isolation, immersion in indistinct, challenging noise that often pushes the boundaries of listenability.
In many ways, VOMIR produces the opposite of music; what Perrot does is certainly at the antipodes of pop music. In the Noise Wall manifesto he has uploaded to the website of his record label, Decimation Sociale, he boldly asserts that “The individual no longer has any alternative but to completely reject contemporary life as promoted and preached. The only free behaviour that remains resides in noise, withdrawal and a refusal to capitulate to manipulation, socialisation and entertainment’. Such radical challenges to notions of entertainment are, of course, nothing new from avant garde performers, but Perrot’s complete, some might say bloody-minded, unwavering commitment to his anti-music project is what makes his work so interesting.
That said, Perrot’s oeuvre is not completely without glimpses of humour. When performing live as VOMIR, his distinctive trademark has been to perform with a plastic bag covering his head, standing unmoving over his pedals, or even turned with his back to the crowd or lying on the floor. It’s hard not to see an element of humour in this, or at least a darkly ironic celebration of the absurd. Such a commitment to a negation tinged with absurdity means he can, I think, be understood in the playful French tradition: his work has a touch of surrealism, Dada and the Situationists, even Michel Houellebecq echoes his approach to some extent. But Perrot would, no doubt, resist such easy classification. The Quietus caught up with him to find out more about his noise, his new projects and his plastic bags.
(RW) What were your first musical discoveries? How did you come to the experimental/extreme side of music?
(RP) Romain Perrot: I started with more conventional music. My first major musical discovery was the Pink Floyd in my parents’ record collection. I remember really being struck by The Wall and certain aspects of it, such as its focus on withdrawal and isolation, have stayed with me to this day. I kept on listening to Pink Floyd, in fact, throughout my teenage years before discovering metal and hip-hop and eventually getting into hardcore as well as more industrial bands. Black Flag in particular also had a major impact on me, particularly the more proggy parts of their work. I eventually came across noise artists such as Merzbow and Keiji Haino a little later, and my encounter with their work gave me a similar thrill as I had listening to Pink Floyd when I was younger.
RW: You were living and working in Paris at that time, what role did the Parisian ‘scene’, such as the legendary – and recently closed – record shop Bimbo Tower play on your musical development?
RP: Bimbo Tower played a huge role; in particular the shop was a meeting point that brought me into contact with people with similar interests in noise. Franq De Quengo, musician, DJ and owner of the store, for example, is a vitally important figure in the French experimental and underground music scenes: his knowledge, his experiences and his musical memory are second to none. We met via his Aligre FM radio station show Songs Of Praise, which is still being broadcast on Monday nights, and he introduced me to noise records that I wouldn’t have been able to find elsewhere. Bimbo Tower’s closure has left a huge hole in the Paris underground.
My noise work has also been informed by my reading and from that perspective, Jacques Noël, who runs the bookshop Un Regard moderne, still based near St Michel, has also been a key influence: he’s been my spiritual father in that respect, and his shop is an endless resource, above all if you are interested in the counter culture or have a natural inclination towards cultural deviancy… I’ve picked up books like Morgue by Jean-Luc Hennig and Pascal Doury and Bruno Richard’s ‘Elle Sont de Sortie’ graphic novels from him.
RW: You got interested in noise and you picked up a guitar. How did you make the transition from noise guitar to the harsh noise wall that VOMIR is known for?
RP: I started experimenting with noise guitar around 1996, scraping the strings rather than playing notes or chords. I wasn’t entirely satisfied with the results, though. I had a distinctive and recurrent sound in mind that I wasn’t able to recreate on the guitar. So, I put it to one side and I started to use electronic noise generators instead. Little by little, I started to produce a form of static noise that became the focus of my sound.
At this time, Bimbo Tower was selling my CDRs and I discovered the work of [harsh noise wall pioneers] The Cherry Point and The Rita. It was a huge surprise to find out that they were working in the same direction as me: harsh static noise. I got in contact with Sam [McKinlay, The Rita] and his label [Militant Walls], who issued my first HNW release, a 2006 split CDR with Paranoid Time, Adoration Of The Faceless Woman, which got me a little known in noise circles.
RW: How would you describe your harsh noise wall to a newcomer? What makes your work distinctive from the other contemporary HNW artists such as, say, Richard Ramirez or Sam McKinlay?
RP: I’d encourage anyone who is interested in finding out more about noise who hasn’t listened to it before just to take a radio, tune it to between two stations and turn up the volume. If you can see the appeal, then perhaps it is time to investigate harsh noise in a little more detail. Of course, Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music is also worth a listen.
It’s very difficult to explain what makes my walls different from other artists. How do you describe the difference between noisecore or brutal death groups? It’s the same challenge. We may be working in a similar way, and all be making recordings based on static walls of noise, but the final results depend on the individual personalities of the individuals concerned. As far as VOMIR goes, my work is based on its lack of development or progression as well as the themes such as withdrawal from society and anomie that I’ve always highlighted when talking about my work.
RW: I’d like to talk a little about the way you work. You are working with abstract noise, so how do you decide when you have finished or made a successful ‘wall’?
RP: As far as I’m concerned, a wall can never be described as a ‘success’ in the way you mean. A noise wall exists when the static noise is full, continuous and consistent from start to finish without alteration or fluctuations. That is what I’m interested in. When I create a wall, I’m looking to do nothing else but produce harsh, static noise that resonates with me personally. I see the act of creation, on stage or when recording, as time out of the world where I can immerse myself in noise and become completely caught up in it. I get the equipment up and running, and create the noise and leave it there. The range of noise, whether it’s more acute or lower-pitched, changes from session to session. My approach hasn’t change at all since I started producing walls, for that reason I don’t think my later recordings show any evolution at all when compared with my earlier work.
RW: What about the listener’s role in all of this? It sounds as if you are achieving some kind of meditative state through your work. What do you intend for your audiences or listeners to experience? You regularly play live and are a prolific releaser of new material, so it can’t only be about you…
RP: I don’t want to encourage people to experience my work in any particular way. I’ve heard that some people might use my HNW to help them relax or meditate, and its great if they do. Others just listen to it as pure harsh noise, that’s great as well! There is absolutely no message whatsoever in my work; I’m looking to provide no inspiration or encouragement in any direction at all. For me, HNW is a way of releasing something personal in myself in a way that negates the possible ‘spiritual’ development of music.
I understand that people can hear very different sounds and effects in my work, but that depends on the ear and the brain of each individual listener as to what they get out of it. The human body finds continuous noises difficult to process so repeatedly looks for ‘hooks’ or familiar noises in noise walls. Also, our own pre-existing ideas also create images that are responsible for such ghost or phantom noises – that’s where these things come from, not me….
RW: Given the intensity of your walls, it seems that there is something deeply anti-social or perhaps asocial about your work. How do you reconcile that with your life? I understand you have both a family and gainful employment!
RP: I’m a family man with two children. I currently work in administration. But I’m also a noise artist, and a music fan. All these different levels make up my personality. I also feel it’s important to dissolve my personality into noise from time to time. My family understand that and know that it is a real necessity for me to do that.
RW: Noise ‘purity’ is a preoccupation for some in the HNW scene. In your manifesto, you use the term, saying that “the harsh noise wall is militantly pure in its non-representation”. What would you say to people who might find this notion of ‘purity’ problematic? In focusing on withdrawal and rejection of contemporary society in the way you do, is there not a danger that you could be viewed as a political radical, or reactionary?
RP: The rules in my manifesto were initially designed to apply to me and to my own approach to making noise, and it would be wrong to suggest that there isn’t at least some degree of irony at work there, as well. But it is true that I do take a very absolutist or hardcore approach to making noise walls. As far as the ‘rejection’ of the world is concerned, I’m possibly taking an extreme political position, but one that is neither totalitarian nor aggressive in any way. I’d describe myself as an individualist anarchist, but one for whom action comes through noise, not through criminality or violence.
RW: What about your art as physical product? The physicality of CDs and cassettes is, for some, an important part of the noise scene. Many of your releases have used disturbing, erotic or BDSM images.
RP: I am completely disinterested in my art as a product: it’s about the noise first and foremost. Nevertheless, a physical format will always transmit a better sound than digital. I hardly ever concern myself with the recording artworks or designs: I leave it to the labels. If they choose to use BDSM imagery, then that’s great, since I’ve always had an interest in eroticism, pornography and fetishism. My childhood was marked by morbidly sensual artistic images and, when I was a little older, George Bataille’s writings allowed me to channel them. These topics are present, naturally, in my everyday experience.
RW: It’s time to talk about the plastic bag you place over your head during VOMIR live sets. Can you explain your thinking? Is it not a danger that it becomes a marketing gimmick, at odds with your project?
RP: I came up with the idea of performing with a rubbish bag on my head as a symbol, well, of rubbish, of waste, but it also works on a number of different levels, I think. Initially, I used a huge gravel bag, then moved onto smaller, more manageable bags. I also hand them round the audience personally, so they too can do likewise, if they want: isolate themselves in the noise. It’s true that I am a little associated with the plastic bags, and people expect them at my concerts, but I’m not convinced it’s a successful marketing gimmick! It’s rather something different for the harsh noise community, but I’m certainly not the first to perform with his face covered up.
RW: What else do you listen to?
RP: I’m a music fan, so I listen to a huge amount of music from a variety of different genres. I’m really keen on discovering new music, but I would be useless in a blind test, since I don’t know all of my records in depth. I listen to everything, but for it to really speak to me, it needs to have a good dose of dirt, hate, disgust, filth, improvisation, anger or the occult.
RW: You are mostly known for your HNW work as VOMIR, but how does this relate to your other projects, FALOT, Romprai Etron and Roro Perrot? The darkly absurd nature of your work seems most evident in these projects, perhaps.
RP: FALOT is my newest project which mixes dissonant guitar, static noise, distorted vocals and a drum machine. It is pretty much the extension of what I was working on back in 1995-1996, but is different from my HNW work, for which I’ve set very strict rules. If there is a link, it’s into my larger commitment to anti-music. The vocals are based on texts that come from cut-ups, readings, translations and ideas. They reflect my disillusioned view of the world, describe some possible routes towards sexual chaos and sound the warning notes of profound change. I describe Romprai Etron as ‘vomit-core': harsh noise and bawling, basically!
Roro Perrot is an acoustic project with a touch of synthesiser. I describe it as ‘shit folk’. I’ve had the opportunity to play live with Yves Botz (Dust Breeders, Mesa of the Lost Women). We get on very well, and we play very badly.
What brings all of my noise work together is its non-savoir faire, its anti-musicality; the fact that anyone could do it. I see it as pouring out all of my disgust in the rawest, and most absurd ways possible. Of course, when you come to analyse it and reflect upon it afterwards, the cynicism, the deep irony becomes clear, but when I make my noise, it is deeply serious.
Mind-blotting new collaboration that takes the TNB sound to new levels of aural savagery in collaboration with Serbian harsh noise actionists Creation Through Destruction in a numbered edition of 250 copies with insert: this is one of the darker, more atmospherically occluded of the TNB releases, recalling, in its use of subliminal voices and vocal tone, their incredibly disturbing set at Thurston Moore’s Nightmare Before Christmas in 2006 that came out on Blossoming Noise as Das Zerstoren, Zum Gebaren. The ‘wall noise’ attack of Creation Through Destruction provides a second veil of dense, semi-permeable electronics, making this one of the most of the spectrally brutal of the TNB collaborations.
Идея этого релиза пришла в головы КевинаТомкинса (бывшему участнику «Whitehouse») и Пола Тейлора в Японии, где их однажды поджидало сразу два крупных потрясения за несколько дней: настоящее и довольно мощное землетрясение и перфоманс Джунко, некогда вокалистки японских нойзовых беспредельщиков «Hijokaidan» и других местных коллективов любителей пошуметь. И, если с первым сложно было что-то поделать или принять какие-то ответные меры, то с устроителем второго удалось договориться и помузицировать в студии, создав эти десять треков. Судя по всему, особенно потрясающими были вокальные возможности Джунко, натолкнувшие на мысль посвятить альбом именно не/исследованным возможностям человеческой глотки в плане извлечения различных звуков. Что же, с этой просветительской миссией японка справляется хорошо, но, стоит признаться, несколько однообразно: чаще всего на «Sans Palatine Uvula» мы слышим или примитивное младенческое «атя-тя», или же те самые нервирующие высокочастотные звуки, которые может издавать любая маленькая собачка, неожиданно и сильно прижатая дверью. Плюс определенное количество воплей, истеричных криков и всхлипов, пропущенных через дисторшн и должным образом закольцованных. Кевин или Пол в определенные моменты тоже вносят свой вклад, их глотки исторгают нечто вроде крика сумасшедшего слона, что, вкупе с обезьяньими криками их партнерши, превращает «Mouth Leak» в правдивый отчет о буднях в глухих джунглях. Неплохо, но то, Томкинс и Тейлор делают руками с помощью миниарфы, синтезаторов, гитары, сэмплеров и прочих прибамбасов, звучит гораздо интереснее. Вначале вместе с дисторшированными пульсациями бита приходит шершавый, но не агрессивный шум, мелко нарубленный цифровой мусор, являющийся последним всплеском активности агонизирующих микросхем, затем все сводиться к классическому фидбэку, чтобы постепенно переродится под дружеские вопли в нечто большее, чем просто «шум». «Sutcliffe Jugend» постепенно выстраивают стену из электроакустических преобразований, смешивая вытянутые звуковые нервы живых и электронных инструментов с типичными приемами шумовиков, обеспечивая обрывкам мелодий, хрупким, неуловимым пассажам и уже довольно осмысленным сэмплам с чьим-то пением падение с последующим медленным растворением в пульсирующие незлобным безумием провалы, из глубин которых вырывается клокочущие звуковые массивы, прореженные с помощью эффектов. В отличие от множества релизов, записанных «чисто пошуметь», «Sans Palatine Uvula» удивляет и приковывает внимание небанальным подходом и звучанием; не грешит интеллектуальным снобизмом, но и не избегает возможности показать себя и своих авторов умнее и занимательнее.