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Eyes Behind The Wall 3- fest report [2012-09-30]

The 3rd Eyes Behind The Wall fest took place on the 6th of September 2012 at Super Happy Land in Houston Texas.  It saw a host of mainly US based HNW projects taking to the stage to offer up their own brutal, distinctive and sometimes quirky take on this most extreme of sonic forms. The fest was once again hosted/organized by Texas noise legend Richard Ramirez, and equally respected noise artist Sean E. Matzus.

Sadly no M[m] staff could make the event, so instead Zach Guttowsky (of HNW project  Folter, Noise & power electronics project Glasgow Smile, and of in famous Texas noise collective Black Leather Jesus) reviewed most of performances. The two projects (The Red Light Girls & Folter)that Zach took part in were reviewed by long term Texas noise scene veteran Thomas Mortigan of  noise/ HNW projects Black Leather Jesus, Naked Girl Killed In The Park, RU-486, S.O.C.C., and Slaughter-Fetus, and black metal band Octagon. The pictures used through-out the fest review were taken by Carol Sandin Cooley, and are used with her kind permission.


The Red Light Girls

RED LIGHT GIRLS (feat. Richard Ramirez, Sean Matzus, Zack Guttowsky and Chanel Garcia, who was sadly not at this performance) took the stage and pummeled everyone’s brains with a thick and crunchy buildup wall, though it was clear that each member was very focused and allowed to swell and build with the performance, some fading in and out, some looming like a charged raincloud and another maniacally controlling the board as this ear wreckage shared it’s abrasions with the fest’s crowd. Not only was this set ridiculously loud and spot on, but it also had a lot of atmosphere that one would not necessarily associate with a wall set, which is a good thing as well. A timed, planned attack, as it seemed from my end, with devastating results. Well done, gentlemen!

*Review by Thomas Mortigan

Brutalest is the solo Harsh Noise Wall project of Matt LaComette. I have seen only one Brutalest set before and it was great so I was looking forward to seeing this one. The set starts off very abrupt with the sound of an airplane starting up to take flight. As the set continues there are glimpses of very minimal crackle cutting in and out. The whole time this all is going on, LaComette runs his fingers through his long hair, pulling it out as the noise continues to pummel. You could see how aggressive he was being with his hair, for you could see the hair falling through the air onto the ground as he was playing. This action gets faster and faster as LaComette finishes the set. Just before this though, he kicks in another pedal and boosts the solid sound until he finally ends it with a very loud screeching feedback, ending the great set.

Mongrel is the fucked up, gimp mask wearing project of Thomas Mortigan (RU-486). The set started out with a low rumble, quickly (and by quickly I mean 2 seconds) builds into a massive, completely terrifying wall of sound. The Mongrel himself dazes off into his own creation as the dense wall continues to change from dynamic to dynamic. It was like a huge wave of sound coming in and out. It was very “static” like. Coming from an artist who doesn’t usually perform Harsh Noise Wall, the set was marvelous. The only thing I wish that was different about the set is that the sounds Thomas was bringing out lasted longer to truly interpret the marvelous wall of sound. Overall it was still a great set!

Heraghty is the solo project of Randa Golub (The Godless Girl, Ascites). The project is based on using old antique electronics, but completely effect-less. Therefore being solid static. For this set, Randa used a very old 9 transistor radio. For being completely effect-less, this has had to of been the most brutal static I have ever heard. Definitely not your average “hiss”. You can hear the static pulsating as the performance goes on, but at the same time there is still so much other nuances going on that you can barely even tell its pulsing. This went on for about 10 minutes, eventually with the sound dropping to a stop. The set was very meditative and relaxing. Overall a great set.

Tutti I Colori Del Buio
Tutti I Colori Del Buio is one of the solo Harsh Noise Wall projects of Sean Matzus (Thewhitehorse, Black Leather Jesus). Matzus started the set with a dense wall that sounded like what a garbage disposal would sound like, but completely fucked up and awesome. As the set continued, the lo-fi sound you could vaguely hear in the beginning starts to grow as the sound changes very subtly in the background. I could feel the density of the sound rumbling the seat I was sitting in. You can tell Matzus was focusing very closely on the minimal changes he was bringing towards his wall. Overall the set was very interesting. It thoroughly kept my attention!

Grusom DOD
Grusom DOD is an anonymous Harsh Noise Wall project with revolving members. The project has had three releases so far, once again, all with different members that remain anonymous. Even though the project is anonymous, the performer tonight gave his identity away. But that’s okay because I’m glad I was able to see who performed this amazing set! Robert Newsome was the man behind the madness (White Gimp Mask, Streetmeat). He started the set by lying on top of two people in the audience while he had a loud pummeling wall that sounded very jittery going on. He then got up off of the peoples laps and grabbed his contact mic ferociously as he started to shake it in a very violent manner, releasing a very minimal chain+mic sound with a mild distortion over it. Once he finished this, he ran and sat across a different group of people in the audience. Once he finished this last piece of his set, Newsome brought in a sound clip while the wall was still going, ran away from the set, and was never seen again.!

Painful Vigil
Painful Vigil is the comedic Harsh Noise Wall project of Carol (Zahava) and Austin (Concrete Violin) Cooley. Usually it is just the two performing, but this time they had Nathan Golub fill in as their “personal assistant/protégé”. The two sat in tall bar-like chairs. Both dressed very professionally. Carol sat there filing her nails, not saying a word, while Austin started off with a introduction, stating who they both were, and that he is the “greatest noise artist in the world”. After the brief intro, Austin cued Nathan in to start the wall. The first of three segments of the wall was very strict and dynamic. This went on for about 4-5 minutes until Nathan shut off the sound. Austin barely complimented Nathan on his work by saying something like “That almost sounded like something I would do, you’re getting better”. He then instructed Nathan to stare at one of the people in the crowd, trying to make them urinate as the wall went on. Nathan started the wall, and surely enough started deep into the person’s eyes. He definitely looked intimidating. Nathan cut the sound off and Austin replied “That was good, only if I had done it I would have actually made the person piss their pants”. During the last segment, Nathan was instructed to look like he was very bored. He started the set, and before sitting down with his head body slouched over on a bench, he fiddled with the knobs on the pedals (Also instructed by his master, Austin) changing the wall to a very loud ear piercing cluster of a variety of dynamic equalized sounds. After this, Austin states that they have to leave now to go attend a Mitt Romney fund raiser. Such an entertaining set as usual.

Forecast is the solo project of Sisto Rossi (Wallkeeper). I have never seen this project live before, but have been on a split release with him in the past. Even though I had never seen this project live before, it was damn good. Rossi started the set off with a low ended rumble with mid end crackles on top of all of it. As the set went on, the wall had very subtle changes that you would not be able to notice if you were not truly focused on this massive wall that Sisto was creating. It’s hard to describe the changes, other than that they sounded very muffled and as if someone was shuffling around a big pile of dried up leaves. This lasted for about 8 minutes, until about ¾ of the way through, he switched off one of his effects, boosting the sound of his already enormous wall even more. From there the low end sound he had going, switched to a very high end sound that was very intense. The performance eventually halted to a stop. This set was great. I definitely see myself heading over to the merch table to buy some Forecast merch.

Rape Victim Revenge
Rape Victim Revenge is the first ever project of Joe Jacobs (Washington). Joe has bought noise releases from me before over the internet, but I have never had the privilege to actually meet him in person. Not only was this his first time playing in Texas, this was his first time EVER performing with this project. I know that performing the first time ever can be nerve wrecking, but Joe seemed VERY confident with his setup and what he was about to do. Before starting his set, Joe put on a pair of aviator sunglasses, and then started up his wall. From the start the wall blew my hair back. Nothing quiet or minimal about this one. This set catered an awful lot of screeching high end sounds. Definitely not a bad thing though. As the set went on, the minimal dynamic changes brought the wall to a low tumble of bass, rushing to an end. A very good first impression/performance by this artist!

HARD is yet another “comical” Harsh Noise Wall act. But this one features Johnathan Cash (Breakdancing Ronald Reagan), and Matt LaComette (Aunts Analog, Sex Bruises). The first thing I notice is that they are standing in front of a table that is covered in hotdogs and a huge bowl of nacho cheese. They started off by announcing that the set was going to be a “Harsh Noise Wall eating contest”. This definitely got me anxious to see what they were about to do. Immediately after that, they started the loud obnoxious wall coming not only from the venues PA, but from two additional amplifiers. You can get the idea of how loud it was. The mixture of sounds coming from the six speakers on stage could best be described as a roasting boar mixed with the sounds of a ferocious tornado destroying anything in line with its path of destruction. The whole time I was wondering if they were going to actually eat the hotdogs, but in the end no hotdogs were actually eaten. Still a GREAT set though.

Death.Sick.Cunt. is the solo project of Mark Church (Welby). He is probably the only “Priest” I will ever find myself in constant contact with. The first thing I noticed was his huge setup of gear. I knew this was going to be good after seeing his setup. The father himself started the set off with a sound clip, which began to change in pitch until it got so low it led right into the priests mastermind wall. The sound was so heavy and dirty. While this is happening, church stands in front of a table covered in Jesus candles and holy water. He then pulls a baby out of his pants, and covers it in blood. Again, all while this torturing, gritty wall blows the crowds ears. He then starts burning a cross with one of the Jesus candles he had on his table of holy devices. Mark finished the set by putting out all the candles with more blood. The set ended with a slight dynamic change, with the sound clip from the beginning coming back in, eventually halting to a stop. A very amusing/great set!

FOLTER: Probably his most refined and controlled set to date; Folter took the stage with an impressive table of gear that I was for sure thinking would topple over at any second due to the weight. Sonically, his set embraced high end minimalism with just the right amount of static and crunch. Layers of dense, thick waves filled the room and created a dark and disturbing atmosphere. This guy has been making a lot of waves with his projects (also see Russian Greed, Permanent Outlet, Sister Fister, etc.) as well as his highly prolific Burial Recordings label. His sound is a force to be reckoned with. Definitely a big highlight of the EBTW fest!

*Review by Thomas Mortigan

Stoned To Death
Stoned to Death is the non-sober Harsh Noise Wall project of Jackson Wallis (So Boring). One might think the term “Stoned to Death” means being physically hit with rocks, but rather it’s the state of not being sober. The set started with a low rumble, almost what an earthquake would sound like if you were underground. It quickly led into a burst of analog static, clipping as it made its way through this heavy mixture of sounds. The whole time this is going on, Jackson truly looked “Stoned To Death”. You could tell his wall was sucking him in to a deep trance. He even got off stage and sat in the audience seating with his head in-between his knees interpreting his own wall he had created. The wall stayed solid the whole time but never got old. One of the best sets of the night in my opinion. Also the longest set. As Don Walsh (Rusted Shut) said at the end, “He goes for the limit”

Nathan Golub
Nathan Golub is simply Nathan Golub (Ascites, The Godless Girl). This was the first time he had ever performed under his name solo. The wall started very glitch-like. It almost sounded like a flock of small birds were fighting each other on top of a rumbling pile of falling rocks. As the set goes on, the high pitched nuances grow louder. Nathan appears to be tweaking a lot of knobs were subtly to achieve the perfect mixture of sounds, and he does a damn good job of doing so. The sounds during this performance changed very little. It made for a very unique listening experience. Towards the end, Nate swiftly turns the knobs on his devices, creating one big sound fuck of glitchy sounds, eventually, ending to a quiet stop. An awesome first solo set by Nathan Golub himself.

L’occhio Dietro La Parete
The last performance of the night was L'OCCHIO DIETRO LA PARETE. One of Richard Ramirez’s many Harsh Noise Wall projects. This was the debut performance for the master of noise himself project L’occhio Dietro La Parete. Ramirez starts the set with a low radio static sound. Very minimal, but very soothing. This sound gradually led up to a louder and louder wall of harsh hissing static. The sound seems like it never stopped growing. As time went on, you could begin to hear various discreet textures move around the wall as it fry’s the audience’s brain. Very slow moving, but definitely one of the loudest sets of the night. The wall tumbled and tumbled until the last sound of the performance abruptly changed into a low, jet engine like rumble, which then switched back into the previous sound, back into the same jet engine sound. The whole set lasted for about 10 minutes. Ramirez ended the show with the last textures that would be heard that night. One of the best performances I’ve seen from Ramirez yet.


Thanks to Zach & Thomas for their great reviews, and thanks to Carol for her great pictures. Eyes Behind The Wall fest has a blog page here.

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