Various Artists - Less-Lethal Vol 1 [ALKU - 2007]Noise and sound have a long history of being used in warfare and crowd control with it’s first mention been in 1550 BC according to the informative booklet that comes with this compilation, Less-Lethal Vol 1 offers up 11 new sound/ noise weapons and attacks from the cream of today’s noise and sound artists.
We have a track a piece from the following; Carlos Giffoni, Lasse Marhaug, Dave Phillips, Francisco López, Gæoudjiparl van den Dobbelsteen, Justice Yeldham, Mark Fell, Powerbooks for Peace, Torturing Nurse, Weasel Walter and Zbigniew Karkowski. Instead of just throwing out tracks of all out structure-less noise each artists has clearly given a lot of thought to their own interpretations of warfare- so it’s a varied and surprisingly very listenable collection, with of course some tracks that really do tests your patience’s and sanity. We go from the tongue in cheek use of Cerline Dion over the end of Lasse Marhaug searing pitch attack of Enhanced Interrogation Technique. To the weird primal and disturbing vocal sample and chant of Dave Phillips Wright Rong that has almost bizarre industrial chug to it. To the stuck/ looped radio, easy listening jarring pitches of Torturing Nurse’s Repeating Weapon which is highly testing. Another simple but clever and very testing track is Gæoudjiparl van den Dobbelsteen Gedesmaelde that keeps cutting in an out of a terrible French rap metal track- that you really makes your skin crawl.
As mentioned already the compilation comes with highly informative and interesting 16 page booklet that details the history of noise and sound in warfare and crowd control and how the project came about. Along with the texts there’s a very interesting decibel comparison chat between environmental and musical noise too. So all in all a highly enjoyable project, that hopeful will just be the first of many compilations as the vol one in the title suggests. Wouldn’t it be great to hear Merzbow’s, Wolf Eyes, The Rita’s or many others take on sound wepons too?Roger Batty