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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Josh Lay - Serotonin Haze [Nil By Mouth - 2008]

I’ve enjoyed what little Josh Lay stuff I’ve heard in the past & appreciated his quite distinctive mix of: noise matter, unhinged ambience, black metal bays & unhinged gruff/ demonic voclising. But I’ve never felt fully satisfied with any full release as they've often felt a bit hit ‘n’ miss from track to track & the intensity/ insanity of the sound often seemed to waver somewhat. But with ‘Serotonin Haze’ he seems to have got everything near perfect in it’s attack, consistency of atmosphere & general grim displeasure.

On offer here are two sides of C30 tape with a single long track on each side of tape. On side one we have the title track which simmers into life with a grim, pained & sickly analogue feed back caustic ambient tone to which pretty soon is added Mr Lays pained & unhinged blacked moans. With-in a few minutes of this Lay opens up a thicker more nasty low-fi electro purr ‘n’ juddering wall of sound with even more hellish & deranged vocals on top & ill at easy feed-back singers/ risers. The rest of the track finds Lay really building one hell of an unpleasant, harrowing & truly unnerving track that’s built around grim, cold & punishing analogue drones, sickly feed back whines & the odd almost inhuman sounding blacked vocal dischargers & bays appearing like very real demon chatter over the brooding & sickly sonic base.

Side two takes in a track called ‘Human Withdrawl’ & this is made up of a very low-fi & fuzzed atmospheric dark harmonic synth trail that sounds like the slowed soundtrack to some sleazed 80’s horror film that’s been left to decay on a twenty plus year tape- the is sound juddering in & out of tone or sonic focus,  as well as wavering with discordance, deep airless muffle & feedback smarts. Lay really builds a very terrifying & sleazy slice of sonic displeasure from such a simple & creepy set of synth lines, but it’s all about the inspired & grim way he effects & alters the tracks throb & prime evil dwell that makes it som grimly specail . Later on vocals appear, but there in a much more subtle manner than the first side- there like distant guttural moans or chilling gruff madman rants heard as if from a distance away. It really is a very spellbindly creepy & sleazy track from beginning to end.

Both sides of ‘Serotonin Haze’ are highly effective in creating a very distinctive grim, sleazy & unhinged atmosphere that leaves you disturbed, creeped-out & more than a little twitchy when the tape finally comes to the end of the secound side.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Roger Batty
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