Churner - Static Beauty [Violent Noise Atrocities - 2009]Dan E, also known as Krimson, has released a large number of mostly noise oriented releases as Churner. "Static Beauty" is the best selling album on Churner's own Violent Noise Atrocity label, and it's not hard to see why. The sound is meaty, rough, physical and often improvisational as many forms of noise are... yet absolutely possessed of a sense of beauty (as indicated by the album title), drama and even melody, in several indisputable cases.
grungy, black metal-esque picked clean riff slowly emerges from a suspenseful yet harmonious bed of tense electronic shimmer in opener "Statik Beauty". A lone squealing feedback voice takes the place of human vocals, spitting and snarling out sorrows.
"Three Dimensional Deceiver" is trebley, windswept fuzz, like a low fidelity mic placed on a stormy hilltop. Until Krimson's characteristic whisper-scream enters after a little less than a minute for its first appearance on the album. His sound is obviously inspired by black metal in that it sounds like a lost spirit or a ghost, gasping and hissing, but its much lower than your usual necro shriek. He conveys what I would call a violent melancholy. The poetic cadence of the lyrics make the piece mesmerizing. "I know who you are..."
"Decimator" is a tragically epic synth melody thrown into delicious overload. I usually dislike noise with cheap, fuzzy, digital sounding distortions, but it really fits what he's doing here, and nowhere else on the album does it sound like this... I can't complain. This has grown into one of my favorite tracks. It stands out from the rest of the album in that it feels either sequenced or through composed. It begins as single notes and later becomes a harmonized progression of chords. This track really showcases Krimson's flair for romanticism, and his remarkable ability to pull off gushing emotional intensity within the often completely unsentimental noise idiom, all without losing a scrap of dignity. You feel his raw passion here.
With the 4th track "Revoided", "Static Beauty" becomes another kind of album - sparsser, looser and harsher, more easily classifiable as 'harsh noise' or 'power electronics'. Each of the final 5 tracks sounds completely improvised, and consist mostly of the Krimson's heavily distorted and otherwise processed voice. Bits of drone and harsh noise are sometimes overlayed, but always mixed to the back to make room for Krimson's vocal. "Lost In You", for example, is vocals over an insistent, rich electronic hum which becomes a buzz and finally a squealing siren whine. The modulations of the underlying electronic tone wonderfully compliment the building energy of the vocals. "NEVER BE THE SAME...", Krimson howls into the wind. We got a little taste of this kind of style with "Three Dimensional Deceiver", but even for that track it sounded like the lyrics must have been written beforehand, meaning it was a more pre-meditated piece. These later tracks do not distinguish themselves as well as the first few; they are hard to tell from other or to bring to mind after the record ends, but they are cathartic, visceral experiences that compliment the other aspects of Churner's sound well.
In "Dissolved" we find Krimson again using his voice as a creator of harsh noise. Rather than relying on feedback and extraneous sounds of the microphone, most of the noise appears to be produced using his actual voice, showing his power as a performer. There appear to be few layers, yet this is an impressively enveloping, huge sound. It's my favorite of the second half of the record.
The closer "Outside the Window" is the album's densest, most overloaded piece and creates some nice crunchy HNW-esque sounds. Though the track does have vocals, the mix is so dense I can't really make anything out and I think it feels like HNW. I'm glad he chose to end on this note.
"Static Beauty" is a balanced, listenable piece of work with enough catchy moments to stick in your mind but never to compromise its integrity. Both the melodic, emotional passages and full on harsh noise improvs are executed with confidence and prove quite satisfying. The pieces themselves are only loosely structured, but I would guess a significant amount of thought was put into the track ordering, and this is truly an album where each element and style included is used with taste. You couldn't ask for a more accessible noise record, and this would be a great album to introduce someone to the genre with.Josh Landry