Churner - Against the Grains [Violent Noise Atrocities - 2009]The spectularly prolific Krimson had a busy year in 2009, releasing in more than two dozen releases as Churner on his own Violent Noise Atrocities label. Amongst them was this 3" CD, entitled "Against the Grains". Here, Krimson delivers an appropriately 'churning' 20 minute slice of emotionally neutral harsh noise wall. His tendencies towards freewheeling harsh noise freakouts and general frantic activities are mostly suppressed, though I intuit there are bursts of restless activity just beneath the threshold of audibility. There is a 'foreground' and a 'background'; a feeling of spacial depth and denseness, showcasing the sophistication and intuitive intelligence of Churner's compositions.
The barage is mostly constant, at first revealing only very slight changes even under close examination, sounding quite similar to the thoughtless oblivion of Vomir. The piece slowly stretches into an expansive echoscape, but never becomes 'ambient'. Slight tonal shifts occur in the resonances and the track starts to resemble a howling wind around 10 minutes, and dips significantly in harshness for a short time. Some classic sounding filter sweeps that any Merzbow listener would recognize become obvious around 6 minutes, and at the end, when a high pass filter turns the wall into a screeching whitewash before the machines click off with a heavy, satisfying crackle. I've always thought the abrupt track cutoff was noise music's greatest dramatic compositional device.
The overall texture of the wall, the most important attribute to any HNW release, is thick and physical, achieving surprising nuance with what sounds like cheap equipment (other Churner releases sound significantly more lo-fi). As with Vomir, no particular frequency band is emphasized, and there is no attempt to give this particular wall a distinctive or memorable character. In this way, it is philosophically 'pure' harsh noise wall - "entertainment" is not the aim, only an overall assaulting, animalistic experience. For the purposes of "Against the Grains", Churner's at times gushingly romantic intensity is distilled into simple clarity of intent.
The bottom line is that I find "Against the Grains" to be a solid entry into the impressive discography of Churner, and a great example of the aesthetic and credo of the HNW movement. It doesn't stand out much from the pack, but then, I doubt it's intended to. This is for people who love harsh noise wall, and understand that it often comes from the collective unconscious, rendering the distinguishing of individual artists from each other unnecessaryJosh Landry