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Kindvriendelijk - 21 Februari 1916 [Usain Bolt Records - 2010]

In 2010, Kindvriendelijk released "21 Februari 1916", 20 minutes of grey monochrome noise with WW1 themed titles and artwork.  I'd advise against taking the packaging too seriously, since once the disk is playing, there are no samples or sounds to establish a theme or specific atmosphere, just meaty chunks of abstract static.

For the first of the two tracks, "March of Death", there's a short fade in to thick, churning and pure low-mid distortion of a rare and pleasant transparency and evenness, all crunch, completely blasted and overloaded but actually not too harsh on the ears, and full of analog warmth.  It's presented in an almost wall-like scratching rhythm, like a fingernail moving rapidly on the grill of a very sensitive microphone, with tiny lulls and pauses between movements.  Underneath this is an understated sub-bass tone, audible in the fractions of seconds between scorching scratches.  There is little to no reverb, and the breaks in the sound lead me to believe there are only one or two sound sources, meaning this is not really 'enveloping' noise, or one of those recordings for discovering 'hidden' or subliminal sounds.  This noise is full of deep frequencies but also largely monophonic - direct, tight and centered.  Clever filtering on occasion takes us down underwater, reducing the noise to distant rumbling for a few brief seconds before resurfacing/disengaging back into the weatherbeaten havoc.

The second track, "Axe of War" is much denser, with more phase sweeps, spacial levels, swells of sound like gusts of hurricane wind, and short glimpses of voice here and there, confirming my suspicion that this is microphone noise.  A wet, pressure washer distortion sports more of a high end and less overall fullness than the first piece, but there is no question we are deeper in the natural chaos of the maelstrom, and better for it.  After several minutes begin some very nice minimal segments, in which a single wall texture swells and brews angrily in smooth progressive movement over several minutes, creating the eerie illusion of perpetual consuming and advancing.  During these moments, the best on the album, Kindvriendelijk has clearly reached the perfect beatific union with the noise that all such musicians seek.

I can't imagine any fan of harsh noise or HNW thinking this 3" doesn't sound good.  If it's quality distortion you're looking for, here's 20 minutes of it.  Still, I can likely name 20 noise recordings with more distinctiveness, attitude, and visceral excitement than this without batting an eye.  Therefore, this one is really for fans of the genre, people who are already familiar with the prerequisite kings of bass-heavy, mean sounds like this: Lasse Marhaug, The Haters, etc

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

Josh Landry
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