Hardcore Biscuit - Half Girl, Half Biscuit [Lips Infection - 2010]Despite the playful exterior of this cdr, the sounds within lean towards the more serious and measured side of things. “Half Girl, Half Biscuit” is presented in a bright pink card inlay, concealing a cdr spray-painted pink. The front cover has a picture drawn by Nicola Vinciguerra (the mind behind Fecalove and Turgid Animal Records Italian Division), which depicts a chap being trampled on by a pair of high heels…with biscuits on his stomach - on a background of biscuits. I think, seeing this, I expected some harsh shit-noise or something; but instead Hardcore Biscuit comes at things from pretty much the opposite direction.
Its a very clean album; noisy, harsh, incredibly distorted at times - but nevertheless clean. There’s no real analogue grind or squeal; all the sounds are digital sounding and very controlled. In fact, I’d like to wager that a lot of the time a Kaoss Pad is being used in some way; not so much because of the qualities of the sound, but actually because of the manner of their manipulation. Sounds are pulled this direction and that, in the real-time way that a Kaoss Pad excels at: sounds slowly crumpling into clicking bass dirges, or shot out through different frequency filters at lightning speed. There may not be a Kaoss Pad behind all this, but it gives you a sense of how the sounds sometimes move on the album.
The sounds themselves are based on a fairly limited palette: lots of clipping bass noise and treble shriek; but there’s also little loops of voice and dialogue, as well as a field recording of some traffic, which bizarrely gets unveiled in “My Cat’s Delicacy”. Despite the very distorted nature of the album, there’s no sense of “noise as attack”; more, “noise as sound”. The elements of “Half Girl, Half Biscuit” are controlled and deployed with patience, on the whole. The first track, “Long Nails”, is a long series of ravaged plateaux - very akin to “doom drone” guitars - underpinning some looping ethereal lines. There’s a nice tension between these elements, and, despite my aversion to anything “doom drone”, its a captivating listen. There’s a curious tension in the next track too (“Emollient O’Bitch”), which maintains a sense of constant drone, whilst constructing said drone from several high-pitched elements moving freely between each other. Possibly the most striking track (apart from “Long Nails”) is “Patina”; this is a long blown-out squall, a suffocating wall of dulled noise which eventually finds its way to a blanket of hiss. It’s like HNW from a distance, with little texture or crunch. However, not all of the album is this patient or slow moving; the second half of “My Cat’s Delicacy” is very busy indeed, with sounds jumping in and out, and moving around the stereo-field. The last track, perhaps the only one that stands out in terms of its general sound, gets very chaotic and cluttered. “Everybody Is Deserved To Be Happy…. Yes” is created using music-box type sounds and chimes, as well as some noisy bass stabs creeping underneath. It throws numerous runs of percussive sounds through the speakers, at different speeds and pitches; and were it not for the pretty, melodic nature of the runs, it would probably be quite a bewildering listen.
At it’s best, this is a good album; with a nice array of tones, atmospheres and tensions. It’s also an album created by Megumi Shibata - further evidence, I hope, of increasing female noise activity.Martin P