Where Is This - Narcissus At The Gym [Bored Bear Records - 2011]Mark Ward's Where Is This is one of the few Irish noise projects I’m aware of, it's been active since 2008 and it's fluctuated between experimental, harsh noise and harsh noise wall genres with ease and skill since it started.
"Narcissus At The Gym", released through the acts' own Bored Bear Records, leans towards the drone/experimental and power electronics grounds, with its very liquid, hypnotic and extra-delayed cauldron of sounds.
The homoerotic cover art, the titles and the excellent booklet of this tape tell us tales of queer, self-obsessed masturbation in an appropriately chaotic stream of thoughts manner. It might not be everybody's cup of tea since it's about sweaty cocks, but it's nice to have very descriptive and well thought concepts presented in noise releases sometimes. It's something to look at and think about while listening and it enhances the whole package.
I found the thirty minutes of this tape thoroughly enjoyable in their wide spectrum of emotions and frequencies. The extreme abuse of delay effects are disorienting at first, but after ones ears adjust to the sound it becomes soothing, while the feedback-driven pieces are pretty good and intense, calling to mind classic british power electronics and drone music.
Overall, “Narcissus At The Gym” is well balanced and less aggressive than expected. Even if it should be the first Where Is This power electronics release, the whole experience is almost easy listening chill out music to my ears. I don't mean this as a negative comment at all though, and I think that Mark Ward has done a good job which clearly shows he can conceive and effectively render noise music compositions and the feelings he has in mind. In conclusion I give two thumbs up to this tape and recommend it to fans of good ‘n’ creative noise.Nicola Vinciguerra