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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Catholic - My War (Tone Obsession I) [Kafkex Rex - 2012]

English HNW/PE label Kafkex Rex presents My War (Tone Obsession I) by HNW act Catholic. As the title suggests, this c45 offers 2 side long tracks of wall noise dedicated to Black Flag’s album of the same name. Truthfully, I know very little about Catholic, only that they have a few releases on Kafkex, which leads me to believe that it’s likely the project of the label-runner. As with most Kafkex releases, this is extremely limited to 5 pieces, and being released in 2012 I’m most certain this is long gone.

The art is basically the cover of Black Flag’s My War with the Catholic logo. The Catholic logo itself a play on the Black Flag bars logo, with upside down and rightside up crosses being the first and last bars. It’s b&w xeroxed and DIY as fuck. No complaints here. The cassette itself is an unlabeled Maxell c90. The original promo for the release said it was on white cassettes, so my copy is either a review copy or a reissue.

Both side long tracks follow an interesting recording formula:1) An intro. 2) The first ten minutes of the track is a recorded through a mic’ed dirty bass amp with a worn cone. 3) The final 10 minutes is recorded straight from the mixer.

Side A starts with a sample of the Black Flag’s title track “My War.” About 20 seconds in the sample is replaced by the wall. The wall consists of a bassy rumbling mass with a fuzzy crackle underneath. It’s very lo-fi and the slowly churning rumble almost sounds tribal at times, like the repetitive pounding of a bongo drum. The static crackle works its way underneath, ebbing and flowing in it’s prominence, yet it’s still enveloped by the thick churn of the bass.  Mid-way through the track, the  veiled is lifted and the static crackle becomes the focal point. The bass rumble is still there, but it seems to have switched positions with the crackle. Not doubt from the recording process, switching from the mic’ed amp to straight from the mixer.

Side B starts with a sample of “Nothing Left Inside,” one of the slower, chunkier numbers on My War. This sample plays a bit longer than side A before the wall starts. In terms of consistency, I actually think this would’ve have made a better intro to side A, as the wall was really dense and slow moving. Side B’s wall is much more vigorous, really emphasizing a granular crackle, with a static fuzz undercurrent. This wall is much more dynamic than the first, which sounded a bit too muddy for my tastes. Again much like the first wall, about 10-11 minutes in the sounds embedded in the wall seem to flip flop, with the static undercurrent taking precedence over the grainier sounding crackle.

My War, while not the most dynamic or immersive HNW, it’s effective enough in scope and purpose. Enough so that I’d be willing to give Catholic another spin. As I was listening to this, I couldn’t help but wonder what Henry Rollins’ (being an avid collector and fan of noise) assessment of this would be? On the flip side, you might want to keep this as far away from Greg Ginn as possible, lest you have deep pockets. You rebellious noise artists and your total disregard of copyright laws.

Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5

Hal Harmon
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