Sleep of Ages/Where is This - History is Written by the Handsome [Bored Bear Recordings - 2013]Bored Bear Recordings presents History is Written by the Handsome, a split CD-R from Sleep of Ages and Where is This. Sleep of Ages is the prolific harsh noise, industrial project by Elias C from São Paulo, Brazil. Elias also does HNW under the Carrion Black Pit moniker and, more recently, industrial/power electronics as EXU. While I enjoy all his projects, Sleep of Ages certainly sticks out as my favorite. Elias’s ability to seamlessly fuse various aspects of harsh electronics with brushes of sci-fi flair and even melodic elements is always an engaging experience to digest. Where is This is a project I’m less familiar with, despite having amassed a respectable sized back catalog since 2009. WIT is the noise project of one Mark Ward, based out of Dublin, Ireland.
The plain CD-R is housed in a simple xeroxed cover, featuring a rather suave dude who looks a character out of a history book that I can’t quite place my finger on. The release is limited to a mere 15 copies, so good luck trying to find a physical copy.
This disc contains 4 tracks. The first 4 tracks are occupied by Sleep Of Ages, with Where is This presenting the final 3.
Sleep of Ages starts things off with “Circle Of Dead Flowers (This Grace).” The track combines elements of wall noise, harsh noise crumble, high end screeching, and some blown out thudding. Elias melds some really menacing textures on this opening piece, but what really stands out are the vocals. I’m not quite sure what effects he is using, but they are creepy as fuck! As I was driving (in broad daylight mind you) those vocals kicked in and it immediately made my hairs stand on end. I felt like I was caught off guard by some sinister voyeur whispering into my ear. Whao!
The following track “Scar” is a sonic maelstrom of low end static tones, high pitched feedback, and what sounds like an alarm ringing in the distance. “My Mission Is Submission” fuses pulsing electronic drone, dense and dark, contrasted with brighter electronics in the background. The dense drone subsists some in the track’s mid-section allowing the sprightlier electronics to become more present, but then becomes subsumed once again by darker tones and broken static. SOA’s final track “Blackened Womb” is an interplay of wibbly, wobbly synth work, low end static tones, and high end feedback. We’re once again reminded how remarkably well Elias is able to these combine seemingly disparate sounds for maximum output.
Where is This starts off his output with “Loss Of Belief (Children's Tv Shows)” and I must admit it did not sound as I was expecting it to. For some reason, I was under the impression that WIT was a HNW outfit. What I discovered with track 5, was a pleasant surprise. Ward’s track opens with sprightly synth tones working in a rhythmic pattern. There’s some throbbing low end tones working underneath, but the rhythmic synth is in full command. As the track progresses the bright rhythmic tones degrade into vigorously churning electronic static and pulsing noise sounds. A really great opening track that really took me off guard.
Ward’s 2nd track “Statement Of Fact,” a short little piece (around 2 minutes), is a cacophonous blend of rapid static wash, wavering drone noise, and high end feedback. It’s a short and sweet track for sure, but a welcome swift kick in the pants.
WIT’s final track “Drowning In The Ball Pit” is in fact a HNW jam, and unfortunately is the only piece I didn’t really care for on the whole disc. The track starts off fine enough: vigorously moving crackly/crumbly static mixed with a low end juddering. The crackle becomes more broken up as the track progresses, but then momentarily comes to a halt around 2:40. As the track churns on we get a lot more fits and starts, that frankly kind of annoyed me. I need to really immerse myself into wall noise to fully appreciate it and these abrupt, silent breaks made it impossible for me to get into that immersive state. I suppose it’s not the worst offense to be committed, but it detracted from an otherwise competent slice of wall making. I expect those break in a harsh noise or cut up track, but HNW is a meditative experience for me. The track continues in that fashion for 10 minutes or so, which really isn’t my cup of tea. All in all, I enjoyed 2 of his 3 tracks.
Through and through this was an exceptional split between these two international noisers. I thought the Sleep of Ages tracks were flawless and Where is This gets a close, but no cigar. The last track was the only sore spot on an otherwise perfect release.