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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

Acerbitas/Chantal - Pear of Anguish/Knee Splitter [Muzikaal Kabaal - 2013]

Muzikaal Kabaal presents another entry in their 3” Gnome Project series. For this volume we have Pear of Anguish/Knee Splitter, a 2-way split between the U.K.’s Acerbitas and the Netherlands’ Chantal. As evidenced by the series’ title, all entries are on a 3” CD-r representing various forms of harsh noise and HNW. The artists on this small slab offer 2 different takes on the wall-noise aesthetic.

Similar to the other discs in this series (or sub-label if you will), this 3” CD-r comes in a small, black plastic case. The full color insert is adorned with what looks like medieval torture devices. Of course I’m no expert on medieval torture devices, so I could be way off base, but that’s what they look like. The disc itself is plain with no markings.


Acerbitas is the HNW-making alter ego of Michael Ridge. Based out of the U.K., Ridge is a multi-talented audio/visual artist also known for his harsh noise project Zebra Mu and record label Quagga Curious Sounds. My first experience with Ridge’s sound-sculpting was his Live Malfunctions 3” (as Zebra Mu), a few reviews ago. I enjoyed that release quite a bit, so I was excited to see this split also included in my review pile. Acerbitas’ offering for the split, “Pear of Anguish,” is a 10 minute juggernaut of caustic wall noise. Pummeling and unrelenting, his wall is based on rapidly punching bass and jagged static crackle. It feels very tightly wound, like the sounds are trying to escape an impenetrable enclosure, giving the track a real claustrophobic element. Overall the sound is very raw and muddy, just like a good wall track should sound. There’s not a lot of movement on this track, just a punishing wall of sound.


Chantal is the moniker of Jelle Koning, who is also the owner of Muzikaal Kabaal. Koning’s track “Knee Splitter,” occupies the second half of the split. It clocks in at 9:59 and despite the violent title, this piece has a much calmer tone than the previous track. Chantal focuses more on warmer tones than crushing violence, with a sound that accentuates static fuzz and white noise. That’s not to say that Chantal’s piece is all warm and fuzzy....well maybe it is, but that’s okay. I’m sure to the untrained listener this would probably sound like a monolithic block of aural death and dismemberment, but to my ears it’s very meditative.


This slim disc really contrasts two different aesthetics in wall-making. The first track being destructive and unrelenting, the second sounding like a lo-fi, sonic meditation. Each track worked equally in it’s own right, but I especially liked the sum of the parts. Sometimes there’s nothing better than being shocked into a frenzy and then being lulled into slumber. A great representation of the yin-yang of wall noise.

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

Hal Harmon
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