Wram - I Don’t Know Where You Lost Your Eye [Bad Rip Series/Ink Runs Recordings - 2014]
Wram is a new name to me, but “I Don’t Know Where You Lost Your Eye” arrives on a familiar label. Bad Rip Series is a side-label of Julien Skrobek’s Ink Runs Recordings - one of the more exciting ventures around recently. Both labels tend to have simple, effective, striking packaging and this Wram release is no different. The cdr contains one long track, just over eighteen minutes, which covers a fair amount of Harsh Noise ground. The track begins with pop music and speech being fed through distortion and delay, stuttered and staggered into a lo-fi mess. The source for these sounds may well be a radio and it’s static spit is soon replicated as more purer noise elements take over. Although there are many things which point towards the vague confines of Harsh Noise Walls, such as static textures and clear attention to textural detail, the piece as a whole would be considered to be Harsh Noise by most. There are short passages where a wall is maintained, but, for the most part, “I Don’t Know Where You Lost Your Eye” is very, very active; constantly. Though, there’s no hectic cutting between sounds or elements, but a restless shifting and tweaking. The bulk of the track is made up of rough noise, predominantly with a concentration on mid-frequency churn and skree. The low frequencies are there - often as a rumbling drone - and the treble is present and correct, but there’s no sense of dedicated, careful frequency sculpting; the kind of thing you might normally associate with, for example, one of Julien Skrobek’s projects. Thats not to say there aren’t exquisite moments - one section in particular, near the end, has beautiful crackling over a whistling synth wind - but they remain moments: where a wall artist would settle on such a texture, explore it and luxuriate in it, Wram moves on to the next tweak.
This isn’t by any means a bad release, the problem (for my ears) might simply be that I assign high expectations to anything connected to Julien Skrobek - and this doesn’t entirely measure up. It works as an old-school Harsh Noise blast, but still suffers from being too active/not active enough, in my opinion. That difficult middle-ground where you’re maintaining neither tension nor barrage. However, there are a few passages of more shining textures and interplay and I would be intrigued to hear more.Martin P