Werewolf Jerusalem / Robert Ridley-Shack - April Fool [Hissing Frames - 2014]Hissing Frames presents April Fools, a 3-way split CD-R from Werewolf Jerusalem, Robert Ridley-Shackleton, and She Walks Crooked. The prolific Werewolf Jerusalem is of course a staple and Scott Kinberg’s, She Walks Crooked, project has really been picking up steam. However, I’m unfamiliar with the UK-based Robert RIdley-Shackleton and his Hissing Frames label.
The art and packaging are rather unremarkable. It’s just a simple xeroxed fold-over featuring cover art that looks like an assemblage of ripped up paper with very little info on back. While I appreciate the D.I.Y. or die aesthetic, the overall art really didn’t add anything to the release. However, the sounds contained on the disc, for the most part, make up for the lackluster presentation.
April Fools is an unmarked CD-R featuring a single track from each artist involved. Each piece runs about 10 minutes in length and showcases various iterations on the wall-noise aesthetic. The first piece is another strong entry by Richard Ramirez’s Werewolf Jerusalem project. According to Discogs the track is entitled “All Blood Red,” although there are no titles listed anywhere on the cover. That said, the track consists of really minimal static crackle, which is great since I tend to gravitate to towards that minimal aesthetic. It sounds like one chain was used on this one. The crackle starts out at a slow to mid-paced crawl, almost sounding akin to electricity coursing through power lines if you stand close enough and listen intently. About 2 minutes in the minimal crackle gets a bass boost and takes on a punchier character that ebbs and flows over the remaining 8 minutes. Classic wall-noise that’s as good as anything he has released on his higher profile releases.
Unfortunately, the second untitled track by Robert Ridley-Shackleton didn’t leave as much of a lasting impression on me. Right out the gates the track felt very thin and recorded too low. It’s rapid fire static crunch with another line of atmospheric exhaust that slowly fades in. That might’ve been all well and good, but it doesn’t quite sound massive enough to get the point across. Around 2 and a half minutes in the track goes full on static wash, which sounds like straight radio fuzz, but without any sculpting or manipulating. From there on out, the the wall bounces around quite a bit from rapidly shifting low-end waves to dull electric hum. I actually grimaced toward the end of the track... just one too many shifts for me to really enjoy as a wall track, but not nearly dynamic enough for me to enjoy as a harsh noise piece.
Luckily enough She Walks Crooked steers us back on course with a no holds barred track of brutal HNW destruction. It’s a rapid fire stream of harsh, crumbling chaos. If you can imagine playing a loop of a building being leveled by a demolition crew (the sounds of: exploding concrete, shattering glass, burning wood, and billowing smoke), then you might begin to approximate the sounds on this piece. It’s quite the contrast from the other tracks on this disc and further exemplifies the nuances to be found in the wall-noise aesthetic.
In conclusion, I thought this disc delivered on showcasing various sounds and styles to be found in a rather narrowly focused genre. That said, both the Werewolf Jerusalem and She Walks Crooked tracks were great. The Robert Ridley-Shackleton track would’ve benefited from a better recording, as it lacked the power of the 1st and 3rd track, and greater focus. It takes a certain commitment and laser-like focus to keep sounds steady, delivering just the right amount of shifts while retaining a wall’s monolithic qualities. This disc delivers on that notion 2 out of 3 times, which isn’t bad...it isn’t bad at all.