Nar - Island [Altar Of Waste - 2014]Island is a four disc CDR set from this highly secretive walled noise project. And offered up here is some of the most punishing, extreme, and truly hopeless HNW recorded by this project (or any other project) ever.
The release appears on Minneapolis based Altar Of Waste-the label of highly prolific Drone & walled noise artist Cory Strand. The set comes in the label house style clear DVD case, and features fittingly sparse monochrome artwork- which takes in minimal text, and a single picture on the front cover( of either a explosion on a island, or a tightly cropped ‘n’ stark picture of tide coming in). Each of the four disc follow the similar design, and just take in minimal white text of a black background.
Each of the four discs here takes in just a single track, and each of these comes in at the 79 minute mark. The albums write-up at AOW website mentions French wall noise extremist Vomir, and that’s a fair reference point, but Nar’s take on no-holds- barred, truly intense & head-crushing wall craft is very much his own.
Disc one features the track “My Own World”, and this is built around three or four layers of almost identical tonally similar noise, and I’ll guess you say these are somewhere between lower-to-mid range. One has a thick bubble water like feel, another a mid-paced juddering, and another filling water like feel- these are all weaved together into a extremely dense & truly impenetrable matt of sound, which is fed out into a unchanged state for the whole tracks length.
Disc two takes in “Undisturbed”, and here we have a constantly descending & murky billowing drone, and this is densely topped by a mass of several layers of similarly tonal ranged crackling bound jittering ‘n’ juddering. Once again the track remains completely focus in its intense & locked brutal descent.
Disc three features “Wavs”, and this ‘wall’ brings together a stuck ‘n’ battering wind tonality, with a set mix of lower-to- mid ranged jittering ‘n’ juddering. This track feels like you're in the middle of the eye of truly intense storm- and once again it never lets up, changes, or varies- it just keeps battering & battering away at you.
Last up on disc four we have “Safe”, and this finds a very deep yet clipped rumble & judder, which is wrapped in a mass of crudely crisp juddering ‘n’ jittering static. This track is akin to been lose inside a barrel, as it endless rolls on & on down the consistent yet seemingly unending terrain of a hillside.
I can’t say this set is something I’ll return to often, due to its purely unflinching intensity, and total sonic nihilism - yet each track here is well built in its own overloaded way, and you can’t fault the extreme-ness & all round barren brutality of it all. This is certainly not a release for either those new the form, or with just a passing interest in walled noise, but if you craving something truly unforgiving & unbelievable hope-less then Island is well worth a look, and as of writing AOW still have copies.Roger Batty