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See Through Buildings - The Waters Turned The Body [Deathsex Electronics - 2015]

Here’s a smart little package from Deathsex Electronics: a small black, cardboard box, containing a ziplock bag, which in turn contains a tape and some illustrated cards. The cards depict water breaking against rocks, an abandoned teddy, and a rough texture that could equally be desert surface or crocodile skin. The box, inside and out, is adorned with an odd picture (all the imagery is black and white) of something humanoid - that’s the best I can do for you. The tape has one track on each side, both apparently untitled, and both around the thirty minute mark.

The first side begins with nice rough, crumbling textures; underpinned by a strong bass drone, and fleshed out with buried feedback. Later, a well-defined layer of treble crackle rises up, dancing and rattling over the wall; until it cuts suddenly, reducing things to a hard, bass throb. When it returns to a wall of noise, a piercing tone (possibly feedback) emerges, grabbing the piece and dominating it; the surrounding noise textures becoming stressed and scuffing. This continues for a while, with shifting feedback lines and undulating bass rumbles, until the track opens out into a near-wash of noise. This headlong skree then races itself to the end, with a series of sharp tones cutting through the harsh noise. The track climaxes with a return to bludgeoning bass territory, and reverb; but before this, See Through Buildings sneak a slowed voice, a stuttering, winding-down synth, and tape-echo sounds into the mix.

The second side is quite a contrast to the first, bringing much more kineticism to the overall sound. Perhaps a key element here, is the ‘water’ of the title. The track deploys recordings of water, scattering them around, sometimes foregrounded, sometimes drowned under stuttering noise. This stuttering and movement is central to the piece: there are sections of fast, linear noise, but the overall theme is a stuttering, stop-starting - to the point that it cuts out altogether at times. This, combined with later movements - and switches from lighter textures to full-blown obliteration - almost creates a sense of waves; mimicking the actions of the tides themselves. Though, despite all this rhythmic twisting and turning, the track still has an atmosphere of stasis; in the sense that it never gets going - so to speak. As well as the water sounds, the piece also has snatches of conversation embedded in it; but the most surprising element is the appearance of mobile phone notification bleeps. It’s unclear precisely why they’re there, or indeed where they come from (the participants of the conversations?); but strangely they don’t feel intrusive or conspicuous in any way. They seem to add an intimacy, a personal touch, that draws the listener further into the piece.

This is a very solid piece of work. If we split hairs, it’s more harsh noise than HNW; but the careful attention to textures, and the willingness to allow them to run, blur the line. The first side could certainly pass as a more energetic offering from Richard Ramirez. The second side is intriguing - indeed, the more I think about it, the better it gets.

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

Martin P
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