A Raja's Mesh Men - Sleep Of Death [Altar Of Waste - 2015]Here’s a truly monstrously long walled noise release from this London based project. The release comes in the form of ten CDR box set, which offers up nearing ten hours worth of playing time- but instead of a collection of separate ‘walls’, this is really just one long wall split up into ten selections, with a interesting twist.
And the interesting twist here is that a large part of this ‘wall’ was created while the artists' slept- basically he set up selected textures he wanted, and then just let it unfolded it’s self untouched for the rest of it's runtime. The following basic set-up was used to create the track: a broken pair of headphones ( for creating a feedback loop) & a Honeytone miniature clip-on guitar amp with a single, dying battery in it. Over the ten hours playtime the searing & thick 'wall' shifts, at first it’s very subtle, but as the battery runs down more & more it changes more( though it still remains thick & dense until the end).
The first disc in the release is “Preliminary ” which offers up a 45 minute track – at this point ARMM is awake, and setting-up on the conditions/ wall he want for the entire release. So you get a few start- stop moments, shifts in textures, and tonally settlings; but by the of this tracks end we are in the finished setting. This is a thick & full blend of the following textures: A continual pouring ‘n’ roasting descent. And a swirling & slightly oscillating judder- these elements have a fairly narrow tonal range from lower- to-mid. In writing, this may sound like a clever/ intriguing idea for a releases concept, that could well fall flat on it’s face- but in reality this release is both compelling & pretty worthy. Sure it’s not often( if ever) one has ten unbroken hours to hand to play a piece, but I just about managed this( save a few hours) in one sitting, and I must say it kept my interest, which is a fairly tall order for a (often ) fairly subtle shifting ‘wall’ of dense noise.
Each of the ten discs has a running time between forty & sixty minutes, and really I don’t think there is much to be gained by trying to chart each discs sonic content- as firstly the shifts are mostly fairly small, secondly it wouldn’t really make for an appealing reading experience, and lastly you really need to play & conceive yourself where the shifts are, and if they are really happening.
I guess the most effective way to try & review this is to talk about the sound at the end of the release, as we’ve already discussed the start of the release. So by on the last disc we have the forty minute track “Sleep Of Death VIII- Part two”, and this opens with blend of the following: A selection of swirling ‘n’ sweeping billowing tones, more pronounced juddering-yet- circling static patter-nation, and an on-off grinding bass element, that’s buried deep with-in the ‘wall’. By this point all the elements here seem to be moving at a slightly different speeds- yet surprisingly (due to the battery running down element) the whole is still very full & thick in its feel. We do get a few shifts along this last part( whether these are created by ARMM, or happen naturally I'm not sure?). These included a move to a( very slightly) thinner blend of: descending ‘n’ grinding mid-range swirling, stop-start roasted billowing, and snaking spirals of static. And in the last twenty minutes a blend of the following: thick pile driving bass rapidity, and amassed chalk ‘n’ speedy static bound scrabbling.
A mention must be given to the packaging, as it’s very classy & pro looking- the nine disc are packaged inside six clear DVD cases, and these feature doubled sided full colour artwork taking in great reproductions of classical Asian art- which features all manner of gods, animals, demons, and noble-men. This illustrations are mainly very bright & buoyant, yet trippy & at times disturbing. Then each of discs feature printed faces- taking in two Indian women figures dancing, and the related Roman numeral for each disc. Then the whole set it package in a white cardboard box (though I think some of these are maybe painted too).
So in conclusion- if you enjoy very lengthy submersions in dense, unforgiving, and searingly suffocating walled noise then A Sleep Of Death is certainty worth a look, and the great & classy packaging adds to the whole thing. Roger Batty