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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Carrion Black Pit - Spirals of Black Smoke [USR/Wrong Turn - 2014]

Well, here’s a blast from the past: a project and a label that I presumed were both dead - or resting. Both Carrion Black Pit and Urine Soaked Rag produced some superlative HNW some years back, but both seemed to disappear. I haven’t been able to find anything that suggests this is a new release - or even re-issue - so it’s entirely possible that this has been hiding down behind the MM cupboard for a while… Anyway, however it’s arrived here, it’s very welcome. The tape has six tracks split across the two sides, and comes adorned with filthy xeroxed artwork.

The first piece, The Cat and the Canary, is a drone built from a juddering loop. This trundles away, attracting flecks of dirt as it progresses. After a while, the tone becomes harder, heavier, and the flecks become more strained and stressed - until they themselves nearly become a drone of sorts. These hypnotic sounds are crudely broken into by the second track, The Monkey’s Paw; this bass-driven wall - possibly my favourite piece on the tape - is incredibly good. It carries a true sense of dread in it’s textures and movements. It’s genuinely great work. A jarring noise announces the arrival of I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream, a crumbling, scuffing wall, that splits itself through the two speakers - and no less engaging than it’s immediate predecessor.

The second side of the tape begins with a hard, scourging wall, which speeds along at a very fast pace. Curiously, at points, The Graveyard Rats almost sounds like some of its treble textures are going through a tremolo effect; it might just be some kind of aural ‘hallucination’ on my part, but regardless, it adds an interesting element without detracting from the work. The second piece, The Nine-Billion Names of God, shocks the ears - arriving through a beautiful, brutal cut, into a much wider stereo-field. The track is initially constructed from strong bass textures, with a layer of treble clinging on; however, later on these textures open out, and more high-mid frequencies flesh out the rattling charge. Near the end, some agitated noises appear, subdued in one speaker, and this kinetic feedback and pummel adds colour to the wall without overwhelming it. The last track, The Metamorphosis, begins and ends with several changes (fittingly). There’s an initial cut to different textures, followed by a cut to a trebly wash, and then the sound of a tape being stopped; after this, we find ourselves in the middle of another scuffing wall, with nice, crunchy details. As the track proceeds, it fires out lines of piercing feedback, and begins to move into more harsh noise territories. The piece comes to a halt after a series of alternating judders and washes.

What can I say? This is fantastic, I could listen to it all day long. Every track is individually strong and compelling, but also works as part of a greater whole. This is helped by some excellent cuts between pieces by CBP, as well as a few shifts within them. The tape is overwhelmingly wall-based, but the first and last tracks wander into drone and harsh noise - whilst still clearly deriving from a waller’s hand. These also help shape the cassette as a really coherent, consummate album. (For another unifying layer, the titles are all named after short stories.) Spirals of Black Smoke is easily one of the best things I’ve heard for a long time.

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

Martin P
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