hermit - Self Hate [Grey Matter Productions - 2016]Self Hate is the first wall-noise release from hermit- a Californian based noise project that’s all the work of the mind behind the Grey Matter Productions label. The release came as either a cassette release( with a whole extra side/ track), or a digital release. I’m reviewing the cassette version- which is sadly now out of print.
The release came in the form of see-through dark red cassette. With the cover been a single sided affair, featuring a taro-card like illustration, taking in a shroud cover figure with an owl on its shoulder.
Moving onto the sonic’s with-in, and on the first side we have four tracks- these run between ten & four minutes. And opening-up the release we have the title track- this ten minute track is a blend of several layers of simplistic buffeting & wind like textures, which are stretched into each other to create this dense wash tonally bleak-ness. The track starts off promising enough, but sadly it just didn’t seem to end up going anywhere interesting as all the layers are of a fairly tight in tone range; meaning it all rather felt like a bland freefall into dense noise white-out.
The second track is entitled “The Death Of Self Care”, and comes in at just under the seven minute mark. It brings together this fixed & looped back drop of barren billowing & rattling patter-nation. Fairly soon this thicker layer of spiteful droning, snapping, and semi forking noise is added, and for the remainder of the track you get sudden dense rushers of this secondary element. This track is certainly better than the first track, though it rather lacks the disciplined focused needed for great wall-craft, as too often it feels like the dense swells are too random. I’d say this track is best described dense harsh noise, with some wall- elements.
The third track comes in the form of "Anti Existence", and this really brings together the whipping though narrow ranged buffeting textures of the first track, with the sudden random swell of the second track. You also get some quite effective sub-aquatic pops & snaps here and there too, but these are mostly lost in the lack of focused detail- again I’d say this was more harsh noise, than wall.
Last up we have "My Death Will Be Brought Upon By Complete Disgust For Who I Am"- and this just over eight minute track is really the releases low-point. As it based purely around amped-up hissers & distant machine like drone- simply put it just sounds amateurish & bland. And I really struggled to get through the whole thing.
So lastly ( & only on the cassette) we have “Light Pt II”. This half-an-hour track takes up the whole second side of tape, and is a much more of a formal example of walled-noise. The ‘wall’ is a dense & mostly fairly set example of the genre- it’s built around a mid speed blend of chugging, juddering, and chalky hacking noise texturing. The tonal range here is between lower bass bound-to-muffled mid range. There is some slight layer shift & ebb present from time to time, but mostly this is a very thick & impenetrable slice of HNW. And while there’s not really anything new or distinctive about it- it’s satisfying enough in it’s dense churning feel, and the blend of textures is quite effective in pulling one in.
So in conclusion is very much the preverbal mixed-bag of a release…the first side of the tape shows promise, but none of the tracks are wholly satisfying. The second sides track is much more successful in both it’s more formal wall sound, and it’s general unfold. So I certainly be interested to hear what the project does in the future- but as it stands Self Hate is a little unbalanced in both quality & focus.