Clive Henry - XXXXV [Reason Art Records - 2016]Any new work from always this creative & often progressive UK based walled noise maker is worth check-out and this C60 release from late last year is no exception. The release offers up two just shy of thirty-minute tracks, which blend together well conceived & crafted textured noise elements, with more ambient & eerier experimental sound craft.
The tape appears on Reason Art Records, who are fast becoming the to-watch label in the worldwide scene, as there release a whole host of worth & interesting wall-noise releases. The physical release comes in an edition of? copies, and it takes in a labeled tape that comes in a single-sided monochrome sleeve- this features an unsettling picture of a corridor littered with dismembered mannequins, as well as minimal black texts. I’m not sure how many copies of the tape where made- but as of writing the label has six copies( according to their Bandcamp).
Anyway moving onto the audio with-in, and each side features a near thirty-minute track. First, up on side A we have “Rat Hunt”- this starts off been built around a very tightly wrapped & cleverly layer building blend of churning-yet- taut static fuzz judders, wiry-yet- probing jitters, and a selection of thinner static haze like feastings. At around the 4th minute, we get this more snaking crisping ‘n’ crackle bound worming texture- as this progresses Mr. Henry carefully shift back the originally elements, so this new ‘wall’ can take its place. As we move on this blend of hissing, pelting, and slightly bouncing texturing comes in, and it really is amazing the amount of textural detail he’s managing to fit in here, yet you can still clearly make out each detail, as Mr. Henry masterfully sculpts &, arrangers, the layers. At around the midway point, we have a next big textural shift, and this happens with a blend of loose chopping & piling mid ranged, and this eerier ambient element which seems to be circulating & floating around the wall. By nearing the 19th minute the noise elements have fully departed, and we’re left with just the ambient element- now you can more clearly make out the sonic shape & detail of this element, and it’s best described as a slightly pitch shifting collection of mid-to- higher ranged swarming & wavering tones- these are pulled out in a most satisfying psycho-ambient fashion- bringing both sour harmonics & a feeling of sad mystery. In the last few minutes, the textured noise elements reappear over the ambience- these take in a building series of slightly stumbling & jugged jitters that are edged with thinner & crispier hackings.
So flipping over the tape, and on side B we have the track “Living like Vermin”. This starts off fairly random & jarring in its feel- been built around sudden rushers of roasting noise, brutal one-off hackings & feed-back grinds. By around the two-minute mark things get a little dense/ firmer, with a very rapid blend of rushing roast, skittering, and forking noise walling- the whole thing pins you down & tears deep into you head with its seared ferocity. From time-to-time, we pare back to stretch noise tone sustains, and this certainly keeps you on your toes, as does the slightly different pace of the noise elements. At around the 5th minute, the sustained elements form into longer moments, and these are added to by the brooding church organ like simmers- which to my ears hints at more early & sinister sounding Tangerine Dream, but of course with a more noise/ experimental focus. At around the nine & a half minute mark, when you feel the organ & noise sustain can’t get any more pressing we sudden dovetail into wall-ness again. This time we get a dense selection of ram shacked like juddering ‘n’ slicing textural, that have a fairly similar mid ranged focus to them. Buried underneath this you this muffled bass bound purring’ coarse rumble. The next big shift happens around the 17th minute when the sonic picture pares back to a blend of stuck in- a-bag frightful juddering & brooding back drone. For the remainder of the track, we get this juddering element( which does, in the end, die back), and this growing weather matt of drone brood- with a more grainy & crisp mass of wall matter appearing in the tracks final few minutes.
XXXXV is another very distinctive & masterful arranged progressive walled-noise release from Mr Henry. It once again shows the high level of sonic care & detail he puts into all of his work, and really I can’t recommend this highly enough if you're looking for more thought-out & thought provoking noise craft XXXXV is a must.Roger Batty