See Through Buildings - In Any Home [Self release - 2015]
Here’s a strange little package from See Through Buildings… Two CDRs in a card wallet, housed in a plastic picture frame. The frame itself shows off a drawing by Charlotte Skrobek. So, it’s unusual packaging, and I think the first time I’ve seen a frame used. Both discs are dominated by wall noise, and textural pieces. There are seven tracks, with four long works at 20:01 minutes, and one short one at 5:24.
The first disc is opened by Old Home Movies. This is 15 minutes of massed, grinding machinery - clocks, even - relentlessly working away to create a wall of noise, but one devoid of overt pummel or assault. At points, odd percussive layers rise out of the dirty morass, but there is very little movement, or development, overall. It really does sound like a field recording in a (clock) factory. Backwords Look From The Bar quickly opens out into a searing wash of treble, underpinned by dry, bubbling mid-frequencies, and lurking bass drone. The wash retreats a little, and then the wall goes through several slight shifts, each time gaining weight and fire, until it’s a raging torrent. It’s undeniably savage, but also a wall of great depth - and indeed, pace. Duplicity In The Set Up also has a near-wash element, with a shrill, thin line of scratchy treble, suspended over more saturated crackles that almost sound underwater. The wall cuts to purely the more trebly textures, and the effect is quite ear-piercing. Throughout, there is a strained, near-tonal drone, which wavers and stutters - more akin to junk noise detritus than anything else. Indeed, both these last two tracks are somewhat messy and dirty, in the best way: this is not clinically static HNW. The last work on the first disc, Forego The Pleasantries, also has a dominant treble texture. This time, it’s a very pleasing rattle, that builds to sound like delicate gravel - really quite an exquisite sound. Underneath this, bass and mid frequencies churn at speed; it’s a very hard hitting, scourge of a wall.
In The End The Handshake Was Not Strong kicks off the second disc, and we are plunged headfirst into another harsh wall that again borders on wash territory. The main thrust is a blown-out, high mid-frequency texture, which rockets along at tremendous speed. In its wake, trail more subdued - both in speed and presence - layers of crackle. Over the wall’s course, the textures deepen, becoming thicker and harder - though also more saturated. The second track, The Ends Justify The Beans (I have no idea what any of the titles are referring to - if anything), establishes a tone from the start that leans more obviously towards harsh noise: swirling feedback, obliterated noise, and layers of conflicting skree. After a few minutes, a synth-like filter swoop announces new sounds, though I think the bulk of this instrument’s work is actually rather delicate treble crackles, which reverberate in the wall of noise. It’s hard to be too certain. However, they are joined by the unmistakable bark of a dog, which rings out in the background, before disappearing just as quickly. To be fair, these elements (and the synth-like churn weaves in and out of the whole piece) never dominate or overwhelm the central barrage of wall noise, and in that sense it’s perhaps best seen as very static harsh noise. The last work, and the shortest, is Shelter From Your Stormy Eyes (Dylan), which only amounts to five and a half minutes. Like several earlier tracks, it’s reliant on treble wash, with a truly scathing wall of treble noise, under which feedback and synth-like sounds reverberate. It ends by suddenly compressing into a short passage of hard, violent noise, before cutting to silence.
This is a great set of tracks, which vary quite wildly. Although the overall tone is of speeding, savage walls, with a distinct treble strength, there are still pieces like Old Home Movies, which sounds more like a field recording, or the more unusual sounds utilised in The Ends Justify The Beans. It certainly doesn’t sound like a safe, straight wall release. The concentrated skree of Duplicity In The Set Up is perhaps my favourite here - the sections where it cuts to piercing treble lines are genuinely unpleasant, whilst still showing attention to sound and texture. I think this is the third See Through Buildings release that I have reviewed, and I haven’t been disappointed yet… (This album is somewhat old, but the See Through Buildings bandcamp will satisfy you: https://seethroughbuildings.bandcamp.com/album/in-any-home-2)Martin P