We Also Let Blood - Your Loss Was Never My Gain [Self Release - 2016]'Your Loss Was Never My Gain' is a self-released C60 HNW release from the project We Also Let Blood, a US-based noise project predominantly working within HNW - the tape takes in two half-hour walls on either side, 'Solemnity' on side A and 'Futility' on side B. This project is from a relatively young noise artist, Harrison Phillis, and has released previously on such labels as Lurker Bias, Big Pharma, Personal Archives and Altar of Waste.
There seemed to be a few small issues with the dub, a few cuts in and out and a large jumping-around in level near the very beginning of the first side - I feel personally like this sort of thing isn't exactly something to judge the release on. Home-recording and DIY releasing has long been fraught with technical difficulties and I sometimes think it is nicer and more likely to lend itself to sentimental value when a release is 'imperfect' - there is indeed even something to be said for intentionally 'referencing' this reality in the particular context of self-releasing. An artist uses the equipment they have to hand as well as the skillset they have to hand. Noise as an art, for these artists especially, is much more about what you do with your creative will and force than what tools you have at your disposable to help you do so.
This said, obviously, technical issues can result in a finished product that does not represent the artists intentions at all - and for the listener, when it comes specifically to HNW, it can mean the difference between total immersion and a lack of any real connection to the sounds. Personally, the issues present in this tape were not enough to 'throw' me - I was able to still enjoy this tape and see the tech-issues as something to consider and think about. Given that the first wall is very much a stalwart, unchanging monolith of walled noise - the consideration and thinking around this felt a lot more significant than if it had otherwise not been. Ultimately - while I do like and understand the 'school of total immersion' that takes place within the world of HNW - I am the kind of listener who will spend a lot of time listening to something 'immersive' actually wrapped up in thought and consideration (about anything) before I begin to actually 'zone out' and immerse in the way some people are probably using the term (aspiring towards a meditative mindlessness?). As with many unchanging and immersive walls, the more you listen and become enveloped, everything slides together and blurs into one big mess of sound - here in this first wall I begin to hear the kind of airy background wailing drone sound that might be likened to the kind of siren used in early-warning bomb sirens. It's a sound that slowly comes to you but that you otherwise feel is not really there, or simply an audio-biproduct of various noise-textures occurring repeatedly over an extended period of time.
As side B begins and we hear the opening of 'Futlity' - the wall is yet to really enshroud us, there is a slightly high-pitched wail that jumps around and falters here and there in the typically vibrant movements of feedback - in a very slow and grinding pace, the likeness with feedback begins to dissipate and become smothered with deliciously lofi and earthy layers of distortion. The smothering never takes full effect, however, and the likeness with feedback is at least noticably evident if no longer quite as domineering. There is something very clearly opposite in this wall to 'Solemnity', a seemingly intentional decision to stay away from an 'unchanging' sound and rather go for one of 'continual chaotic change', which nonetheless will bring the listener to the same feeling and experience as the former, and which will nonetheless earn its place within the HNW realm as long as the change keeps within set parameters and repeats tirelessly over a long time to effect the appropriate minimalism of HNW. Personally, there is something about walls with this kind of change that actually lend themselves more closely to 'immersion', in the sense of zoning out and achieving a type of peaceful mindlessness, in the same way a field recording of rain landing on a hard surface would help me sleep with its intermittent and chaotic pattering, there is something about the sound of seemingly paradoxical 'controlled chaos' that encourages my mind to wander and float off like no other.
All in all, this release is very well done for one which was self-released, and fits itself nicely into the chronology of my various estimations of the various other albums and tracks that I have heard from the project over the past years. With this said, it is certainly not one of my favourite albums to come from the project although I do appreciate it for its value in tracing the artistic development that takes place along the trajectory of releases. A strong recommendation I would make to anyone reading is the release 'Insurmountable', one which I feel has left little chance for any other release from the project to surmount it, and which has also had a limited run made of self-released c90's this year.James Shearman