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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

Placenta Lyposuction - The Bleackness [Void Singularity Recordings - 2018]

"The Bleakness" is a relatively new release from the well-known HNW project Placenta Lyposuction, released on CDr by Void Singularity Recordings. The label was newly established in February 2018 by label head Tom Rushton, who was also responsible for the prior Synesthetic Perception Recordings and the project E.E.E.E. among others.

While this release came out in March of this year, the material was recorded in 2010. I always find it interesting when wallers choose to release material they have been sitting on for some time as it raises obvious questions. Did the artist intend to sit on this material for a long time from the offset or were they just having an internal debate about whether the material was worth releasing at all up until the point of release? There are a handful of more old-school wallers who appear to have decided to do this - the recent years saw a number of releases from artists claiming to have recorded the material some five or so years ago. Most notably fresh in my mind was the new Female Harakiri release which came out in 2016, having waited half a decade for release as it had been recorded in 2011.

There is something about this context going in which almost adds a type of enigma to the wall, as though there were a real chance it might never see the 'light of day' and it has been 'uncovered' for us - somehow making it feel more precious. With that said it also sets up the wall-weary listener with a perhaps harsher critical mindset - older walls have historically been something to hark back to nostalgically - and so I'm led to believe this release will make me feel nostalgic, perhaps setting itself up for a fall.

The release in question is one single half-hour wall - a run-time I find slightly surprising as I'm used to CDr releases of HNW taking full advantage of the ability to fit an hour or more. The physical release itself is pointedly DIY - the artwork and inlay is clearly home-printed (or at least, cheaply printed) and hand-cut, the CDr case seems fairly standard and the choice of white block text lettering on black for the recurring layout across releases also feels normal and expected for the DIY scene within experimental and noise music. With this said, there is something generic about it and I can't quite figure out where I stand on this - on the one hand, there is something about the cheap, inexpensive aesthetic that reeks of 'the true essence' of noise and holding few prejudices towards levels of skill when it comes to presentation - on the other hand, there are many labels in noise, and in HNW specifically, who are going out of their way to make very unique and inspiring releases which are presented with beautiful and seemingly professionally put-together artwork and packaging for their releases and it is hard not to hold these labels up as an ideal and as a favorable comparison to the easily duplicated efforts of a DIY and uniform label of this calibre.

The wall starts off fairly loud and crunchy and the crunching is on a gradual and incremental increase - fairly quickly we hear new layers smash on top of the wall until what already seemed like a relatively loud wall has become a true example of the 'maximal' side of HNW mixing - leaving only the tiniest smidges of low volume settings open to those who would dare defile this wall by playing it low and turning it into an ambient doppelganger of its former self. With this said, you do lose a lot when you choose to play this wall quietly - there is a smattering of static swathes which seem to muffle out completely at certain low volumes and I would strongly recommend the listener does what they can to avoid omitting these. Once properly enthralled by them, the wall bludgeons the listener like an unrelenting series of large oceanic waves. And yes, as my expectations had set me up to do so, I am confronted with a sense of the 'old-school' - and yet it is very hard to place what exactly conveys this, it would be easiest to ambiguously say there was simply an 'atmosphere' which conveyed such a feeling but to be clear, the staunch weight that comes with this maximal blaring titan of HNW has much to do with it as well. The title and artwork seem to allude to the popular trope of nihilism and despair that we have seen from other wallers of a 'European school', most notably Vomir, an artist who has shown multiple uses of black and white imagery very akin to that which we see here across his own releases. It is hard to imagine that this was not done knowingly by the artist and perhaps meant as a direct homage or at least a knowing, nodding reference.

Where most half-hour walls tend to feel cut short for me, this one's abrupt end feels more easily explained by its sheer volume, the abruptness was expected from the moment the wall met my ears and feels less like disappointment and more like natural conclusion. With this said, there was ample time for trance-like static immersion, although I personally got more lost in very conscious and aware thoughts rather than 'zoning out', something I still found the wall very helpful for spurring on. I have been a fan of the Placenta Lyposuction project for a long time now, the project was one of the earliest HNW projects I discovered (and one of the very first I discovered on Soundcloud) alongside Clive Henry, Vomir and a number of projects by Julien Skrobek. I consider the work of all of these artists 'time-tested' and timelessly inspiring - all of them continue to make astounding work.

Overall, the release met my high expectations and so I was very pleased - while I don't usually hold much of a penchant for CDr collecting or for the medium in general, I do get some on the odd occasion I really like the artist's material and this certainly feels like it would be one of those occasions. As of typing, the label still has 7 copies available for purchase through their Bandcamp page and I strongly recommend it! I will honestly admit to having mixed feelings about this CDr label in particular. While it is nice to see a DIY artist attempting to do what they can to give back to the scene and community they feel connected to it does also feel like a venture I just can't put my whole heart into the same way I could for a label such as Altar of Waste or Reason Art. Overall, I think it's a combination of my ambivalence towards both the chosen medium of the label and the aesthetic. With this said, I don't think it would ever be impossible for a label like this to continue to provide releases which are cherished and sought after all the same.

Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5

James Shearman
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