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Various Artists - Active Noise Area [Unexplained Sounds Group - 2019]

Unexplained Sounds Group presents Active Noise Area- an international compilation showcasing many of the various permutations found within the noise underground. It’s available as a digital download via the label's bandcamp site here, & features 18 tracks of varying lengths and styles.

Upon first glance, I wasn't all too familiar with many of the artists on the compilation, sans Jason Crumer and God Pussy, but I'm always game to check out unfamiliar sounds and artists. While some tracks are more memorable than others, overall I found this to be a solid collection of contemporary noise.

Georgios Karamanolakis kicks things off with “Children of the Gods.” This meaty track clocking in at 13:45 (the longest on the compilation) unpacks in measured parts. From static noise, to sonic minimalism, to electronic insectoid sounds, to ominous atmospherics, Karamanolakis makes the most of his extended piece.

V.O.E.R. presents a brief piece of primitive industrial noise with “Curse 7.” Think blown out, see-sawing drone obscuring frigid spoken vocals.

Joel Gilardini summons “Black Machinaries” a fitting title for a dense slab of blackened guitar sludge and creeping electronics.

Jason Crummer offers a swift kick in the pants with “b. After Betrayal.” This harsh noise attack sounds like a torrential downpour of broken glass with shifting static to boot.

SONOLOGYST's “Russian freq. 6525 kHz,” delivers a steady sonic hum with intermittent spoken word bits that sound like they're being delivered by a walkie talkie. I don't know much about sound frequencies, but I can surmise that the title reveals details about the drone buzzing through my headphones.

After a stretch of shorter tracks we find Scorched Earth Policy Lab's mammoth “Soul Bender,” a 13:40 extended piece of dark drone and chilling atmospherics.

My favorite track is Knop & God Pussy's “n0156_c01143 Part 1.” This collaborative track features a pulsing to crunching wall of noise with glitchy and squelchy synth tones worming their way through.

While there were some unremarkable tracks peppered throughout, I generally appreciated the variety of the sounds presented and was happy to have my eyes opened to some acts I was unfamiliar with. If you have a penchant for experimental sounds you're bound to find something to your liking.

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

Hal Harmon
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