Slogun - Nothing you do will ever matter. Nothing. [Old Captain/Eibon Records - 2019]Sonically suffocating, full of self-doubt, and self-disgust Nothing you do will ever matter. Nothing. Ever is the first new full length in six years from American Power Electronics project Slogun aka New Yorker John Balistreri. The project started off, and become infamous for its true-crime ridged PE- but this new album is very much a journey inwards.
The release appears in the form of CD jointly released by Old Captain & Eibon Records. It features eleven tracks, ten of these of sickly & constricting PE- with the last track being a long trip into loop-based mood making. The CD is presented in a six-panel digipak- this is a monochrome & grim look affair, taking in a mass of scribbled texts & blacked out eyes face pictures.
For the PE tracks things are decidedly stripped back & stark- with a selection of grating, dragging, hissing, buzzing, and fork textures, blended with occasional synth lines. Over the top of this, the vocals are bleakly shouty, and slight reverbed- and they often feel like a man on the edge of a mental break down, as he rants & bays at the decay walls around him. Though the sound pallet is stark & skeletal- there’s fair bit of creativity & variation with the uses of sounds from track-to-track, and the use of sound very much summons up images of starkly neo-tube flicking & molding walled apartments. Underground train stations stinking of piss & vomit, alive with slowing & wonky whine of an oncoming train. Rubbish & needle cluttered waste ground with the distant sound squealing car breaks. Or a warehouse torture room hidden down forgotten city streets- that's alive with the sound of rattling & dragging pipes, skin ripping rusted steel, and grimy chains lazily slammed into flesh.
I feel the lions share of the disc, ie the ten PE tracks are grimly effective & bleakly powerful. The issue here comes with the final track “Just One Day”- this nearing thirteen & a half minute track is apparent from Balistreri’s other project Self- and basically is a blend of swarming lo-fi sonic loops of chattering voices, snapping & grating tones, and a lightly smarting high pitched tone press. On top of this we get a female voice mumbling phrases like ‘Something like that’, ‘I think about crazy things’, ‘That’s the ways it’s going to be for’, ‘I was speak to a friend’. Clearly, the intent here was to create an uneasy & unpleasant loop based industrial ambient track- but sadly for me it just came off clunky, amateurish, and as it goes on quite annoying- instead of creepy, not sure why this was added on to the album but for me it just doesn’t work.
When Nothing you do..... sticks to it’s grim & stark PE guns(which is much of its playtime)- it’s an effectively troubling release, and at times you do really worry about Balistreri sanity- which is always welcome on this type of release…I just wished he’d left off the final track.Roger Batty