Grey Smoke - The Great City Is Dead Now [Harsh Noise London - 2020]The Great City Is Dead Now severs up three slices of extremely dense, largely chugging-to-buzzing noise, with industrialized textured feel - all of which fits the release's title nicely. This CDR release is one of a recent batch of ten releases put out by the Harsh Noise London label – the disc is presented in a DVD case with warped & glitched out pictures/ images from London- this time it’s the trusty black London cab.
After having a bit of a scout around the net I couldn’t find much about the Grey Smoke project- according to Discogs the project has three digital titles to its name, though this CDR is not included in the listing. The projects first release came out in 2017, and from the release to hand, I guess it’s difficult to put the projects sound in one sub-genre- I’d say it’s a mix of thick & textured noise scaping, with repetitive wall leanings, and an industrial noise churn- with the last track having a decidedly fixed & stabbing Techno feel.
The disc opens with up with the releases shortest track “Night Of The Death” which comes in at the 10.10 mark. Here we find a blend of looped ‘n’ purring mid-range static grain, which is surrounded by a constantly sawing/ scrubbing textures- this creates a wonderful tense & taut vice-like feel, which nicely drillings 'n' drones into ones head with great persistence.
Next, we have “Day Of The Insomnia”- and this is longest and most densely crushing of the three tracks- it slides in at just shy of the thirty-six-minute mark. And what we get here is a very thick sonic mass of taut & locked machine judder, constantly rolling muffled purr and low-end buzzing loop churn. The whole track feels so tight, constricting & dense in its attack- and there is no doubt about it, no matter what the volume is on when this track is playing this totally overwhelms everything.
Lastly, we have the nearing twenty-two minutes of “Day Of Sickness”- and this has very much more of fixed techno- meets-slicing-static texturing about it. In the centre of the track, we have this rapid droning buzz- which sounds akin to a sped-up & looped didgeridoo tone. Around this is constantly hacking slice of a static whip. Together these elements create a very rough ‘n’ ready trancing vibe, which works well as a sort of semi let down after the dense & crushing first two tracks.
While all of the tracks on The Great City Is Dead Now are fairly simplistic & repetitive in their make-ups, the whole thing has a rewarding feel blunt nose grinding-ness, which very much fits the worlds current hope numbing state. I’ll certainly be checking out some more of Grey Smoke’s work, as they certainly do have a fairly distinctive & unrepentant take on noise-making.Roger Batty