Verhalten - Corrupted Structures v.3 [Modern Tapes - 2021]
Here’s a neatly packaged release from Modern Tapes, with a cassette in an envelope, sealed with a sticker, accompanied by a download code and a sticker of a modular synth with the legend, ‘THIS MACHINE KILLS FASCISTS.’ The tape has two tracks of elemental noise from Verhalten, each piece being around 20 minutes in duration, and sonically both cut from the same cloth - indeed, both tracks are manipulations and transformations of the same material: ‘electromagnetic field recordings from various points in the town where this transient sound mangler was raised. Chopped up, spit out in misaligned patterns and clipped beyond recognition.’ That’s your nutshell review there.
The first piece, ‘Old Ghosts (drift01)’, is rather like rhythmic Harsh Noise Walls, or HNW chopped up into tiny chunks. The track is constructed from building blocks of noise: low, bassy rumbles, mid-frequency noise, and treble skree and clicks. These elements are chopped up and scattered around a rhythmic pulse, so that whilst they may threaten to coalesce into something greater, they never do; instead they conjure up a strange stasis. Rhythmically the track seemingly dances along a strict line, however, closer listening reveals that the line is not straight at all but wayward and wandering, though always navigating towards the same destination point. As the piece develops there is a judicious use of reverb, with larger gaps appearing for the echoes to ring in. Strikingly, there are a couple of synth bleeps buried deep in the background, which raise interesting questions about the construction of the track.
‘Facts/Simile (drift03),’ the second piece, continues in much the same manner, but starts off cleaner and harder, with a really crisp, strong high end. It sounds like an avant-techno remix/malfunctioning machine version of ‘Old Ghosts (drift01).’ Nearly halfway through, the sound opens out a little: the choppy gaps disappear for short periods and the chaotic noise is able to run free for a few seconds. The rhythmic variations and speeding/slowing lurches are more noticeable on ‘Facts/Simile (drift03)’ and in general it’s a bit more accessible - though this perhaps detracts from the formal rigour of the first track.
The tape is titled Corrupted Structures and that is precisely what the tape sounds like: corrupted, obliterated noise textures marching along on a corrupted rhythmic pattern. Describing the album as ’The Rita performed (or remixed) using modular synths’ might not sound overly appealing, but it would give a fair sense of what’s in store for you. If you get bored with static HNW, or wish noisy techno like Emptyset would push further, you might enjoy this; but basically, this is plain and simple, pared-back rhythmic noise.Martin P