Various Wall Noise Artists - Its Only HNW (But I like It) V [The Hills Are Dead Records - 2021]
It’s Only HNW (But I like It) V is a wall noise compilation put out by The Hills Are Dead Records. It appeared at the tail end of 2021, featuring eight wall noise makers from around the world, with each offering up an around eight-minute track.
This release comes as either a C80 cassette, CDR, or digital download- and I’m reviewing the final of these. With the digital version, you get just the cover artwork, which is seemingly repeated over this series of comps- with a crude red-lipped & white teeth mouth with its tongue stuck out, static inside the mouth- with a grey wall backdrop. Head here to find out more about/pick up the release.
On the whole, it's a fairly varied, largely consistent, and well-sequenced compilation. We start off with the track “Variant”- this is from Cincinnati, Ohio Whore’s Breath. It’s a nicely loose and crude example of the wall noise form- bringing together a sluggish blend of bumbling lows, dragging static hiss, and light forks- with the whole thing edged with an unbalancing slightly woozy- yet foreboding vibe.
Next up we have a track from Indian’s Napalm Monk, it’s entitled “Opening Of The Third Eyes”, and boy it’s a sudden step-up in intensity. It’s built around a blend of thickly packed & rapid bass drones, hacking jitters, and subtle pops ‘n’ drags. It feels akin to being crushed between a mass of thick-skinned and rubbery balloons. Track three is “Deformed Leper Vol 1 25 traxx”- this by Spanish project Deformed Leper, and is sort of a cut-up percussion hits meets choppy ‘n’ bass buzzed walling trip. It’s quirky enough I guess, through keeps stopping and starting in a rather jarring & non-wall manner.
By track four we’ve returned to more even/ rewarding wall territory with “Excessive Tension”- and this is by Japan’s psychiatrist. Here we find a tight and decidedly manic wall mesh of juddering ‘n’ swiping mids, and squelching to rubbing highs. I really like the nervy tautness of this track, and its title perfectly fits what’s on offer here. Track five is from Brazil’s Self Suck, and is wonderfully entitled “Sour Smelly Juice”. Here we find a droning mid-range percussion-like haze, topped with layers of slice and hiss. This track has a nice obsessive hazing quality that I rather enjoyed.
Track number six is from San Diego based Peeled Nails, it’s entitled “Paronychia”. Here we find a mix of muffled 'n' rapid static rips & gathers, sudden distant bass purses, and generally muffled rapid rush. It’s ok, I guess though again features stop-start elements. Moving into the final two tracks we have "Dämpfung Vol.2" from Germany’s Grodock. Here we find a more AWN track, bringing together a manic-yet distant blend of bass flicker, aquatic rush, and murky cluttering. Finally, we have “No Input Can Replenish My Desire” by Spanish project Barrera. And here we find another full, fairly basic example, though no less rewarding example of the form. It’s a blend of fixed and rippling yet raging low-end, thinner skitter mid to high-end jitter, and slowly arching drone edging.
In finishing it’s great to see walled noise compilations still appearing. On the whole, this is a fairly even and rewarding selection of tracks, giving a good enough snapshot of what the scene was like in late 2021. Though it’s rather sad not to see some of the more known/ longer running names appearing here to give a bit of a balance - as it’s all focused purely on new/ recent acts.Roger Batty