Richard Ramirez - Uniform Scene [Old Europa Café - 2020]
Uniform Scene is a two-disc CD release- presenting a never-released album from the mid-1990s by American noise legend Richard Ramirez. It features four around half-an-hour long tracks, which dwell in old school industrial noise, drone noise, and at times fairly shifting harsh noise texturing.
The release appeared in 2020, on the respected Italian based noise/ industrial label Old Europa Café. The two discs come presented in a four-panel digipak- this features a blindfold and tied man on its front cover. With the CDs and inlay featuring a red-tinged picture of a group of American football players lying together in several states of undress. The release is Ltd to just three hundred copies, and can still be brought directly to here
All the material here dates from 1995- as it was originally recorded for Old Europa Café, as a double tape release that never happened. Then in 2020, the master was rediscovered in the label's archive. The tracks here are simply named Uniform Scene I-IV.
So, we open with "Uniform Scene I", and this starts with a selection of fairly straight/ untouched industrial tones- we have a spinning wheel like element, a banging/ dragging metal sheet tone, and some light junk forking. At around the three-minute mark, a buzzing electro drone/ grind comes into play under the loosely shifting selection of elements. By the fifth minute a rattling/ shambling tone shifts in & out, with buzzing grinding tones coming more to the fore- and for the rest of the track, we get a fairly bit of hazed shift & play with the layers/ textures. Largely the track remains rather industrially droning in its feel- with nothing ever getting too searing/ nasty- though around the sixteen-minute mark, we do find some higher-pitched tones brought into the mix- and these sorts of rising and fall throughout the remainder of the track, though never getting too extreme.
Next, we, of course, have "Uniform Scene II"- It opens with a blend of buzzing tone hover, light tonal hacking, and distant swirling electro hazing. By around the fifth minute we get a few brief moments on more ragged hack, but fairly soon the whole thing spins out into a droning sort of hover- which is most entrancing. As I’m a real sucker for more set & droning bound noise-making I’d say this track stands as my favourite moment of this release, with it highlighting a rather different/ lesser-heard side of Ramirez’s noise crafting.
Moving onto the second disc in the set. And things kick off with "Uniform Scene III". It starts in a lot denser sort of shredding state- as we find a searing ‘n’ hacking mid, which is underfed by a rushing flow of static grain. Fairly soon we shift into a taut blend of sliding hiss, chop, and clattering grate- with some high pitch dwells appearing ever so often. As we progress, we once again get moments of droning dwell occurring, but it’s in done in a much more shrill and constricting manner- and you certainly couldn’t sink in & drift off here like you did on Part II.
Lastly, we of course have "Uniform Scene IV"- and this opens with a mixture of even static pelting & grain slide. As it opens up it becomes much more shifting, going from mid-ranged electro droning, hacking static cascades, grating pelts, and cluttering textural meshes. We have some more set moments, but largely we keep shifting from one mix of noise tones to the next. Overall, the track feels a lot more on the harsh noise texturing side of things.
It certainly is great that the folks at Old Europa Café uncovered Uniform Scene, as it’s a largely worthy example of 1990’s noise-making- with moments here hinting at the more set/ textured & wallish side of things, which Ramirez would go on to help define some years down the line. Roger Batty