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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Night Science VI - Night Science VI (zine & CD) [Cipher Productions - 2020]

The sixth issue of Night Science, dated October 2020 and the first I’ve read, comes courtesy of Chris Groves, the person behind the excellent Australian label Cipher Productions. The zine really is a labour of love, superbly laid out and printed, containing eight interviews, some live reviews, and a good range of album reviews - all supplemented by plenty of adverts from labels and distro’s. The zine also comes armed with a CD featuring a track from each - bar one - of the interviewees. It’s undeniably a very accomplished and desirable package.

The interviews are uniformly excellent, with Groves’ questions encompassing more open-ended, ‘general’ questions and more precise questions tailored to the specific interviewee and clearly resulting from extensive research and knowledge. The interview subjects are: Iron Fist of the Sun - an excellent interview looking back and assessing the recently ended project; Spiteful Womb - an in-depth interview discussing the project’s themes and methods; Purgist - another deep dive into personal and technical aspects; Taeter - a long interview often focussing on ideas of transgression; Toshiji Mikawa - an informative interview with the founder of Incapacitants; Hostage Pageant/Still Image - a long interview which also comments on both the wider US noise scene and the process of collaboration; Torba - an interview often detailing the techniques and methods of the project, and moving into more high brow electroacoustic territories; and finally Annihilvs - a long interview that delves into the nitty gritty of running a label, whilst also casting wider commentary on the noise scene. The live reviews cover not only Australian gigs but also shows seen during a trip to Japan, whilst the album reviews - over a hundred pieces across over fifty pages! - cover a wide range of projects, labels, and styles, perhaps leaning towards power electronics and harsh noise but still making room for people like Rudolf Eb.er and Dave Phillips. The, sometimes very lengthy, reviews aren’t afraid to be critical of releases by big names, or to point out laziness or lack of effort. Groves also provides commentary on the noise scene in a broader sense, noting discussions and disputes, and pointing to shifts like the recent rise of podcasts and Facebook groups that have aided participation and a sense of community. All in all, an engaging, informative, and visually impressive read.

If that wasn’t enough, the accompanying CD is rather good too. It features: a storming track of mangled field recordings from Torba, some good old-fashioned crunchy noise from Hostage Pageant, some diseased power electronics from Taeter that works through repetition and drone rather then blasting, a predictably excellent piece from Purgist blending cut-ups and drone to create an ominous tension, a rare track from Iron Fist of the Sun’s debut CDR, some live skree from Toshiji Mikawa that is thoroughly ear-gouging, a slow crescendo of power electronics from Spiteful Womb, and finally Still Image’s brooding acousmatic soundscapes.

Night Science VI is a tremendous work and anyone into noise will find something here to inform and entertain; it’s made me return to my Iron Fist of the Sun albums, as well as properly investigate Torba. Beyond everything I’ve described above, there’s also a sense of honesty and fairness; Groves is a measured and reasoned commentator, rightly pointing out Macronympha’s disappointing recent trajectory. I loved As Loud As Possible, and I still dream of that second issue appearing, but in the meantime we needn’t worry because Night Science is one of a group of zines holding that flag very high. Go and get this zine here

Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5

Martin P
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