Friday, December 27, 2013

Guest List: Paul from Male Activity & wet nurse.

I became acquainted Paul from Male Activity earlier this year shortly after I featured his label's first three releases as a collective post. Since that time, Male Activity has released a rather generous amount of music, almost all of which has been featured on this site, with three albums even making my top noise list, including his own project wet nurse. With a label consistently releasing such quality music, I had to know what music really excited the man behind the label in 2013.

Honorable Mentions:
The Body- "Christs, Redeemers"
Carrion Sunflower- "The Romantic Youth of Jesus"
Pharmakon- "Abandon" (and just about every other Sacred Bones release)
RU-486- "Romanian Abattoirs"
The Vomit Arsonist- "An Occasion for Death"
+ those Lil Ugly Mane mixtapes

5. Altar of Plagues- "Teethed Glory and Injury" (Profound Lore)
Although I don't listen to black metal as often as I used to, this album really caught and held my attention. "Teethed Glory" sees Altar of Plagues embarking on a new direction from the band's previous work, which used to be fairly standard atmospheric black. We now see Altar of Plagues experimenting with electronic timbres and odd metres. The arrangements are still fairly minimal but now depend on subtle variations in repetitive clusters of notes, rather than drawn out post-rockish soundscapes. The vocals are also outstanding, particularly on "Burnt Year," and the production reminds me of Bjork for some reason. An ambitious and impressive album in a genre that is too often stagnant. It's unfortunate that this will be their last.

4. Steel Hook Prostheses- "The Empirics Guild" (Malignant)
So this has been a really great year for Malignant Records, and "The Empirics Guild" is certainly a highlight. SHP has always excelled at creating an utterly suffocating climate with their unique brand of dread inducing death industrial. Razor sharp vocals pierce the listener's ears like bone chisels, and churning noise drags you into a world of pure bodily horror. What's always impressed me about SHP, and especially "The Empirics Guild," is the surgical precision to which their work is executed. From the eerie Arvo Part sample it opens with to its brilliantly unsettling finale, the whole record is a relentless and almost cinematic masterpiece.

3. Juicy J- "Stay Trippy" (Kemosabe/Columbia)
While not as consistent or commendable as "Blue Dreams" & "Lean," "Stay Trippy" is a fantastic album in its own right. There's an interesting atmosphere that permeates the album, which floats like pot smoke between playful and disturbing. The trap beats sound absolutely criminal and the synth lines are effectively minimal. Unfortunately, "Stay Trippy" is marred by a couple of crappy pop songs and painfully stupid lyrics (which are at best hilarious, at worst cringe inducing), but you'd be hard-pressed to find a mainstream rap album that isn't these days. Choice cuts include "Smoke a Nigga" and "SoMuch Money."

2. Human Larvae- "Womb Worship" (L. White)
Another death industrial project which I'm absolutely enthusiastic about, and another album dealing with apparent themes of motherhood and birth. Been waiting years for a full length follow up to Human Larvae's magnificent debut album and boy, does "Womb Worship" ever deliver. This is an absolutely terrifying album on every fucking level. Each track will leave you petrified, spellbound, and in a state of total infantile helplessness. Soundtrack to your late miscarriage.

1.Theologian- "Some Things Have to Be Endured" (Crucial Blast)
The trajectory Lee has defined with his musical outlets is a very interesting one. His oeuvre manages to transverse a variety of industrial/electronic genres, as well as the darkest corridors of human consciousness. This album feels like a culmination of sorts. It's certainly bleak, but far less abrasive than previous releases, in part due to the warmly provided vocals from a number of female guests and an almost darkwave vibe at times. "Some Things Have to Be Endured" has to be heard to be believed. A truly remarkable piece of work.

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