Thursday, April 8, 2010

Aube - Howling Obsession (Revised) (2002)

Nakajima Akifumi is a Japanese noise artist who specializes in drawing a wide variety of sounds from a single original source. In this case, that source is a small speaker, from which he has managed to craft an entire album of diverse sounds. As the title indicates, this is a reworking of an earlier release and adds a twenty-three minute live performance to the original tracklist.

The title track begins with the low drone of speaker hum, fading slowly up from silence until it approaches a roar. This is actually a very atmospheric recording, and almost gives the impression of an audio landscape. The persistant hum is intruded upon by slashing crackles of static and low rumbloing feedback, resulting in a rather moody and mysterious sound enviroment. Considering the limited nature of the inputs, it's a very well composed track, and the highlight of the album. After seventeen minutes of this, a short piece cnsiting mainly of clicking provides a nice intermisson before the album's other lengthy piece, "M.O.L."

"M.O.L." is much more aggressive in its approach, consisting mainly of blistering noise broken up by high pitched shrieks and squeals. The beleagured speaker is pushed to its breaking point, growling like an angry Harley Davidson in need of an oil change. It's enjoyable, but perhaps less artful in its execution that what came before. The final track of the original release lasts a mere fve minutes and employs filters to create a slow sweeping effect up and down the frequency range. It's uneventful, but a nice comedown after the intensity of the preceeding track.

Finally, the bonus live track, also titled "Howling Obsession" bears little overt resemblence to its namesake. It uses the same sound source, and slowly evolves over its twenty-three minute length from quiet drones and whines to more intense fare. There are even a few basic rhythms subtly included from time to time. The piece is sprawling and impressive in its dversity, but it is improvised and it shows. The carefully crafted compositions on the album proper differ markedly from this freewheeling exploration of the speaker.

For fans of noise, Aube certainly offers some interesting moments. His single source approach is fascinating, but the result of such self-imposed limitations are at times less consistant than comparable works of other noise artists, such as Merzbow.

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