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Seven-inch Slivers of Sonic Savagery

Splintered's [all right, that's enough alliteration] latest CD, The Judas Cradle, is a monumental work, which also contains remodellings of the two songs released on the Judas Cradle / Godsend [Dirter Promotions]. These are two pieces of relentless, hypnotic, sludge guitar. The insistent drumming, allied to the guitar maelstrom take you on an exhilarating journey to the abyss. PT

Frank JFK is the ex-bassist of Skullflower, now also working with Ramleh, so that we know that we are entering the noise terrain with JFK's Sexodus / Temple of Set [Fourth Dimension]. A heavily distorted noise wash with the bass featuring more prominently. The guitar pulse just goes on and on, and you are sucked in and taken on the road to nowhere. The harsh sounds don't jar, but create an ambience all of their own, fit for meditation and contemplation of life. Fourth Dimension are also behind Under the Skin Vol.1, featuring Delphium, Spleen and Heroin. The sleeve states it is the "first in a series of compilations dedicated to new or generally unrecognised bands of an uncompromising, experimental, avant-garde, wayward or adventurous nature". It lives up to the promise. The two Delphium tracks are wondrous examples of dirge noise-washes, with feedback, oscillation and unstable guitar meanderings featured. The other two artists are bastard offspring of Godflesh; Spleen lack Godflesh's immensity, but Heroin are much more intense. All in all, a fair release to launch this label offshoot. PT

Table of Elements have an intriguing habit of cataloguing their releases as "5 Boron" or "8 Oxygen", rather than the TOE5CD and TOE8CD a lesser label might adopt. These two 7"s are part of a series of solo guitar works (also featuring Jim O'Rourke, Henry Kaiser), and come from Hans Reichel and Keith Rowe. Reichel's concentrates on rapid picking, intricate patterns snatching and holding your attention; Rowe's is noisier, using tapes recorded in the streets of Moscow and Lithuania, combined with disruptive, hoarse shards of electric guitar. Fans of Outside the Dream Syndicate might also want to check out Tony Conrad and Faust's The Pyre of Angus was in Kathmandu, which contains two shorter tracks recorded during the same sessions. BD

By my reckoning after 7 singles (Hysteria and The Searl Brothers are the fifth and seventh), 2 LPs, and 3 Peel sessions there should be little doubt that Victor N'dip and Lurgin of 70 Gwen Party rule the universe. The fact that their chunks of plastic excitement haven't received such universal acclaim probably supports their conspiracy theorist world view. They use samples, lurching piano themes, guitar and value packs of attitude. There is more to the indie scene than brainless guitar pop and while 70GP raise more questions than they could hope to answer, this is a good thing. They also make a point of giving the addresses of action groups and fanzines, anything in fact to put people in touch with each other, and isn't communication what good music is all about? [Snape, PO Box 221, Hounslow TW3 3LS] DH

N.D. magazine enter the (surprisingly) thriving 7" world with Trespassers W's Boekelaar, Back (the title track is about a 1955 footballer). This Dutch group make a mature, infectious, sophisticated rock music that doesn't innovate but is never other than intelligent. Short but very sweet. Novus's Desire [Lucifer Records] is also short but much less sweet. Chaotic atonal instrumentation shrouds a mucho-depressed male vocal, and the lyrics aren't too cheerful either. BD

Better than both is Contrastate's I Am A Clown Collecting Moments [Dying Earth, 13 Warren Close, Sandhurst, Camberley, Surrey GU17 8EL]. Thoroughly schizophrenic, side A is a collagists play-room, with a sparkiness not unlike Nurse With Wound; side B works in a more familiar ambient-industrial-drone mode. It shows that Contrastate are branching out, unafraid to try new ideas. Scorn's Lament / Soleil Noire [Dying Earth] is also a step away from their normal dub-noise-rock fare, the latter track consisting almost entirely of the familiar Scorn mantra "black sun rising" chanted ad nauseam. Unfortunately, "ad nauseam" is right. These are the last D.E. releases, future recordings, including a Lull 7", bearing the imprint of Aquese Recordings. BD

Germany's Drone Records continues its devotion to the lesser-knowns of the experimental world. Beequeen's Summer Rain single is perhaps a sign of things to come (they have a CD due from Staalplaat), with one side devoted to a demonstration of how to produce a storm of bats (or is it occasional tiny rain-drops?) using a single piece of metal. It's impressive and gorgeous, which is more than I can say for the other side. Drone Records is also behind Møhr's How to Make Darkness Visible, which comes in a wax-encrusted sleeve that is forever shedding bits onto my carpet. It's a more traditional bag of swirling noise and metallic drone confusion, rather nice once it gets into its stride, but with a non-positive cigar coefficient. BD

But all the above are surely surpassed by one single, monumental artefact, one beacon of brilliance, one meisterwerk, RRRecords' RRR-100. This opulent feast of lunatic mesmerism contains (count 'em!) one-hundred lock grooves, each housing a recording by a different artist. Amongst those I recognised are the likes of Jim O'Rourke, PBK, Controlled Bleeding, Out of Band Experience, Phillip Perkins, Skullflower, PGR, Macronympha, Phallus Dei, Borbetomagus, Ron Rice, Trance, Arcane Device, F/i, Due Process, Master / Slave Relationship and Randy Greif, but, obviously, the list just keeps going. Forget yer two-hole Boyd Rice singles and elevate this wonderful object to the position of most prized novelty item in your collection. If novelty isn't your buzz-button just think of all those hours, years even, of noise-music fun waiting for you. You need never buy another Merzbow record again! BD

Credits: BD = Brian Duguid, PT = Phil Taylor, DH = Dave Howarth