Taking the long-lived idea of the split EP one step further, Savage Lands crowbars the work of four artists from different areas of the industrial noise landscape onto one long CD – seventy-nine minutes and six seconds worth, in fact.
v-a – Savage Lands
Buy from: Coreline Shop
First up to the bat is Hypnoskull, who opens proceedings with the brutal gabba-breakcore attack of 23 Inches of Steel (Tribekillah Remix), which among the storm of beats seemingly samples the sound of mechanised dogs. And as good as this is, when it is followed by four more tracks with pretty much exactly the same template, it gets kinda tiring. Great titles, nice samples, shame about the lack of musical variety.
Despite what might be expected to be something of a jarring change in style, the last Hynposkull track moves almost seemlessly into the first Caustic track (Tweak To This), which simply bounces along, and features a wonderful sample reminding us “he only does [music] because he loves it”. And therein lies the reason, perhaps, why Caustic remain so much fun. Despite using similar raw materials to many other “noise” artists, Matt’s work is never, ever too serious.
Well, until, perhaps you get to the track You Fuck Jalibait, with a vicious vocal contribution from Experiment Haywire. The title tells you all you need to know! Also worth a mention is Bad Juju which – well, the intro at least, if nothing else – is probably much like listening to industrial noise on particularly strong psychedelic drugs.
And time to switch again – with the low-key beats of Four Times In Fifteen Years, the first of four offerings from Coreline. It’s an unusually restrained and mellow track for Coreline, in my eyes, but after the chaos of the first two artists it is perhaps a needed break. It doesn’t last long, though, as They Shall Have No Peace brings the recognisable Coreline sound back to the table, and there are some interesting ideas that erupt and then cease just as abruptly throughout.
Hello Yorkshire is a strange beast. An impossibly pretty chime opens it, before a skittering drum’n’bass rhythm (and being especially light on the bass) comes in, and things gradually become more and more distorted and cut-up, to unsettling effect…before heading back to where it started, where you think it’s going to repeat the whole thing. Cleverly, though, it takes an about turn and goes mental instead. Now there’s a twist I didn’t see coming. We Are Nameless brings the level of savage back down again, with another mainly mellowed out track. The whole set of four tracks from Coreline seems to suggest a slight change in emphasis for the future, but with that characteristic sound still intact (in other words: it’s good).
So, onto the last artist – and probably the least known of the four. The PCP Principle has kinda slipped under my radar a little, too, and I’m now kinda wondering how. In the main, what this artist does is bruising but atmospheric industrial noise, with hard beats underpinning it all (The Stalker) or a more languid but still oppressive approach (Hate Text).
Top track on the entire CD, though, is Cold.Alone.Afraid.Dead (08). It takes elements of both of the previous two tracks and fits them together to make a seriously impressive whole that just works, but is difficult to explain exactly why. And this neatly segues into the final track Epilogue, which really is a continuation of the brilliance of Cold.Alone.Afraid.Dead (08), and provides a suitably fitting closure point to an intriguing album.
By it’s very nature – and having four different artists all appearing in sections here – it was never going to be an album that was going to “fit” together exactly. In fact, the slightly rough edges add to the charm. It’s a little frustrating that the weakest material (the Hypnoskull stuff) comes up first, but it is worth persevering and enjoying the other three artists instead – and in particular for the spectacular finale served up by The PCP Princple. Of the latter – more, and soon, please.