The first 2016 release from the kvlt of Nasty Wizard Recordings is a early indicator of grimy things to come this year: China’s Noise Arcade alongside Borneo’s Theo Nugraha. 2015 was a triumphant year for the Nasty Wizards, slinging tapes of noise, punk, shoe gaze, and doom static from across the world, their DIY antics even being identified as one of ten labels leading the “Chinese tape resurgence”(http://www.electronicbeats.net/10-chinese-cassette-labels-leading-a-tape-resurgence/). This latest split of glitchy IDM and bleak noise is a sign of wicked things to come for this year.
On the one hand we have Theo Nugraha, a prolific experimental noise artist who regularly torments his next door neighbors in Palangkaraya, Borneo with explorations of hissing white noise and pulsating frequencies which remind of something out of a creepy black and white video game lurking in the deep web that make the reviewers shit themselves. Indonesia has a reputation for being a hub of freewheeling sonic experiments bolstered by a healthy grassroots scene of guerrilla gigs and DIY labels, yet even against this setting Theo is prolific to the extreme given the volume of split releases and compilations he’s participated in (check his Bandcamp for proof!)
February has been a particularly fruitful one for Theo, releasing a split release for every day of the month under the title "Dialog dan Komunikasi" and this right here is the final offering of his marathon run of audio filth. ‘Sehelai Benang’ is seventeen minutes of pulsating mutant sounds creeping over a landscape of relentless static. Snatches of melodies, drones, and voices bubble away under the surface and occasional erupt from the maelstrom, suddenly reducing to almost nothing before exploding back into life. It’s the eye of the night, the belly of the whale, the abandoned building at the end of street, simultaneously seductive and terrifying.
On the flip side of the coin we have Noise Arcade, the solo project of Beijing based electronics wizard, producer, and Nasty Wizard co-founder Michael Cupoli. Noise Arcade has been a fixture of Beijing’s experimental, electronic and noise scenes for a number of years, constantly exploring the possibilities of a drum machine, a couple of synths and more effects pedals than your average guitar shop. While having toured China, South Korea, Japan, Europe, and Malaysia, Noise Arcade revisits the connections he made in Indonesia with this latest split adding to his already substantial library of releases (likewise, check his Bandcamp for proof!)
‘The Realization That You Don’t Know What’s Coming Next’ opens with a pulsing beat over which radiant melodies drift and mingle, slowly building into moody piece perfect for lone midnight strolls along large bodies of water or alternatively along service shafts while under the influence of emotion dulling prescription pills a la George Lucas’s THX 1138. Meanwhile ‘Difficulty In Getting A Reply’ wastes no time in creating a sense of acute frustration as the suggestive title implies, hard beats daring you not to nod your head while synth lines swirl around above and beyond. It’s sci-fi dance at it’s quirkiest, with irresistible hooks that will appeal to anybody with a heartbeat yet featuring a depth that will please even the most picky of sonic nerds and audiophiles.
The Noise Arcade and Theo Nugraha split will be available through the Nasty Wizard Bandcamp page in digital form and on merch tables and the shelves of record stores in tape form for those who like to hold things in their hands. Here’s to a year filled with similarly nasty noises.
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