Tapes » Flesh Coffin – So Much Darkness

Flesh Coffin – So Much Darkness

Flesh Coffin – “So Much Darkness” C40 tape (Jersey Flesh, 2011)


Memory Wave Transmission:

Flesh Coffin – So Much Darkness (C40, Jersey Flesh)

Flesh Coffin is Andreas Brandal’s decidedly dark and unearthly noise project which combines a lot of junk electronics and harsh noise wall aesthetics together. So Much Darkness is, like its titled, filled to the brim with grim noise and haunting atmospheric qualities; it is often filled with as many voids of darkness as it is sounds.

Side A begins with “Preparation”, the bulk of first side coming it at almost 14 minutes. A swirling of tape manipulation and mechanical glitching opens the track, watery cascades that mimic the tape’s artwork of a coffin riding a black tide. It almost sounds like the cassette is broken, or your tape player is eating the reel; don’t run to switch it off. Soon, a blistering wave of static squall will wash over, to be broken and reformed into a drone of black mulch shifting and pitching into a state of nothing. Flesh Coffin often refines and reforms the track into something different, always bleak and lifeless. It’s interesting to note Brandal’s genre movements throughout “Preparation”; each is thoroughly compelling, although sometimes the blending from one to the next is a bit spotty.

It’s difficult to tell, but I believe “Dress My Wounds” comes in with a scraping junk sound of harsh abrasive clutter, with feedback coalescing and shaping underneath some static. Despite its chaotic sound, there’s actually a fairly rhythmic feel to the battering of slashing sound, and Brandal ensures that he runs through the gamut of his junk electronics by imitating sounds with different noises. There’s a real harsh noise feel to this track; equating it to earlier Merzbow records wouldn’t be a disservice, but there’s certainly more of a theme here than random smatterings of scrap banging. I quite like it; the ferocity is apparent, as is the sound of chains appropriate to the slavish world Flesh Coffin creates with his noise.

Side B holds “Grindstone” and “So Much Darkness”. The former again starts with that demented tape squelch, this time with a sort of circus-esque rhythm until Flesh Coffin adds some background fuzz to it along with a unchanging pitch tone. Lots of dark shifting in the background of this one, a crawling feeling behind the standard drone. But the short length of ”Grindstone” ensures that it doesn’t really stand out much on this tape. The title track carries on a squall of static to begin with, but since the tape is mastered rather low, everything has a very murky feeling, and there’s definitely a bit of background noise going on that heightens this from just another surging HNW track to something more caustic. Little flashes of scrap electronics patter against the wall, and Flesh Coffin even leaves spaces in between like claustrophobic breaths. There’s no escaping the darkness, only small reprieves.

So Much Darkness is one of those tapes that feels haunted and withered, despite the apparent philosophy that noise shouldn’t be able to harvest a specific emotion. Flesh Coffin’s sparks of static, the scraping of chains, the unsettling gutter that the sound puts the listener in, feels like a deep-set connection between artist and listener; we share anger and darkness.


Musique Machine:

Flesh Coffin – So Much Darkness [Jersey Flesh – 2011]

“So Much Darkness” finds Flesh coffin(one of the many projects of Norwegian based noise maestro Andreas Brandal) offering up his usually dark and horror filled mix of: noise, junk metal abuse, sinister and grating sound scaping, and noisy/dread filled sonic uneasy.

This C40 claims to offer up four tracks in all, but sadly something has gone very much a miss with this release regards it’s tracks & their timings. The track timings don’t seem to relate to the ones on the sleeve, but from what I can make out there are two tracks per side.

Opening up the tape we have “Preparation” which comes in just over the 13 minute mark. The track starts out with this neat textural cluttering and almost liquid trickling elements- these are fed through this unreeling and blurring tape effect which makes you panic thinking your player is ruining the tape. After a few minutes of this we move into creepy & stripped junk cluttering dwells that sudden rise up to huge banks of junk cluttering & horror wind ripped noise attacks. Nearing the mid-way point Brandal adds in a malevolent and sinister tone that switchers between feed back pitch attacks and wavering black harmonics. In the tracks last four of so minutes the junk elements and the up/ down textured shifts are replaced by a more even and cinematically dammed mix of growing/ receding rumbling and brooding metallic dwells and creepy ‘n’ crackling subtle noise texturing.

Up next is “Dress My Wounds” which comes in at just over the 6 minute mark( though is meant to coming in at 7.52). And this track often violently see-saws between buried and rising bone like junk metal abuse, murky and blown-out textural shifts, manic junk metal texturing, and roaring yet organic noise shreds.

Side two seemingly has two tracks to offer “Grindstone” which is around the five mintue mark and starts out with a more sharp and high pitched take on the unreeling tape tones like the first sides first track then darts off into high pitch judder sustains that are mixed with crashing & battering noise rolls, with the odd dips into murky and stripped junk metal attacks here & there.

Lastly we have the title track which takes up the rest of the side and finds Brandal darting from caustic texture bombardments, to wavering electro dwells, to stripped junk sinister dwells, onto brooding noise folks, through to long dwells in brooding and crashing eerier harmonic fired noise matter. The tracks a great example of the projects mixed use of sounds/ textures & it’s damn violent & chilling too.

Sonically “So Much Darkness” is prime and darkly enjoyable Flesh coffin, but sadly the presentation of the sleeve leaves much to be desired and does let the release down- first off(as already mentioned) the track timing are often way out, and secondly the sleeve is badly cut and folded, which makes the whole thing look very amateurish and lo-grade. So a difficult item to rate….but I say 4 out of five for the sonics, and 1 for the sleeve.

Rating: 3 out of 5 – Roger Batty


%d bloggers like this: