malleus&incus

θζξχϖσδλ(It Only Gets Worse From Here)

Posted in Uncategorized, Witch House/Drag/etc by jawillisetc on September 2, 2010

Many Witch House/Drag/whatever bands employ unpronounceable, vaguely occult nonsense symbols in their names. This frustrates me, because when attempting to research bands, I can’t figure out how to google them. I suppose the symbols serve a twofold purpose, both suggesting mystery through their unpronounceablility and creating mystery by forcing the bands into obscurity. Because these symbols don’t work in URLs, I’ll include links to the myspaces and soundclouds of the bands I mention in this post, hopefully save everybody some time.
Some of the more interesting names I’ve come across so far include GR†LL GR†LL, ▲, ℑ⊇≥◊≤⊆ℜ, †‡†, and ///▲▲▲\\\. Now, the first thing I thought when I saw most of those names was that this was all bullshit and these guys are just making up stupid names and will slap some nonsense demos on a soundcloud to be part of a scene. But, as much as I wanted to be self righteously dismissive and smug, I can’t be. These people actually know what they are doing.

///▲▲▲\\\


Beta Tape Warp // ///▲▲▲\\\

How They Kill You // ///▲▲▲\\\

Tetanus Wine // ///▲▲▲\\\

///▲▲▲\\\

///▲▲▲\\\, also known as VOID, actually recently changed their name to HORSE MACGUYVER, and I can’t decide if that’s an improvement. But regardless of whether you call them ///▲▲▲\\\, VOID, or The StupidNames, they make some great music. Their real strength lies in their commitment to building a solid foundation for each song. Too many tracks in this and other experimental genres forget to lay a meaningful foundation for their songs, leaving their experiments and those listening with nothing to grab onto. ///▲▲▲\\\ ‘s tracks always have a simple drum pattern and either bassline or melody that the listener can nod along to while the track gains complexity.
How They Kill You begins with rusty sounding drums that anchor the haunted house organ and ghostly moaning. Beta Tape Warp similarly introduces itself with a primitve clap and bass thump, and rather than depending on the drums as an anchor it employs a simple ascending synth pattern that closes the track, as if to highlight its role. Finally Tetanus Wine employs the now expected clattering drums as an anchor, but drops them for the last minute of the track, making the listener feel lost, floating in static.

†‡†

gOth bb // †‡†

>>>>▲<<<< // †‡†

Initiation // †‡†

†‡†

This band, who on their soundcloud refer to themselves as rrritualzzz(which I will be abbreviating to rituals for the rest of the post) lean heavier on the goth/industrial side of things than any of the groups I’ve mentioned previously. They frequently employ jarring synth stabs that contrast with rumbling war drums to heighten the drama of their tracks. “g0th bb” uses a basic bass and kick pattern whose distant rumble makes the synth stabs and screams drill into the listener’s skull when the occur. >>>>▲<<<<< is a remix of HEALTH’s "USA Boys", but because it emphasizes the melodrama hidden within the original with the addition of a distant, reverbed vocal sample, I prefer it to the original. Finally "Initiation" wins the award for most appropriately named track, not that it was a tough race. It starts slow, with a delicate chime, gradually chugging drums encroach on the chime, threatening it until the bass and more mechanical percussion overwhelm it. The track builds, speeding up into a full scale synth nightmare, annihilating any trace of the restrained delicate chime with screeching synths, an otherworldly drone, and surprisingly speedy drums. This track in particular highlights what good Witch House does: create fear by overwhelming and destroying the familiar, the pretty. Initiation, although melodramatic, is my favorite rituals track.

GR†LL GR†LL
They All // GR†LL GR†LL

GR†LL GR†LL

Honestly these guys didn’t stand out to me that much, aside from this track, “They All”, which completely grabbed me. It barely fits the genre, with nothing but a subtle background drone and a fondness for claps suggesting Witch House. But those drums and that chopped up vocal sample just bang. This is driving music. I’m burning a CD with just this on it, cranking the bass, and listening to nothing else while I still have a car. Seriously, just listen.

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