VARIOUS ARTISTS  Testament II  VIDEOCASSETTE   (RRRecords)   10.98

I know that there's still a contingent out there like me that collects these old videocassette compilations, as they are still some of the best archives of full power noise jams from the golden era of American noise. None of the RRR videos have been released on DVD, so for any fans of brutal noise and American industrial, these are reason enough to pull out that dusty VCR.

Testament II is the second in the RRRecords videocassette compilation series from the late 80's that combined music videos, underground avant-video art, harsh noise, and industrial music in a warped Night Flight style blast of brain warping sound and visuals. Each one of these tapes is a total timewarp to the late 80's post-industrial scene. This second volume starts off with a vibrantly colorful music video from Monty Cantsin for the song 'I Am Monty Cantsin", a twisted Teutonic industrial-pop jam that reminds me of a mutant version of Front 242 or Nitzer Ebb. That's followed by the bizarre plunderphonic/demonic sound collage and monstrous beast-headed host for the mock commercial from Out Of Band Experience, and then a collage of distorted video textures, nightmarish animation and gritty rhythmic noise from Japan's Takell-Kizimecca. There's a weird dayglo mindfuck from M. Nejnah and Pile Of Cows that blends mutant old home video footage with droning violi

n strings, electronics and rubbery, noxious bass guitars; Naram-Sin performs a spoken word/industrial dirge piece called "Natural Selection" over more horrific video loops reminiscent of some of the Swans music videos, complete with teeth. This whole track reminds me of older Swans, really. Pounding primal drumming, grating guitar noise and corrosive electronics at creep speed. Pretty awesome. David Atherton's 'Babylon' is a detached urban noise poem; Chop Shop lay on a documentarian video that depicts stills of an audio installation over crushing distorted drone and wavering synths. 'Scanners' from Arcane Device and M. Jankowski is hardcore feedback miniliasm that foreshadows Prurient, combined with video waveforms that bend and morph as the feedback is manipulated into theremin-like howls. And then comes the highlight of the tape, a live peformance from Merzbow recorded at WEBO in New York City in September of 1990 - the footage is compiled from a mix of still images and v

ideo, and features Masami Akita and a woman who I presume is Reiko Azuma conjuring a violent distortion storm of analogue noise and feedback as they pound on metal objects and crouch over effects generators. The set is light on action but it's still an awesome bit of performance footage from the Japanese noise god. The tape comes to a close with an awesome commercial-cum-documentary for the outsider/industrial music and art store Generator in NYC, which I had never heard of but man, after seeing this commercial do I wish I could have visited it back in the early 90's when it was around!