HASEGAWA, HIROSHI / POSITIVE ADJUSTMENTS  Cryptic Void  CD   (4iB Records)   17.98

††Packaged in a full color digisleeve with printed yellow paper overlay, Cryptic Void is one of the more striking packages to come from the Singapore noise label 4ib. The delicate texture of this package totally belies the crushing electronic chaos that's contained inside, though. While I wasn't all that familiar with Positive Adjustments, Hiroshi Hasegawa is definitely a known quantity around here, having fronted the influential Japanese noise group C.C.C.C. since the early 90s, and the many recordings of psychedelic, brain-melting electronic chaos that Hasegawa has produced over the past few decades make up some of my favorite all-time releases from the Japanese noise underground.

†† Hasegawa's side of this split features two epic-length tracks that combine for more than half an hour of his signature psychedelic noise. The first, "Cruel Street Goddess", is an abstract mass of jittery electronic glitch and rhythmic sputter stretched out over controlled bursts of low-end hum, building into an abrasive oscillator attack that shares some of the same hypnotic, brutal qualities as Bastard Noise's analogue squelch assaults. As this track continues to unfold, Hasegawa piles on layer after layer of additional noise, bone-rattling low-end frequencies and corrosive bass drones, endless spooling glitch-noise and waves of speaker-ripping distorted crackle, looping mechanical humming and sudden eruptions of crushing chaotic effects, endless avalanches of scrap-metal crashing to the earth, swarms of hellish insectoid buzz, and torrents of garbled bottom-heavy junknoise. The other track "Higher Than Mountain Heaven" is a symphony of incredibly abrasive junk-metal chaos shrouded in a heavy layer of reverb, like some improvised scrap-metal din recorded in the bowels of a massive warehouse, the thunderous metallic reverberations washing across the entire sound-field, filling the air as a dense cloud of grimy, echoing, howling chaos.

†† The latest project from Swedish noise artist Krister Bergman, Positive Adjustments deliver three tracks that are certainly no less abrasive than Hasegawa's material, but Bergman makes more use of space and tension throughout these mutant noisescapes, permitting the heaving, pneumatic machine-rhythms and blasts of violent electronics room to breathe. He laces the tracks with stretches of eerie room ambience and minimal drone that make their more aggressive moments that much more startling and powerful when they kick in. Combining crushing mechanical rhythms and processed guitar noise with harsh metal abuse, smears of murky underwater ambience, luminous electronic tones, and distant whirring sounds, Bergman creates a thoroughly surreal sensory assault, shifting in an instant between intensely heavy and caustic electronic noise and fields of Aube-esque processed micro-sound, looping drones formed from grinding distorted noise and abstract junkscapes.

†† Limited to two hundred fifty copies.

Track Samples: