LIVING CURRENCY  Hideous Process Demos  CASSETTE   (Personnel Records)   9.99

Another recent-ish one from the Seedstock sub-label Personnel operated by Marco Del Rio from Raspberry Bulbs and Bone Awl, and probably the most malevolent sounding of 'em all. That name is presumably a reference to Klossowski, the English translation of the title to the French philosopher's 1970 book La monnaie vivante , which, among other things, acted as an exploration into what he referred to as the "libidinal economy". That is kind of the impression I got when looking over this thing and seeing song titles like "Labor Orgies", "The Coming Chemical", "A Martyr's Trophy". Of course, i could totally be making that shit up. You never know. Anyways, a familiarity with the fringes of late-20th century French negativism is hardly a prerequisite for enjoying this hand-made tape of deeply warped pleasures. Presented on an unmarked black cassette in a hand-stamped fold-out cover, in an edition of two hundred copies, Hideous Process uncrates a small horde of bizarre and spontaneous death-punk, ratty and soiled, six skeletal songs that creep into your ear canal.

The label (and band themselves, I suppose) self-describe Living Currency as a "post punk band", which isn't inaccurate. It just feels like post-punk from an adjacent reality being performed by terminally disheveled entities. Process offers up a intoxicating combination of repetitive percussive pummel, and ghostly minor-key melodies that drift from what is presumably a guitar, though the sound quality is so murky and degraded that it's really difficult to ascertain where these sounds are coming from. And that's what makes this so alluring to me - these songs are so primitive and seemingly formless that they take on an unearthly, almost ritualistic quality. That clanking, muffled pounding in the background sounds mostly like someone hammering slowly and monotonously on an old, rusted oil drum, while the guitar wheezes and wails and drifts upward into the rafters with its meandering, gloomy lines, often manifesting as little more than a series of droning, wavering notes, and while that is going on in the song, you hear faint, murmured voices creeping furtively on the periphery on the music, a haze of whispers and hushed recitations, almost hidden from the listener until they are suddenly thrust forward and become a bold chant, or a scathing reptilian rasp. The overall delivery is pretty raw, with some songs suddenly cutting off without warning, and others starting from what feels like an arbitrary point. But again, this is a feature and not a bug of Living Currency's deformed and emaciated dirges. When you finally get to the last song "Mortal Effigy", the sound becomes slightly more musical as a woozy, mournful melody takes shape over that same simplistic, primitive metallic pounding, and in this final reveal, sounds all the world like some ancient death-rock outfit armed with nothing but sheet metal and an out of tune guitar, passing time after being walled up in some hidden underground chamber.

This is one strange tape. And I can't get enough of it. More than anything, the six songs on Hideous Process remind me of some of the most abstract and ambient projects from Les Légions Noires, the shambling, industrial-tinged gloom sometimes reminiscent of Moevot, for example. Weird stuff, for sure. But there's definitely a recurring post-punk quality throughout, smearing that ghastly low-fi LLN-style blackened weirdness with a sorta-Neubaten-esque clang and wizened, moth-eaten death rock. For the record, I fucking loved this tape.