Friday, June 27, 2008

Smetnja & Zmajevdah (Croatia) - Seiuchi / Antarctica Split (2008)

smetnja zmajevdah split 2008 small


01. Seiuchi Warmaster Dušan
02. Penguins Are Not For Politics
03. Dada Submarine
04. Blue Whale Sonic Destruction
05. Happy Shipyard
06. So Beautiful
07. Sea of Eden
08. Antarctica
09. Our Planet's Dream
10. Neon Sea
11. Polarity
12. Love Factory
Total playing time 57:56

So I figured since it's my blog I might as well post my own stuff, hah!
C/P from myspace:

Mr. Smetnja and I decided to do another split release, and obviously that's what we did. It's free for download at a pretty cool extreme and experimental music netlabel - Sounds Abound.

What can I say about my side?
Well, it's pretty inconsistent and I don't know if that's good or bad. Happy Shipyard could be called noise, Antarctica grindcore, Sea of Eden post-rock, Neon Sea kinda tech-death / post-metal or something... You get my point. My future music will probably be most similar to Antarctica when compared with the other songs.
I drew the artwork again and I quite like how it turned out in the end. There are 3 pics with the audio: the front cover, the liner notes, and the tracklist. The liner notes consist of contact info and 2 songs/poems by Smetnja and myself - Smetnja's thing is simply his thing, and my part includes the lyrics to the actual song, Antarctica.

It's pretty long too, almost an hour with each side being a little less than 30min. The rar filesize is 102mb at 256kbps mp3 quality. Download it at the Sounds Abound myspace page, release SA21.

That's about it. We both appreciate feedback, of course. ;)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Information Sniper - A Tribute to the Grindcore Ninja Commando Team [0001]

The following two posts are something I've wanted to do for a while, and they are what the title says they are - a tribute to Discordance Axis. The first post features a short review of "The Inalienable Dreamless", and the second lots of other stuff, more precisely random DA trivia that I couldn't find answered anywhere else and present/future bandmember project(s) info. So hopefully at least DA fans will enjoy this.

[0010] - The Inalienable Dreamless < !!! >
[0011] - An Interview About Particularities

Information Sniper - A Tribute to the Grindcore Ninja Commando Team [0010]

discordance axis TID cover front

This album cover is that of the best album ever. Seriously, I will not argue about that with anyone. As I have already mentioned, for the first part I wanted to do a short review kind of thing, so that's what I did, irrelevant to whether it makes any sense mentioning the sheer levels of fanboyism contained within the next few paragraphs.

The Inalienable Dreamless, as I experienced it on the first listening session, was... amazing. I had either realized, or made myself believe through blastbeat-hypnosis, that I had found in this album a sort of aural perfection, a flawless ball of sound, a world encompassing, embodying the creative urge, the urge to scream, the urge of nature, an extremity akin to an overwhelming orgasm out of the totality of love, all in twenty-three minutes of twitching near-dissonance that somehow transduces from its original state to the utter joy of existence. From the overall design, to the music and the lyrics, The Inalienable Dreamless is miraculously beautiful and exhilarating.

It is grindcore.

You could say that the minimalist cover art stands in contrast to the audio content. The music itself is a total explosion of condensed sound trying to break free, like words uttered in the (relative) vaccum of space, whereas the portrait of a perfect blue sky (and, well, sea) defines a state at the same time morose and serene, ambivalent, the very construct of our reality: existence. Here's life, unmatched in intensity, through Witte, a drummer incredible in terms of accuracy and speed, followed by exceptionally original, abstract and just silly riffs to-bang-your-whole-goddamn-soul-to by Marton, and finally, to top the cake off in a martial arts manner, some of the most extreme and self-destructive screaming ever coming from the lungs of Chang, implying that he is either a very angry man, or one of them banshees from the netherworld (also, totally demonic growling, mind you). The combination of the three amounts to something apparently incomprehensible to most people; an album actually fairly melodic, but at the same time as abrasive as harsh noise. Or so it'd seem.

"DA was essentially 3 very strong personalities clashing constantly."
- Jon Chang

Not mentioning the lyrics would be a sin since they also belong to the very top of the genre, mostly 'cause Jon Chang decided to put some time into writing and actually express himself and his emotions through words. People like to describe all Discordance Axis lyrics as a combination of anime and sci-fi (literature), but there's a huge difference in terms of pure, yet unmeasurable emotional input between "The Inalienable Dreamless" and everything written before. When TID was released, newly apparent in Chang's lyrical style was the huge Neon Genesis Evangelion influence.

"At last I heard those words from you
But they make me disgusted with myself
Life choked back into you
With ambivalence

Familiar closed hearts conceal their loneliness
As best as they can
When together
Even further apart

Open your heart
As wide as the sky
This pain worse than death
I just ran away
Yes lonely
But you can't always rise from the dead"

- End of Rebirth

Aside from the title (which is most likely an Armored Core reference?), the whole song reminds of Evangelion for many reasons, but especially for the way it climaxes in the end, kinda theatrically explosive, like the End of Evangelion. Adding to all that is Jon Chang screaming his poetry like it's the last thing he will ever do. I mean, y'know that Eva protagonist, a whiny boy in puberty, Ikari Shinji? As pathetic as he is, he still tries, and tries, and tries. But you can't always rise from the dead, right?

"I had a strong influence in my writing style from Eva and a strong influence in how to structure the material."

Basically, what I'm saying is that these three guys blasted away some twenty minutes worth of noise and created the greatest piece of extreme music ever. Yes, that is what I'm saying. This is the grindcore album, and for a long time now I remain incapable of imagining a more satisfactory listening experience, just like the guys in Discordance Axis were incapable of slowing down.

discordance axis TID cover back

Information Sniper - A Tribute to the Grindcore Ninja Commando Team [0011]

Since Jon Chang is such a nice guy I got the chance to ask him a few specific TID-related questions (and a bit more) totally unexpectedly. :D
There's really not too much text, but I asked some stuff that I haven't seen answered anywhere else (+ I included some scanned pics and whatnot), and I actually managed to lose my original questions so I'll have to improvise that part. Sorry lol.

Alright, here goes (I'm the bold one ;)):

Regarding the TID front cover and the booklet - what's the meaning of those numbers/code above the band name and album title on the front, also above all song titles inside the booklet? [Note: the pic above this question is an example of what I'm asking about.]

The numbers regarding the song titles all regard quotes from the book Excession by Iain M Banks. If you pick it up you will be able to find deeper references to other things there ^o^

There's a Japanese sentence on the booklet which I identified as the ending line of End Of Evangelion ("気持ち悪い。"). Could you elaborate a little on why you put that particular line there? [Note: again, the pic above this question is an example of what I'm asking about.]

I quoted the End of Evangelion line because I was pretty sure that TiD would be the end of DA. I had a strong influence in my writing style from Eva and a strong influence in how to structure the material.

You said that you don't really like older DA lyrics too much anymore. Why exactly is that? [Note: The following three questions, this one included, were actually just one bigger question, but I divided them for an easier reading experience. Oh and I totally didn't ask them this way haha. This one wasn't even a question but more like just a mention.]

It's true, I'm not that fond of the older DA lyrics. There are some interesting passages but a lot of it was being dumb and young. Or at least that's how it appears to 35 year old me. 18 year old me felt all that stuff very strongly.

How do you write GridLink lyrics - more precisely, are they similar to your writing style on TID and are they still as influenced by Evangelion, or are you using a totally different approach?

GridLink reflects where I am at today. It is a bit more bitter. It talks a lot about war and the lack of identity in young people (myself included). Glomming onto ideas that are very idealistic, but when we get older we see these ideas were truly naive.

And what about Hayaino Daisuki?

HD on the other hand is ghost stories for the most part, which are a totally different writing process and a lot of fun to be creative with. I spend a lot of time looking at old paintings to get inspirations.

Something else that I'm interested in but I haven't seen answered anywhere else (kinda surprising) - what video games have been the most influential and inspirational for your work? [Note: At the time when I asked this, I think what I actually meant was what games inspired the lyrics the most, but this is pretty cool too lol.]

A game that has influenced my work? Well my gaming work, I really love Syndicate, Mercenaries and the Marathon series. Those made me want to go out and make video games. There are many games I enjoy: Armored Core, Metal Gear series, Final Fantasy, etc. I play Call of Duty 4 MP fairly often and I enjoyed Crysis quite a bit, though I wasn't a big fan of their MP...mostly the fact that I could never get it to work! LOL
Currently looking forward to MGS4, Mercs2, Little Big Planet, Killzone 2 and Resistance 2. And of course Black Powder Red Earth :-D I tend to have very high standards it means if I enjoy even 1 of those games I just mentioned I am in good shape, LOL.

Well, that's it for the mini-interview, but here's a little more about Chang's current projects:

gridlink amber gray cover
GridLink - a grindcore band that features Matsubara from Mortalized on guitar! Their first album titled "Amber Grey" is coming out on HydraHead the 20th in June (that's this month, by the way), and I'm really excited about that. Awesome and kinda technical thrashing.

hayaino daisuki HKCDF cover
Hayaino Daisuki - another grindcore band (or is it?), and this one features Matsubara too (hah)! This is actually, in essence, fast thrash metal influenced by ancient 80s thrash metal bands, and Sex Machineguns too, both in music and image. They released their first EP recently, "Head Banger's Karaoke Club Dangerous Fire", on HydraHead. Awesome in its cheesiness.

Echelon Software - a indie video game company. Obviously mister Chang likes to talk about video games, as a matter of fact, he has his own small independent video game company called Echelon Software. Their first FPS intended for online gaming is currently still in production, but from what I understood they hope to release it by X-mas this year. The game is called "Black Powder, Red Earth" and it has some awesomely original features. As an example, here's an excerpt from the site:

"Rather than building an elaborate 3D world space trapped on your platform of choice, BPRE uses framework already found on the Internet in social networking and e-commerce applications. Players, already used to creating and managing online identities on sites like Myspace and Face Book and buying products on sites like iTunes and Amazon, will be able to jump right in with little to no learning curve. Best of all, BPRE's commercial and social side is accessible from either from inside the game or from the outside via any Web-enabled device."

I don't know about any projects of Rob Marton, while Dave Witte seems to do his usual stuff (aka play in about 20 bands at once).
Here, I'll list some of Witte's current and former bands:
Discordance Axis
Human Remains
Municipal Waste
Burnt by the Sun
Black Army Jacket
Hex Machine
East West Blast Test
Birds of Prey


Monday, June 2, 2008

KIKURI [Japan] - Pulverized Purple [2008]

Few people are sane. The Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville, a world-renowed "avant-garde" music festival, celebrated its 25th edition in May of this year. These few sane people know why folks like Fred Firth, Anthony Braxton, John Zorn, Otomo Yoshihide and Mike Patton to name a few, feature as regulars and they knew why back in 2005, on The Boredoms 5-date north american tour, cities included Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, New York and Victoriaville.
Last year on the 24th edition, on May 21st 2007, two legendary musicians on their own, in need of no introductions, the dudes' in their fifties for god's saké, Keiji Haino and Masami Akita, shared the stage on the FIMAV closing show, for the first time outside Japan, as KIKURI. Having to drive two hours from Montréal to attend such a colossal event is to understate a negligibility. In my humble opinion I thought the show was punk as fuck, and not only because there was a drumkit, Merzbow brought some noise-triggering contraption that plays like a guitar and that Mr. Haino broke a string in the first seconds he plucked his electric guitar.

Hopefully it's not too soon to post, I figure people living in, let's say Croatia, might have a hard time getting their hands on a physical copy.

Fun fact; after the show I overheard a spectator said "that Keiji Haino is really something, but not too good a guitar player".

1. That Which Will Rise From Death Here Tonight Will Go Hand In Hand With A Glittering Echo Burdened With The Sin Of Joy.. [10'15"]
2. By Mischance That Soul I Devoured Was a Transparent, Vertical Blues.. [10'33"]
3. Give Me Back That Color You Stole From My Guts.. [12'44"]
4. That Place Into Which You Fell Was Lined With A Cushion Of Pain And Is No Proof Of Your Continuing Existence.. [5'55"]
5. Pulverized Purple.. [30'20"]

Mirror (Mediafire): Part 1, Part 2