[a]Alec Empire[/a]'s artistic Tourette syndrome shows no signs of abating....
[a]Alec Empire[/a]’s artistic Tourette syndrome shows no signs of abating. Weeks after the release of [a]Atari Teenage Riot[/a]’s ’60 Second Wipe Out’, he returns with this: the latest addition to Digital Hardcore‘s Limited Edition series and yet another involuntary spasm – of politically-fired – noise terror.
Recorded in spare moments during the sessions for the last ATR record, ‘Miss Black America’ continues Empire‘s obsession with making music that sounds like a 24-hour prison riot. If you want to know what this record is like, you only have to look at its sleeve. Grubby and uninviting, it’s a Xeroxed collage of soft pornography and photos of Empire with razor blades taped to his arms, that’s very reminiscent of ‘Sonic Death’-era Sonic Youth.
Which is the point really. Empire is doing nothing new here. His vision of music as a sadistic assault on its listeners can be traced back to the relentless grindcore of Sonic Youth contemporaries, the Swans. Where Empire triumphs, though, is in the precision and force with which he carries it off. All his records are a brutal combination of Lou Reed‘s ‘Metal Machine Music’ and The Jesus And Mary Chain‘s ‘Psychocandy’ multiplied by 1,000. They destroy any notions that Add N To (X) or Mogwai are operating at extremes by making them seem thin and spotless by comparison.
‘Miss Black America’ is a thrilling white light volume assault. It takes crowd noises recorded at a riot at a Black Sabbath gig in Milwaukee in the ’80s, mixes them with feedback and then loops them for six minutes (that’s ‘Black Sabbath’). It takes ’50s sci-fi effects and restructures them into a sinister ambient death rattle (that’s ‘I Can Hear The Winds Of Saturn’). The rest of the LP sounds like a platoon of mechanised crickets burrowing into your skull.
If Bomb 20‘s recent ‘Field Manual’ set the standard for records designed to make you feel nauseous and disoriented, then this is Empire‘s riposte. ‘Miss Black America’ is a relentless car crash of disgusting techno feedback. Fuelled by a furious sense of disgust, it’s one of the loudest, most pointless blasts of noise ever put down on tape. It will leave you feeling sick, bewildered and shaken. This, incidentally, is a recommendation.