Nil - Nilmonic Process LP (PPR22)

a box containing the sound of its own making
is art I get
resonates the same
as in the negative space
of doodles done well

banks and mining companies
sponsor the arts
in downtown Vancouver
the Van City theatre
Wavelength by Michael Snow
he’s Canadian but had a loft
in New York
walked in 
walked out with ringing ears
, applauding

[extract from a first draft of a forthcoming chapbook. Passages from a collection of personal notebooks and diaries were used as jumping off points for poems.]

Just when I start to feel as though albums that satisfy my tastes are losing any and all shock value, Jonas Asher and Jochen Hartmann release something on Phaserprone that shakes things up again. Over the years, the label has consistently been one of my favourites, so it was a real treat to receive this piece of wax in the mail. It comes from Hartmann and Asher themselves releasing under the collective name of Nil.

The music of Nil seems to be culled from a process (yes, the nilmonic process) of taking loosely formulated sound segments derived from things like pedal feedback, and working them into rigidly assembled compositions via the computer. The result of the process sees a new spin on the outdated canon of harsh noise; a much welcomed framework for these oddball sounds. But the duo aren't dealing strictly with noise here, there exists a myriad of styles on the album, shifting rather quickly to accommodate them all. The record employs a jump-cut mentality, which can be a rather tricky path to proceed down, though I think Nil work it with aplomb over the duration on account of them sticking to it, and a sense of the duo having perfect control over they're production. 

I'm not one to compare one's music to another much anymore, but it's worth pointing out that I don't think I could do it if I tried with the Nilmonic Process. As I mentioned, sections of the album align more with current noise tactics, particularly the A side, while others are far more nuanced. The flip side especially showcases these more minimal movements, that range from a hyper-terse techno, to raw analog permutations, to what some musicians working exclusively with cassette tape might conjure up with a simple reversal of a loop. It's hard not to enjoy when it all comes together. A fantastic release, and nicely packaged in what is and might be the first and last all pro-printed release from Phaserprone.

Nil - B14 (extract) by ScrapyardForecast

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