Explicit drone and noise merging are pretty rare across the experimental underground. Purveyors of sonic limit testing often find themselves traversing such waters at the outer limits of their audial repertoire, but are less likely to find themselves in a decided act of cross-pollination. The bridging of the two is something that Swiss artist Earthflesh is well adept at. And on this occasion, Earthflesh has squared this circle with the aid of Montreal based ambient noise-maker Man In The Shadows, presented on their collaborative release, INCINÉRATEUR.
This is not the first time Earthflesh has graced the pages of Discipline Mag. We first featured 2021’s ‘Revelations in Dust’, a behemoth of sound that we described as having a “density [that] seems both opaque but rife with activity.. The thick fog of droning noise ebbs and flows, but by and large, intensity is the name of the game.” Surging overloads of droning noise is generally what we get from Earthflesh. A sound that can feel like Sunn O)))’s wafting drone extending out so far its rumbling over-capacity tickles out a fierce surge of harsh noise cacophony.
At 4 years of age and with over 50 releases now to its name, Earthflesh has no qualms with the more prolific inclinations of noise artists. Though, from what’s been ingested thus far, seems to do so without the disposability that can eventuate from such a prolific ethos. It feels like there is a kind of intellect that emanates from the project. It’s oppressive and free-spirited, but not messy or wasteful.
Man In The Shadow on the other hand is a new name for me, however they appear to be named after an obscure American Western/Crime film from 1957, which is a good launch pad from which to contextualise the duo. Field recordings, dark ambience and other-worldly synths underscore this dark, yet bizarre, experimental output. A fitting counter-weight to Earthflesh, and the kind of chance meeting I’m unable to conceptually divorce from the SUNN O))) meets NURSE WITH WOUND album ‘The Iron Soul Of Nothing’.
On INCINÉRATEUR, we see outer limits tested, but within the relative confines of either contributor on this in absentia collaboration. Being a single near 30 minute track, there is a clear distinction between the contributions of either entity. Opening quietly with ringing ambience, the track fades in with a dark and contemplative aura. Wobbling synths ensue with a droning predisposition to sharp and wafting tendencies. These sounds enter one’s consciousness in a similar (but notably faster) way to the opening of Nurse With Wound’s ‘Soliloquy for Lilith’.
The aforementioned extremity of Earthflesh is not on full display on INCINÉRATEUR. Rather, Earthflesh provides an aural padding of droning aural frequencies. These tones run through the release, uplifting the relative buoyancy of Man In The Shadow’s synth work and field recordings.
There is an almost intergalactic feel to this record. After rising, falling, and eventual settling of various frequencies, Man In The Shadow meets Earthflesh at a sonic middle-point. Washings of electronic wobbles hold a momentarily subdued position while rumbling noise builds, dominates and overwhelms the track with dread. Ripley abandoning Mother in Alien feels a fitting cinematic analogy for the track – a dense and apocalyptic void that encapsulates the urgency of everything from the centre of nothingness.
INCINÉRATEUR presents a vivid, intergalactic landscape composed of audial extremity and cinematic experimentalism for a boundless exercise into oblivion. Maximum volume yields maximum results.
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