Review: Bruising Pattern – Fragments of Consciousness (Lost Light, Oct 28)

The first side of Fragments of Consciousness, the new tape from Bruising Pattern (also known as Peter Stipsits) on Lost Light Records, begins rather innocuously with a thin wave of static dwarfed by a guttural rumble. But by the time the first thirty seconds of the track have passed, Stipsits forces the wall into harsher territory, rolling the crackles to the front of the mix until they merge with the lumbering bass undertones. The result is a formidable, roiling slab of noise, bubbling but harsh like a boiling pot full of cement, that commands the listener’s attention for its entire 29 minutes. Hiding high above the chunks of distortion, however, is the soft clinking sound of a delay pedal clock, an element that foreshadows the higher register of the second piece and adds a new dimension to the piece. Though still up-close and confrontational, side two of Fragments of Consciousness whips up the crumbling cacophony into a tight drone, the crepitating noise concealing a more recognizably tonal hum that sets the whole wall on edge. Stipsits uses his minimal palette to find balance between arresting abrasion and anxious tension, making Fragments of Consciousness one of the more captivating wall releases I’ve encountered this year.