Review: Bacillus – Serial Infector (Nefarious Activities, Nov 1)

Peter Keller’s long running project Bacillus takes its name from a genus of enzyme-producing bacteria and infectious pathogens, a fitting namesake for more than twenty-years’ worth of experiments with sonic decay. Serial Infector is Keller’s first recorded work in almost a decade. It focuses on the horrifying concept of people who intentionally spread diseases and infections to others, much in the same way as Bacillus’s gritty electronics worm their way into the listener’s unsuspecting ear. The tape comes in a medical biohazard bag, which I’m not sure is able to contain the relentless, gnawing sounds that threaten to break out of their red plastic shell at any moment. The first side’s maelstroms of decomposing industrial sound, blasts of distorted feedback, and pedal noise howls come to a head with the vicious centerpiece “Bulgarian Nurses Affair,” a deafening mass of pestilence whose edges crackle with piercing glitches. Side B starts equally loud with “The Deliberate Infection of Over 400 Children With HIV,” a song I hope is not based on actual events, and “Intentional Transmission,” both of which pummel the eardrums with merciless high frequencies and squalling loops of noise. Serial Infector never relinquishes even a bit of its energy, even on the short interlude “Stolen Syringes” that sounds like a buzzing horde of disease-bearing gnats.