Review: Kuebiko – 10,000 Torii Gates (Outsider Art, Feb 22)

On what is apparently his debut on the cassette medium, Nottingham noise artist Kuebiko conjures hulking industrial soundscapes that growl and rumble with intimidating force. With a tape as (criminally!) short as 10,000 Torii Gates, an artist can’t afford to waste time, and Kuebiko certainly doesn’t; while the opening piece “Un Ah,” the longer of the two, expands much more slowly and organically than some of the more erratic cut-up artists we know and love, it doesn’t compromise in volume or abrasiveness, instead allowing for the thought-cleansing catharsis of harsh noise to emerge through the gradual unfurling of distorted static textures and overwhelming, bass-filled reverberations. “Jizos in the Moss” expands further into the sharp-edged chunkiness hinted at by the previous track, framing a lush sound environment of jagged drones with crackling, kinetic rings of distortion. The way this second piece expands to its conclusion is even more natural than “Un Ah,” seeming to crack and crumble under its own massive weight before dissipating into that pregnant silence that exists only in the aftermath of the loudest, most ear-bloodying noise sets. I really do wish it was longer though. A thirteen-minute run time is just unfair for something this good!

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