Review: Taskmaster – Taskmaster (FTAM Productions, Jun 18)

The first ‘harsh noise wall’ tape I ever came across was a little C30 called Kriemhild Anal Saxon. This was also the first release I heard by Taskmaster, whose relatively sparse but astonishingly consistent catalog embodies the best parts of the classic wall sound. 13 years after that tape—as well as Taskmaster’s first self-titled album—was released, a new document comes to us via FTAM Productions. This new eponymous cassette contains everything I love about the project, and framed by a distinctly modern crunch are Taskmaster’s trademark dynamics, which, paradoxically, are at once varied and static. Yes, both sides of this tape would probably display a completely blacked-out waveform, but as with every release I’ve heard by this artist there is much more going on than that; tendrils of clashing textures emerge under cover of formidable, squalling noise that crackles and sputters with terrifying strength, and even a litany of repeated listens may not reveal all of the carefully layered chunks that make up each track. The concrete of Taskmaster’s walls is more molten than most; these tracks are lush, oppressive, and hypnotically immersive. And that initial blast of the second side has to be the best and most punishingly cathartic I’ve heard this year.