Review: Elettronica Ultras – Opposta Fazione (Ominous Recordings, Nov 15)

Of all the strange music I cover on this site, people I know both in person and online seem to be the most intrigued, or occasionally baffled, by my interest in wall noise. Why this is the case is obvious: they are confused and perturbed by the idea of music that is intended to not only be harsh (in the traditional sense at least) but also largely the same throughout its duration. I default to an explanation I’ve probably brought up a dozen times here, where I compare a wall track to an abstract visual art piece that never physically changes yet nonetheless yields greater depth and emotional resonance the longer it is looked at. But there’s another dimension to wall noise that this analogy doesn’t accommodate: though there’s nothing preventing listeners from prematurely ending their observance of a particular track, but there is certainly significance in the fact that the artist chooses a specific time frame for the consumption of their creation. Thus, the duration of a wall is as much an quality to be considered as what it actually sounds like.

A release as visceral as Elettronica Ultras’ Opposta Fazione doesn’t necessarily require such a pedantic preamble, but the acknowledgment of the importance of length allows me to articulate part of the reason I enjoy this tape so much: it’s short. The new artist, whose only other release (that I can find) is last April’s Oltre Tutto e Tutti CDr, presents two slabs of raucous, smoldering harsh noise across the C13, and true to such brevity the sound is intense and punishing. Restricting these incendiary blasts of crunch and crackle to six and a half minutes each not only makes them digestible but also imbues the music itself with a powerful immediacy, a quality that makes Opposta Fazione stand out from other harsh releases that place more emphasis on the extended reverie that such deafening stagnancy can induce.