Review: Peace Doctrine – Peace Doctrine (Aberrant Recordings, Jul 23)

“Anyone could make this” is never a valid criticism of any piece of art, but it often becomes egregiously inaccurate and misrepresentative when it comes to abstract forms of music like noise, which as a genre is too often the punchline for sneering accusations of pretension or pointlessness. For me, it’s difficult to imagine listening to something like Peace Doctrine’s second self-titled tape and thinking it’s anything but virtuosic; of all the many forms of noise music, cut-up noise is one of the most difficult to get “right,” and it’s certainly no easy task figuring out how to even make these sounds in the first place. This new project from Matt Gomes, which flared into conspicuous existence with June’s C20 debut on PRESSORTAPE (also self-titled), doesn’t just flirt with negative space via jarring stop/starts or stitch together dizzying assaults of disparate samples, instead focusing on filtering diverse flavors of harsh distortion and feedback through meticulous sound design and clever left/right channel play. My immediate thought was that the music could use a more robust mastering job, but the (relatively) quieter presence of these eleven tracks quickly grew on me, settling somewhere between violent cacophony and airy detachment, all the while running merciless circles around your head. I probably bring up Jesper Forselius’s Blod project too often, but I think the comparison is reasonably apt here in that both artists seem to blare their caustic blasts from somewhere quite far off, and yet the sharp edges refuse to dull even the slightest bit. A promising (to say the least) new project with releases on two equally promising new labels? 2021, as I’ve said many times already, seems to be the year of noise.

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