Review: Hoggle – The Knockers (Mercium, Nov 15)

I’m not really sure why I like Labyrinth so much. Connelly’s performance is strained, the Muppet voices sound like they were recorded by kidnapped local theater performers held at gunpoint, and of course no one really wants to watch David Bowie acting out a fictional fantasy version of his ephebophilic predilections with his junk practically hanging out. But it’s also a fun, mostly inoffensive nostalgia-fest, and even decades later is still inspiring tangential works of art, like this tape by Longwood, FL project Hoggle, named for the crotchety dwarf that serves as Sarah’s guide through the labyrinth. Since 2019, releases have appeared sporadically on Altar of Waste, Muzikaal Kabaal, and Okto Media, and now, with what is perhaps the artist’s best material yet, on the Copenhagen-based Mercium imprint. Each of the four slabs introduces itself with a different sample from the movie, each centering around the door knockers scene, probably one of the more iconic examples of the knight-and-knave trope. As far as the walls themselves go there’s nothing too startling or revolutionary, but even though they’re mostly confined to mono, the punishing noise still jets through with incendiary force and energy, sometimes resembling a brutal torrent, other times an all-consuming spiral. While there’s much to be said for the inventive sound design and compositional techniques that make modern wall noise so compelling, The Knockers is a reminder that the classic approach is never a bad idea. Make sure to stick around for the whole thing; “Despite Protest, the Ring Must Be Replaced to Knock” is a real treat.

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