Review: Suitcase Body – Star Bloom (Broken Tape, Feb 12)

I must have accidentally done a lot of good and/or virtuous things to rack up this much karma, because there’s no way it’s just happenstance that, after not even two months, 2022 is shaping up to be a positively legendary year for harsh noise and related genres. Between Phage’s Black Sand Desert double CD retrospective, Monolithische Aktion’s vulgar new batch, and the raucous return of Finnish newcomer Kobeuk, January was already filled with quality material, but February has already answered with instant classics like the latest splooge of pornographic causticity from Moozzhead on New Forces, the self-titled debut of Italian enigma Steve Urkel, and now this. Suitcase Body isn’t a project I’ve heard anything from before, and it looks like that’s because they haven’t put out any externally produced recordings beyond a few tracks featured on V/A comps—that is, until Star Bloom, a release so good that my entire first time through I was half waiting for the other shoe to drop. But it doesn’t; there’s just one giant steel-toed boot soled with spikes, and it never stops grinding your face into the dirt. Though every minute features a more-than-satisfactory supply of brutal feedback worship and lacerating scrap-metal maelstroms, structurally the full-length album is a flawlessly arranged mixed bag, some tracks tending toward sluggish and stagnant territory (“We Are Masters of Tricks and Treats,” “Infinity Within Zero [Lights of Thought]”) and others reinjecting ruthless energy with classic squall-‘n’-crunch thrash (“Avatar, Eternal Mind, Collective Mind,” “Living Mathematical Minds of Zero [Paradigm Shift]”). Again I ask: what did I do to deserve this? And how do I keep doing it??

Review: Rene Kita – Fraught Mackerel (self-released, Feb 12)

Turku artist Rene Kita, whose “main purpose in life is to draw one million faces before [they] die,” has given me and presumably at least some others a splendid, joyous gift with Fraught Mackerel. Though it barely crosses the 11-minute mark, the release feels dizzyingly expansive, stuffed to bursting with the kind of sonic density that’s just the right sort of exhausting. Many of the bite-sized segments, despite being at their cores coldly digital, have a delirious woodland effervescence that I associate with a lot of the Finnish abstract music I love, and a few are straight up magical (just listen to “Feral Molochs”; I was not being flippant with my use of “joyous”). Both within each track and as a whole, the album is undoubtedly full of nonsensical chaos, and yet—whether from our brains, the actual music, or both—even on a first listen plenty of patterns emerge: bouncing rhythms shattered into sparkling shards that do their best to reform the whole, who-knows-how-many different melodies trying and failing (or succeeding?) to coexist. But for the most part…. “Such a pretty mess, don’t you think?”