"I WILL BURY YOU"-PERIPHERAL RECORDS-FREAK ANIMAL
Fuck! I think I have kept repeating that Slogun has been improving once again - with just about every release that comes out. And I need to say that again. And this time even more so than before! 14 songs on one LP. Heavy on the vocal department as usual. There are couple tracks that have simply too loud vocals, that bury anything that song has as noise piece. But, as soon as some sensible balance of vocal vs. noise is found, it includes some of the very best Slogun tracks of... all times? Well, with such a long distance and vast discography it is bold thing to say, but there is diversity and now also charming lo-fi/crudeness what often lacked in digital era of Slogun. "Bonus track" is piece of his SELF project. Musically not far from Slogun. Simply missing the loud in your face vocals. Such tracks would be great to include throughout the album.
"MURDER U.S.A."-2x 7"LSDO RECORDS -AVERSIONLINE
Thank fucking hell LSDO is back, because they're definitely my favorite label when it comes to the experimental noise world. Always top notch. Always. And here Slogun hits hard with power electronics that only Brooklyn could deliver. All of the songs are short and cut to the chase. In "West - These Voices" subtle hums and distortion repeat under those patented vocals that are instantly recognizable. "South - Revisited" is a bit harder and busier, with more rhythmic distortion and some distortion on the vocal shouts (which are also a bit more over the top). "North - Just Perfect" is straight harsh distortion, thick but minimal. And yes, more of those vocals kick in with some maniacal content and similar arrangements. "East - The Lords" starts with a midrange squeal that caves in to more brutal distortion and yet more unforgettable vocals. All of the tracks are similar with a consistently (and appropriately) raw recording, but that doesn't bother me since everything sort of blows by in a flash. As with all LSDO releases the packaging here is god damn awesome. The 7"s come in a full color gatefold sleeve printed on matte paper (hand-numbered of 1000 copies on the back) with one record and two postcards in each half. The imagery is based around dirty colors and textures with excellent layering and typefaces. It looks awesome, and having the phrase "therapy through violence" brandished across the center spread sort of drives the point home. The first record is on marbled gray vinyl, the second on beautiful marbled brown vinyl. The postcards are glossy and more vibrantly colored, with lyrics and stylized images on the backs (hands holding a gun, a knife, a syringe, and a scalpel). Insanely violent lyrics adorn every track, which is generally not my thing, but I just love this guy's attitude, and he delivers the lines so differently than most. "Fucked again, Ripped from the inside, Never enough - just perfect you say, Bullshit bitch - talking shit, You don't get it - you just don't get, What the fuck are you looking for? Just what the fuck are you looking for?" If you've heard Slogun once you've sort of heard most of it, but the man is good at what he does, and I'm all for it. This is definitely an identifiable and original project overlooking a stale vat of worthless shit. Another superb offering from LSDO. (8/10)
"HUNTING HUMANS"-C.O.S. RECORDS/BLOODLUST!-NOISE MUZAK
The words accessible rings out the main deterrent for listening to an album, especially in the noise arena. But Slogun carry this out with ease, hunting humans is heavy, it's not too harsh, there's big noise, the vocals add an expanse of emotion to the masterpiece. This isn't just run of the mill, there's hell of a lot more rolling through this album than the obligatory noise albums. It is the sound of the claustrophobe beating against the walls of the cell. Repetitive arcs of noise, interrupted by the vicious vocals with their distorted meanings, cast a real dark ride for the listener. A classic. A must hear.
"UNITED STATES BESTIAL FORCES"- L.WHITE- HEATHEN HARVEST: "FOREVER AND EVER AND EVER"
Just when you think things can't get better, Slogun's track keeps it real with discernable vocals and strange loops, creating a subdued experience that is singular and unique to this release. His track typifies the spirit of Power Electronics, confronting the self in an extremely direct and personal way that causes the listener to have to confront some aspect of themselves. Slogun represents very much here the best aspects of the Power Electronics genre, self-confrontation and a desire to break away from self-deception. Catharsis and analysis. A truly great track that combines an eerie chanting sample with a percussive loop to great effect. Very personal and controlled sound. Killer! Slogun rules.
"VISIT-REVISIT"-AUTARKEIA RECORDS -LUST VESSEL
John Balistreri and his project Slogun are perfectly known to those interested in industrial subculture. This is the most famous American power electronics project, fully embedding the tendency of American brutal sound and ideology. Aesthetics of serial killers, mass murders, and crimes have been used to finely illustrate uncompromising tracks full of hatred against society, the sound of which had provoked the terrible thoughts of mass destruction. Previous tracks of Slogun used to carry the extraordinary straightness which is specific to almost all American artists of PE. However, his last two albums dramatically diverge from previous Slogun releases. The project's sound and ideology were visibly transformed by Balistreri, and they became closer to the European conception of the "PE sound". The straight, uncompromising brutality of Slogun trespassed into a gloomy atmospheric landscape, and the ideology of their last words clearly reveals the cause, this metamorphosis of a lonely, hopeless, trapped human being to uncompromising collector of human lives. These are authentic thoughts and memories concentrated to the cause of trauma rather than to brutal crimes. The last albums of Slogun may be seen as the deep-dark confessions of a person whispering to us his reasons of fatal breakdown, ending up in human hunting. The monumental Slogun Visit Revisit box will unlock to the audience both the primal and newly transformed sound of Slogun. The first CD, the album Visit, is absolutely fresh and contains never-before published pieces delivering the converted, atmospheric side of Slogun. The second disc, Revisit, compiles rare tracks previously published in limited editions for collectors, and represents the initial straight brutality the project is known for. The two CDs are wrapped in Autarkeia labeled slip case box including cover and informative 20 page booklet.
"VISIT-REVISIT"-AUTARKEIA RECORDS - Old_Captain Jan 13, 2012
A trademark proclamation upfront in-the-face vocals, clinic and distinct. No distortion. And no power electronics (rather death industrial) on the Disc 1. Just a top cleansed-quality of a sociopathic sermon at the top of one's lungs. The mini Disk 2 is a collection of the re-released cd-r only singles, rare and wanted. Abusive, totally self-centred and obsessive, perversive in the themes but absolutely devoted in resolution. An example of non-conformism as smb's vocation.
"WE HUMAN ANIMAL"- CIRCLE OF SHIT-RATEYOURMUSIC.COM
Whereas early Slogun found fascination in the criminal outliers of human psychopathology, here we delve into the petty rottenness of the everyman, a welcome and unexpected twist on the project's core misanthropic theme. Mostly slow, brooding power electronics form a tense backdrop to the album's real defining source of brutality, the content of the words invariably shouted over every track. The "We" in every track title seems to intentionally blur whether Slogun's words of disgust feel more confessional or accusatory, resulting in a state of total negativity where the distinction probably ceases to matter. I don't think it would be entirely wrong to consider this an exceptionally harsh "spoken word album," though the instrumental content is no slouch either, being some of Slogun's most composed work and quite distinctive to each track. Listen only if you're in the right bad mood for some uncompromisingly anti-social sound, because this album is an insult to animals!
"WE HUMAN ANIMAL"-SLOGUN. CIRCLE OF SHIT RECORDS- Cold Spring
A welcome release of brand new material from Slogun, and what a beast it is. "We Human Animal" is a scathing attack on humanity, delivered with precise, focused energy and contempt. Musically, this is a darker release, with a more restrained approach. But let's get this straight, that's strictly in comparison to some of John's other works. In reality, this is incredibly intense and sonically violent - swirling textured distortion and turbine charged electronics, with screamed, in your face vocals delivered in the classic Slogun style. Still, there's more variation here than a lot of previous works, with claustrophobically atmospheric, layered passages that make for a very complete release. Killer Power Electronics... but then, what did you expect?
"WE HUMAN ANIMAL"-SLOGUN. CIRCLE OF SHIT RECORDS-TERROR MAGAZINE
Suddenly and unexpectedly John Balistreri, otherwise known as Slogun, recorded and released strong and good album. Approach to sound in this album is different comparing it to earlier Slogun works. Different technologies (digital techniques and computer was used more and you can feel it here and there though it does not annoy), but the same strict tone, the same gloomy themes and oppressive mood that stays with you after listening to this disc. Hour of sounds in it is dedicated to filth that we live among - humans, whose arrogance and brutality splash grease and saliva every day. This time Slogun speaks up becoming an ordinary element in the crowd and not a voice of serial killer or such. By telling "we", he names how people live in USA and, most likely, in the whole world - we lie, we envy, we betray, we destroy and this is our essence, this is what we are. We must behave that way, otherwise we don't exist. I won't lie telling that right after the first spin I absolutely loved this disc. I had to listen to it quite a few times until I finally understood it. One of the reasons is that you could tell that it's Slogun only because of aggressive, painful and hateful voice. Soundwisely this album is absolutely different. Instead of noise walls and layered voice, this album is dominated by dark droney loops, manipulated field recordings and acrid\ burning atmosphere as opposed to pure brutality. Though Slogun remained faithful to himself - in songs there are no big ups and downs. The sound part is quite monotonous and vocal is layered on a different plane, but the totality is convincing. I wouldn't be surprised if it would be true that Slogun spent much more time making compositions and creating sounds in this album comparing to the other ones though it doesn't mean that "We Human Animal" is far superior. Personally for me it is strong and very peculiar disc that reflects the natural evolution of the project while searching for new sounds and trying to properly represent the ideas. From ideological side - it is desperate shout in the crowd where everyone is moving forward - deaf and leaving smelly trail of rotting corpses behind. Because it always was like that and it will be like that. The disc is finalized with the most beautiful and summarizing track - We are. Yes, we are such. Animals. Recommended.
SELF/SKY BURIAL SPLIT 10". PERIPHERAL RECORDS
The other day i received a package from the (for me) new label, Peripheral Records. A label coming from Bristol in the United Kingdom with 13 releases in their catalogue. Peripheral Records are as they self describe it : the home of all things dark - specialising in the following genres - Ambient, Coldwave/Minimal synth, Drone, Experimental, Industrial, Noise and Power electronics amongst others. This release is a 10" split release by Sky Burial and Self. The track by Sky Burial is called "Dis Manibus Sacrum" and runs on 45 rpm and the track by Self is called "Three times twenty three" and runs on 33 rpm. Self is John Balistreri from the extreeme power electronics act Slogun, which on this release is slowing/cooling down a little and giving us a excellent piece of dark ambience, which really gives you shivers down your spine. The Sky Burial track is as anything else he does very very good, he being a true master of making music that captivates you and keeps your attention focused on the stunning stuff flowing out of your speakers. This release is the good stuff and i give it my most sincere recommendations along the way. The 10" is limited to only 250 releases worldwide, so you better get it while it is there. It can be bought directly from Peripheral Records' website at the following adress www.peripheralrecords.co.uk
SELF/SKY BURIAL SPLIT 10". PERIPHERAL RECORDS
This split 10" is another pf Peripheral's amazing 2012 releases that have included some of my favorite records of dark, extreme electronics of the year. This one was particularly promising, a vinyl only Ep that featured one new track from Sky Burial, whose bleak kosmiche industrial music has been killing it lately with releases like Transmissions From The Void and Threnody For Collapsing Suns, and a new one from Self, the amazing black ambient project from Slogun's John Balistreri.
Sky Burial's "Dis Manibus Sacrum" has an oppressive evil feel compared to most of Mike Page's other recent offerings with this project. It's a shorter track that nonetheless manages to unleash a malevolent ambient deathscape of blackened drones, rumbling mechanical noise, surges of lifeless machine-whir and crushing low-end drift.
With Self, Balistreri evokes a similar sort of dread and sense of futility, but the approach is completely different from that of his more well-known "true crime electronics" outfit. "Three Times Twenty Three" at first carefully blends slow, almost jazz-like bass notes with the steady dead hum of distant machines and layers of murky conversation and sampled voices, but then shifts into a more dreamlike realm of sample-fuckery. Echoing effects and creative layering creates a delirious world of desolate urban wastelands and simmering violence that builds into a symphony of feverish sound-loops by the end of the side; very different from what I'm used to hearing from this guy, but really enjoyable.
Limited to 250 copies.
Slogun - Every Mistake A Little Deeper
NY’s very own Slogun released a couple of bizcard-cdrs throught out the last few months. Each of the little comes in luxurious packaging, ranging from small envelopes over a petri-dish to a camo-wallet. In addition countless inserts can be found in each of the packages. There are pins, razors, a condom, flyers, small photographs, stamps and much much more. The amount of work that flew into the packaging alone must have been enormous.
Check the photos here in the blog to get a slight impression but let me asure you that the releases look way more impressive in reality.
Musicwise each of the bizcard-cd-r’s features two songs with about 2:30 minutes each.
„Every Mistake A Little Deeper“ is kicked off by „Bury yourself“, starting with a female vocal sample of nasty nature until the wall of noise kicks in and Jons vocals cut through the inferno, sitting completely on top. The second song of the disc „Gutter Lane“ has a quite calm noise going on in the background but furious vocals on top, making heavy use of delay/echo-effects.
Slogun - Nineteensixtynine
„Nineteensixtynine“ starts with „Close by“. A noisy loop can be heard and then the inferno kicks in. Sounding like screams and mourns of torture, the maniacal trademark vocals of Jon sitting on top. One of my favourite Slogun songs for sure. The other song is entitled „Wasted“. The noise is quite complex here with different layers of sound, which get slashed by the furious and super aggressive yet very articulated vocal delivery.
Slogun - Wanted And Missed
„Wanted“ starts off „Wanted & Missed“. Rumbling synth frequencies build a quite dark foundation, vocals on top with quite excessive use of delay- and echo-effects, but very clear and super articulated. „Missed“ is a violent noise-inferno again, raising the aggression-level. Again a more complex noise-pattern in the background.
Sure, one might say that Slogun’s sound gets repetitive. But if you dig a little deeper it becomes obvious that there is a lot of progression in the details. The mix and sound is super clear and you can clearly hear every bit of detail. The vocal delivery is extremely articulated but still super aggressive. The lyrics sound authentic and very well written. If he continues this path on the upcoming full-length there is a monster of an album coming up.
By NATE CHINEN
"Sickness and Slogun, playing consecutive sets, attacked the audience with derision, as if antagonism were the only reception they could withstand. Chris Goudreau, who performs as Sickness, paced and sulked for a while before cutting his performance short; John Balistreri, who goes by Slogun, spent a few minutes glowering with his arms crossed. Eventually they were onstage together, along with an inexplicable entourage, spraying the crowd with insults and beer. It was sloppy excess but probably necessary; without the hostility there would have been nothing there."
The first CD I recieved from Death Factory: A Cold Meat Industry spawn intended for noise artists from the rest of the world. SLOGUN reminded me a little of really early Blackhouse. Tons of static, more walls of noise than rhythmic with muted vocals providing the melody. This album is serious angst!! Listening to it makes you a little edgy, you know...inspires mayhem and murder. If this is your thing then I recommend it.
This one comes straight from the cranial incinerator courtesy of John Balistreri, warped mind behind the "True Crime Electronics" of SLOGUN. Originally released in a limited edition cassette version, it gets the CD imprint courtesy of CMI sub-label Death Factory. It doesn't take long to see why SLOGUN appealed to Roger Karmanik (CMI mad ringleader) as the floodgates of searing fried circuitry, irritating machinery whine and echoey vocal insanity erupt from the speakers on the opning track, "This is it, right here". The whole disc continues in this manner: aggressive, inflexible, vehement. "Listen-Never" is a naked dive into the furnace, skin and soul and sanity immersed in flames; "The Collector" is a torrential rain of distortion, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre from the point of view of the chainsaw, monotonous and defiant; "Straight to you heart" is overdriven white noise, completely merciless in it's rage; "Glory Hallelujah" is easily the most disturbing track as the machines set forth in a parade of tenacious sodomy and a joyous desecration is intoned by vocals that cut through like a knife into soft flesh, ranting like a corrupt preacher. This is aggressive stuff, the personification of violence on the streets and in the inds of the warped, in a world where your local news programs reserve that heinous mandate for lead story at 6, 10, and 11...
Imagine, if you will, a world in which
your TV set was on full volume, stuck on the "static"
channel, and some weirdo was communicating through your TV set
with distorted vocals. Sometimes laughing, sometimes chanting
gibberish. Sometimes he's even using voice effects to make his
voice stop n' start and seem so haunting. Now repeat this for
eight songs, clocking in at almost 60
minutes of pure noise. Pretty scary shit, eh? Think of this as Poltergeist noise music. It's fucked and creepy to boot. Only for those that -TRULY-worship noise music. (5 out of 10)
It's easy to say that this is 100% crap. But it isn't that simple. SLOGUN is unique. Everything on this cd seems to be chaotic, but there is certain order in the incredible noisy soundscape. To understand what I mean you have to experience it-with an open mind. SLOGUN makes me see pictures of a hellish fire. I can feel the heat and I hear the deafening sound of eternal fire. An image of hell. Unbelievable. Obsessive. Fascinating. And completely insane.
Intense drilling industrial noize combined with murderous and screaming psychopathic subliminal lyrical messages. To hear this excellent release from CMI's side label " Death Factory " is to stand against a storm of information regarding the symbolics and myths behind psychopathic serial killers. This cd gives you an example that serial killing gives us a perfect example of how fucked up our society really is, and this guy from Brooklyn is ready to treat your mind in the true power electronics way. Insane and out of mind powerful is the only way to describe this - get it ! .
9 out of 10
Positively the most terrifying industrial album to be featured this issue belongs to a power electronics project out of New York called SLOGUN. From the first seconds of this cd a paranoid, morbid, upsetting vibe consumes my entire body, but at the same time there is an undeniable sense of comfort, like the feeling of being possessed by concentrated nothingness, and the terror that surrounds it. The first song, "This is it-right here" cascades with this exact energy; panic-struck voices echo over pulverising walls of harsh industrial noise that bring to mind the obvious, possessed zombie eyed little girl in the movie Poltergeist. "Listen-Never" is completely fucking brutal, ten times harsher than anything on this album. It is also the most disturbing track. SLOGUN is inspired by the discordant psychology of serial killers, and this album transports you right into the mind of one. The insane whispered voices, unrestrained screams, inhumane walls of harsh noise and blasphemous mantras make for very sick industrial that is unpleasent on the ears but far too intriguing to be ignored.
After a long silence, Death Factory, a sublabel of Cold Meat Industry, awakens all the maniacs with "The Pleasures of Death", an extreme piece of maniac noise power industrial electronics. John Balistreri, the man behind the band, calls it TrueCrime Electronics and there is a reason why - this album deals with a serial-murder theme and its musical realization clearly shows what he's talking about. Electronics here sound noisy and intense with maniac voices behind them. This creation must be listened to with the volume all the way up until your brains give in. (AO)
SLOGUN's sonority is just like those amateur cameras filming with wind, you know the sound that makes? When you record wind blowing on the micro? Well, that's exactly like that. I'm sorry, there's a lot of things I can put up with, and even make an effort to believe that those combos are indeed music, but this has gone way out my limits. Ladies and gentlemens, this is not music, is something else that I can consider as pure noise! Factory meets death.
"The Pleasures of Death"
Death Factory is a new imprint for the fine Swedish label Cold Meat Industry. Slogun traffics in the sonic excess of acts like Namanax, except that the cascading pulses of white noise also have lyrics which echo behind the wall of sleep.
The band (straight outta Brooklyn) calls the sound "True Crime Electronics", and that's fine for me. Obviously on the outside edge of the extreme, Slogun's incorporation of lyrics into this sound is a new twist, and it works pretty well. Though I have to admit I found myself waiting for the lyrics rather than getting lost in the sonic chaos.
Yeah, yeah, 99.9 percent of humans would call this unlistenable crap. So what? I groove on the carnage, and there's plenty here. Fans of some of the more edgy Japanese noise acts (Otomo Yoshihide and Merzbow come to mind right away) should know exactly what I'm talking about here.
Music which immediately reverses the effects of Prozac. A good thing, if you ask me.
Packaged with a cult serial killer photo from one of the victims of Harvey Glattman, this excellent power electronics artist strikes again with 5 brilliant tracks. Very echoed noise work leaning towards the atmospheric as the density of the soundtrack is so compact. Blasting stuff as good as all other works from this project: for a bondage party.
THE NOISEST: "The Heights"
SLOGUN offers us for Case History #6 one of the best power electronics material inspired by true crime and the emblematic ogres of our time. 2 ultra-violent tracks with raging vocals and walls of noise. This item is a lethal sonic tribute.
THE NOISEST: "See Those Eyes"
The latest material from this NY "murderer", which sounds even more violent and catchy than all his previous assaults! Can you believe it!? Packed in a card box with artworks and an old sci-fi monster glance. The vocals here are clearer, so they're more aggressive and have more of an impact, while the rhythmic walls of noise get even more dense. BUY!
ASSUME POWER FOCUS: "Tearing Up Your Plans"
61 minutes of abusive noise ugliness;
"True Crime Electronics" from Brooklyn, New York. As
with most power electronics, I wish the vocals were consistently
low in the mix,
though there are many tracks that fullfill this wish. Unlike most power electronics, the noise backing the vocals is really thick and brutal. My favorite tracks is "You And I"
because it's super harsh and really violent, with the vocals low enough in the mix that it's intense. This is a great cd to play loud and be pissed at the world, though a couple of the tracks I tend to skip past cuz I'm not into the lyrics ("slobland" and "choke on it"). Powerful stuff. Really cool packaging, comes in a ammo box. If you dig violent noise,
this is highly recommended. If you're a politically correct sensitive type like myself then approach Slogun with caution.
Zeno Marx: "Tearing up your Plans"
I haven't heard "Asset Without Liability", but I've heard the rest. My favorite CD is "As Loud As Possible". The playback volume is almost as insane as the Slogun - Tearing Up Your Plans CD, which even when my stereo volume is turned to zero, I can still hear the power-electronics making its way through my speakers. Nobody ever believes me when I say that either, but it is true. At zero on the volume knob, you can still hear that Slogun CD playing.
SHERVIN FATEHI: "Kill To Forget"
Wow. This is a really cool release, and
these are my initial impressions of it. The tracks flow nicely
together, etc. etc. I think it's useful to cover the tracks individually,
though, for a real view into how I feel about the disc.
I listened to the opening of "Kill to Forget," the first track, expecting buried vocals and so forth, and then John Balistreri came screaming out of the noise. A fitting opening to a great disc.
The second track, Trust in Me, is *very* sinister. Balistreri's vocals sound like a snake's hissing, and this is laid in front of pulsating noise and whooshing... Together with the lyrics, Balistreri manages to personify cold as well as anyone could; at the same time, he layers his starting vocals with screaming echoes thereof, presenting anger behind a cold mask... The duality is clearly shown. It's an aesthetically lovely track.
The lyrics for Tied to My Fists are indicative either of an obsessive personality or of crude writing. I think it's a bit of both, but I think it fits the deranged nature of what's going on in the song... Add to this vocals that wash out the rest of the song whenever they're delivered, and it's an odd sonic experience. In any case, I enjoy it a great deal.
If you were to listen to Once - Then Twice on headphones, you would be quite surprised. It's positively head-vibrating. The vocals are barely intelligible at first (and are later revealed to be samples of one kind or another as they slowly make their way up in the mix), and then the usual screamed vocals come in over them... It has a very strange effect - very menacing. It's a very passive menace - one relying not on physical but on mental power and intimidation. In that sense, the song depicts a dominant-submissive relationship of a sort - closer to slavery than to a love relationship. Interesting.
Freeway Cleansing is a remarkably well-*written* piece. It combines a strangely all-American focus (the vocals sound as if they're delivered by a maniacal state trooper, the lyrics refer to the "golden state," "highways and byways," etc.) with an articulately put disdain combined with devotion... A "commingling of desire and hatred," as Eliot might have it.
Bastard Child, on the other hand, reads like it should be a twisted pop track, especially the last lines: "Bastard child of mine thrill me every time."
The start actually has sonic touches that remind me of pop, but I'm not sure if I can even explain why... It's a rather surreal noisescape, but simultaneously very harsh. It sounds almost as if there's a tooting synth sound I heard in a FLA song in there... Maybe "The Blade." I doubt it actually came from The Blade, but that's what it sounds like.
Die is Cast describes almost an ancient evil... There's a great deal of focus on time - a song from the view of the first serial murderer, the archetype. On the other hand, there's a focus on the future, on eternity. It's interesting to see the speaker almost as a chronological Janus, looking back at one era and anticipating a second...
With a Will is a short burst of fury, but, as the saying goes, a sweet one. Balistreri consistently presents almost a religious view of killing, with the self as priest and the victim as freed... A kind of violent administration of last rites.
Death Comes High presents an alternate facet of this view, one in which death is an unstoppable force; at the same time, it depicts the speaker as hopelessly arrogant, a character flaw that some murderers have found to be disastrous - one can only get so cocky before one gets careless. At the same time, he speaks with an urgency; unlike Die is Cast, the view here is squarely placed on the present; past and future are neither here no there. The noise remains fairly set in stone, as well; it seems looped. All is kept in a moment.
With Knife in Hand as written would suggest hesitancy, a lack of conviction in the murderous cause that slowly solidifies... As delivered against a great whirling wind of noise, it develops similarly, always in a declamatory fashion... Balistreri as patron saint of murderers.
I Have Come finds Balistreri deeply annoyed by his accusers, who make him out to be a monster. He explains a compulsion to kill - not to hurt - no sadism here. There's almost a gentleness mixed up in it all... Like in many of these songs, there's definite emotional neediness rather than animal hostility; it's a sense that goes through the entire disc... In that sense, I find this release to be touching in some very disturbing ways.
Direct - Action thematically runs around both art and also control, which is rather appropriate considering the "industrial" genre... Control freaks (myself included) abound when it comes to the art, and that's just a beautiful reflection on art and artists in general.
There's not much to say about Trash/Aura Phase other than that it's a really artful, engrossing noisescape. Very satisfying. Vocals come in near the end that I can't fully decipher, but there seems to be a theme of the ubiquitousness of evil, and an almost supernatural manifestation of it... I'm not really sure. It doesn't lessen my enjoyment of the song itself any, though.
Points Meet explicitly addresses the "self-as-God" theme I mentioned earlier, and it does so quite well. At the same time, there's a very effeminate, and simultaneously child-like, tone to the last line: "my little doll is here for me." I don't know why, but I find so much love in all of these songs... Its companion/symbiote song, Buried, may just hedge that issue... There is something "deep inside of me," Balistreri says, and it's definitely the killer instinct in my mind, but it also indicates a willingness to serve someone else through the service of oneself... Devotion through death. All in all, a stunning release. Would there were more like it.
SLOGUN : Live at the Empty Bottle: Chicago, IL. June 13th, 2003: Reviewed by Jonathan Canady:
This was one of the strangest things I've ever seen or participated in. John/SLOGUN had Mark and Ed from BLOODYMINDED, Chris from SICKNESS, myself and several other people all doing vocals simultaneously. It was quite chaotic. John got as close to the audience as he could while screaming hatred directed at the event and it's attendees itself all the while battering himself against whoever got close enough. There was no rhyme or reason to what was going on. I don't really know what anyone was screaming. I just kept repeating "it's us against you" as that was the main SLOGUN theme for the evening. Later I just stood and observed after things escalated to John actually pushing and punching people in front, Mark throwing beer on a passed out girl, and Chris tackling and choking an audience member. Just as things appeared to get to the point where I thought the club was gong to shut down the show, most of those that were just being attacked were hugging their attackers. Nope, I'm not kidding. The people that got the worst of the abuse from the "band" seemed thrilled to be a part of the performance. I thought the whole thing was rather comical but both John and the audience enjoyed it so... I guess that makes it a success.
IRON FLAME: "Kill To Forget"
So this is one of those records that
are apparently responsible for the rotten youth in holy America-all
this bad language, all the blood and the weapons even on the cover.
Who seriously sees real danger behind song-titles like "I
Just Kill", "Freeway Cleansing", "Tied to
my Fist", etc. just doesn`t get the true and only intention
of such products: entertainment ! Nothing more and certainly nothing
less. In the specific case of SLOGUN: Entertainment at its best.
In a genre that still worships WHITEHOUSE as the undisputed and
untouchable masters on violence constantly "new" artists
enter the arena who bring many fresh ideas into the scene and
sometimes even sound more interesting than the originators. Sutcliffe
Jugend, the project around K. Tomkins is one of those bands and
SLOGUN also have added a lot to the genre with their 1999 album
to Forget". This is now available as a CD reissue with 2 Bonustracks. Perfectly mastered, these 66 minutes of powernoise definetely are one of the strongest offerings of the last 12 months. The sound level is always driven right to the point where you almost can´t take it anymore, but never beyond. The vocals which are more in the background (if that is at all possible) but still show clear strength and dominance unlike many competitors who are literally screaming their soul and guts out and only end up being a laughing stock.
The track "Death comes high" shows a definite hit potential. A track of seldom heard purity. Above a noiseloop that sounds like a 1000 times stronger rumbling of a high voltage station out of your speakers, you repeatedly hear John Balistreris` merciless voice.
The very high quality level is easily maintained until the end with two 12 (!) minute bonus tracks which alone would justify buying this CD. From artwork to lyrics, from musical quality to the final mastering, with only the very abrupt song endings as a little downside, this is a fantastic release! Fuck the world!
SINKHOLE: "Kill To Forget"
Today I received in the mail my new SLOGUN _Kill to Forget_ acetate in deluxe packaging on the new JINX label. This was a pricey and much-anticipated item limited to 33 copies. Every penny of my money and every second of my wait were well worth it, for the packaging and the acetate itself are nothing short of stunning. It is housed in an exquisite maroon clothbound binder, the front cover has a large (12"x12") picture of SLOGUN done in graffiti, and the back has a metal plate with the JINX logo on it. I would say it is similar to, but nicer than, GENOCIDE ORGAN's :REMEMBER: 2LP set.. That is, from the outside. Upon opening this fantastic (and heavy-as-fuck) package, I was graced with an original piece of SLOGUN artwork (collage, blood, stamps, writing, newsclippings) housed in black hardstock somewhat akin to a picture holder with two triangles in the corners to keep it secure. The right side has a HEAVY flap to protect the acetate. On this flap is the tracklisting, contact info and some great photographs of weapons/medical instruments, all on one sheet affixed to it. The LP is housed behind this flap and in a discwasher-esque sleeve. There's an insert with the lyrics to all of the songs kept back there, as well.
I will be buying a new cartridge for my turntable specifically to play this; I've been waiting for some time.. I'll be posting a full review of the sounds (of which I've heard rumours of greatness about) contained on this ultra-limited acetate. Those who are kicking themselves now can at least rejoice that a CD edition of 800 (I believe) is due out in the early months 2000. There'll be a review of the acetate up before that, for sure, so you can know what you're getting into. TREDECIM@aol.com can no doubt fill you in on this and other forthcoming activities.
One happy buyer.
JC SMITH: "Kill To Forget"
Kill To Forget (CD JINX)
John Balistreri is the demented (sordid, deranged) pseudo serial killer (well, I'm not so sure about the 'pseudo') behind the True Crime Electronics of Slogun. Originally released on vinyl late 1999, the CD version of "Kill To Forget" adds two tracks (20+ minutes!) to an already incendiary, explosive experience. (It was probably necessary to release this sonic vehemence on the digital format because the sheer ferocity, white-hot, white-knuckle dynamics probably left most of the vinyl versions melted onto the record players!) This stuff is vicious, fueled with sadistic intent and an overdriven, flame-thrower distortion radiance. The sound is always immense (LOUD!), yet clear (the mastering on this is incredible), never sinking into garbled noise waters. No, John wants you to understand, completely, succinctly, what is about to transpire: the force of the attack (the velocity of sonic assault is undeniable-there is no preamble, no petty foreplay, the music strikes cobra swift, and carries more venom), the shock, the fear. Particular attention must be paid to the lyrics as they do not cater to the cookie cutter, gross-out school of thought-the lyrics adhere to a more lethal, more disturbingly honest mandate, one constructed via the unwaveringly audacious psyche of a lunatic, be it a lunatic with vision. Picking favorite tracks is pretty much like asking one how one wants to die: the bad death, the really bad death, or the arterial spray, viscera splat graffiti on the brick walls of the alley slaughter. From the cranium scrapping rage and blood soaked vocals (as if John is spewing his diabolical, honed to scalpel sharpness rhetoric from within the fresh wound) of the opening salvo, "I Just Kill" to the rippling menace and double barrel vocal attack (one of seething restraint, one of crazed, mind-throttling rage) of "Trust In Me," to the concrete ripping vortex created in "Freeway Cleansing," to the pure, undiluted, voracious frenzy of the monstrous "With Knife In Hand," to the caustic, acid rainstorm within the mind of the two brain scorching bonus tracks, "Trash/Aura Phase," and "Points Meet/Buried," Slogun prove that mercy is not a part of game. And that it is not a game at all. It is life and death. And, in the world of Slogun, death is swift, punishing, relentless, and closer than you think. Brilliant! (JCS:9/10)
TOTENTANZ: "Kill To Forget"
"Kill to forget" is a new brick in the already tall wall of hatred that builds the NYC-based act "Slogun" with every release. Let's put things clear: this is not music for usual entertainment, and this is certainly not for the unprepared ear. Here we are talking about one of the current main name of the power electronics scene (understand a theater of hate, violence, aggression and political un-correctness like you won't see anywhere else).
Slogun is the production of a guy fascinated with serial killers, enough to write all of his lyrics as if he was one of them (which explains the denomination "True crime electronics"). All the 14 songs of this CD feature vocals, in the form of venenous and aggressive screams. Threats, portrait of murder, and, most of all, the words of the torturer to his victim. As in many releases of this genre, you get a mix of cold blood hate against everything, a fascination for power and the association of murder with both a piece of art and a job. The thing with Slogun is that you can not do without these vocals. They are everywhere on the album. You're not forced to take them seriously, but you've been warned.
The hate lyrics and the serial killers mania let aside, Slogun's music is really intense. Since it's power electronics, it's also pretty easy to describe: walls of saturation and attack of feedback, no beats and no mercy, distortion everywhere in a continuous aggression to you ear. Believe me, this one is powerfully done, and you won't breathe. And wait, the last two tracks (which are "bonus tracks", since the first 12 had already been released on a limited lp) last 12 minutes each... Happy dreams! Very good in the genre, Slogun' "Kill to forget" will, not surprisingly, delight all the Power Electronics perverts (headphones are highly recommended), and make anything and anybody else flee away. Anyway, an experiece that you won't forget, whatever you'll do.
Are you sure you locked your door before going to bed?
???: "Kill To Forget"
CRUSHING power electronics. This CD puts thee doktor in a violent mood like no other CD in my collection, especially when I'm listening to it on headphones.
???: "Kill To Forget"
I have to admit, while most power electronic stuff leaves me kinda cold and cranky inside, the one snippet of a Slogun track I heard on Malignant Radio a while back ["When Death Comes High"] struck me as pretty good in an enveloping, oppressive, kicking-your-ass sorta way. The lyrical content, while still very hostile and in-your-face, was nowhere near as juvenile as the Whitehouse gang, and the music was very simple but also effective in portraying an atmosphere of unrelenting anger.
Peter Vercauteren: "Written In Blood"
More 'True Crime Electronics' from this remarkable American project. John Balistreri's obsession with serial killers knows no bounds and his music reflects as much .
Following the trail of the Whitehouse classic 'Psychopathia Sexualis', Slogun uses autobiographical elements and writings of infamous killers like Peter Kürten, the Zodiac and
the Son Of Sam as inspiration for his violent lyrics. On top of the vicious power electronics are heavily distorted voices shouting abusive comments from the violator's point of view.
So if you freaked out on Sutcliffe Jügend's 'The Victim As Beauty', you'll love this too ! Released on Force Majeure, it is a new offshoot of the French label/mail order service/concert promotion Nuit Et Brouillard. They created a splendid package for this limited (300 copies) cd : a sexy black box (decorated with a print of a legendary picture of a dead body beneath a 'No Dumping' sign) filled with an extensive lyric booklet, serial killer victimologies, writings, artwork, a page from a true crime book and postcards. Most of the inlays are individually signed as well as smeared with blood... I am expecting the results of the DNA tests (animal or human ?) any day now...
Max Baroni : "Fair Game" (CD Blade)
It's the collaboration between two italian labels (the both Milan-based Eibon Records and Blade Records) that brings us the latest work from NYC's finest John Balistreri, who's better known as SLOGUN, one of the main acts of today's american power-electronics scene. The true-crime topics that are John's trademark and that represent every aspect of his work (from the lyrics and the artwork to the sound itself) are exposed in full depth here: we can almost feel the killer's compulsive instincts ("By cut and by knife"), his distorted will to revenge ("It will come") and the useless effort to keep quiet the beast that struggles within (like in the schizophrenic delirium of the last song, the uneasy "Self"). This ride in the mind of a murderer has a soundtrack composed of pure white noise blasts and walls of distortion, mixed with filtered voices that whisper and scream... to say it with a single word: violence. Sonic violence, without any compromise or any pause. Violence that speaks about violence, uneasiness, insanity, terror, triumph... there's no room for melody or anything soft in Slogun's output, everything is hard, edgy, sharp. The electronically-built walls of feedback crumble upon the listener, leaving him breathless and paralysed for the entire 58 minutes of this record, helpless spectator of the tragedies that take place in front of him, like a victim captured by a madman, a "product of your miserable lives" (as John screams in the frantic "Somebody's husband Somebody's son", easily the best track of the entire album). If you think you can bear all of this, then go out and find this record by any means necessary: you won't regret it.
Shervin Fatehi: "How It Ends" (Picture 10" White Rabbit)
Slogun is one of my favorite power electronics outfits, and
not just because I'm acquainted with John Balistreri, the man
behind the sound. Despite his large, sometimes hit-or-miss output,
John has amassed overall a body of recorded work which is solidly
his own. No musician today, except for perhaps Con-Dom, can tackle
the mindset of a serial killer and apply the necessary sonic violence
with quite the same strength or style. With that in mind, I was
happy to get my hands on this 10" and the Murder USA double
7" (see below). This beautiful 10" features a picture
of the live set at the Mömbris Hallenbad which supplied the
sound on one side and a picture of an apparently dead woman on
the other side. The package is a tastefully embossed strong plastic
bag, complete with a plastic zipper on top. As far as I'm concerned,
it looks very nice, but it's not very functional: the bag was
strongly attracted to the record, and the zipper could easily
scratch the record if one were to get careless over numerous removals
and reinsertions. Oh well, though - that's the way it goes. Each
side bears three songs: Watch Me, Every Day I Die, and Ritual
Cleansing on side A, Curfee, Invisible, and Act on High on side
B. To listen to this record, you wouldn't believe that it came
from a live set; it sounds like an especially noisy Slogun album
with a slightly subdued, but characteristically pissed John B.
at its center. In fact, this performance is similar in tone -
if dissimilar entirely in content (no ragging on the audience
here) - to the September performance at God Blast America, with
Shane and Sasha of Noizguild admirably backing John as he rages
and roils in a mixture of bitterness, contempt, and defiance.
The only difference is that this is longer and angrier. If you've
never had a chance to see Slogun live, grab his record. Even if
you have, it's an unquestionably excellent live document: get
it while the getting's good.
Shervin Fatehi: "Murder USA" (double 7" LSD Organisation)
As always, the LSD Organisation comes through on packaging (although I'm not sure that John didn't design this himself - it looks like his work), with a lovely gatefold reminiscent of Jackson Pollock. The gatefold has the lyrics to each of the four sides, and, in a heroic display of redundancy, beautiful hi-gloss postcards bearing the lyrics on one side and similar abstract paintings are included for each song. The 7" records are in aesthetically pleasing colors, one smoky gray, one a salmon orange, and helpfully (ahem) bear the speed 33 rpm. The songs themselves are: West - These Voices, South - Revisited (apparently a new take on the song Moments and Mine from the Sounds of Sadism compilation) , North - Just Perfect, and East - The Lords. And, as always, Slogun roars off its own peculiar style for as long as you'll listen. These Voices is like a serial killer's dramatic monologue to an attentive audience, pleading the strength of his motivations and their founding in the voices haunting him - that the full story is more complicated than it appears in the bit that they've witnessed. It plods along in a soldierly but entertaining way over a bed of softly humming, scraping noise. Revisited, on the other hand, sounds like a B-side from Kill to Forget, which may be appropriate given that the original version was released at about the same time as that breakthrough record. It seethes quietly, with John's voice buried and kept at a non-threatening volume, until it finally simply ends. Given the fact that the song ends with a question, "Just what am I gonna do?" - this seems appropriate, but it's not terribly satisfying. Just Perfect, on the other hand, peels back the meaty noise leaving only strong but hollow rhythms and John's frantic screams. It's definitely the standout track, with a proper and perfect combination of rhythm, texture, images, and mania. Finally, The Lords closes the set with a flourish. A poisonous rant directed at a captured streetwalker, it closes with a similar (but much more satisfying) silence as Revisited. The entire song drips with the immediacy of imminent violence. All in all, there's nothing particularly new here - I think John's settled into a niche, and a damned good one, for the foreseeable future - but his writing and texturework alway seem to form an eminently complementary whole. Neither as grippingly attention-grabbing as Kill to Forget, nor possessed of the same bitterness and defiance of as How It Ends (above), nor even the outstanding flashes (like "Glory Hallelujah") characteristic of The Pleasures of Death, this is a strong, but uneven release. Or rather, it's even, but lopsided.The West/South 7" is standard Slogun, but just not very interesting overall. The North/East 7" is excellent! I'd recommend this either to a Slogun fan who's happy/willing to pay for the first 7" to get the second or to a record collector who dies for beautiful packaging. If you're one of the latter, though, perhaps you should wait for the limited edition box set, which will supposedly include a t-shirt and a few other goodies as well!
Karlheinz: Berwick Show
Next was Slogun. Slogun is the brainchild of John Balistreri, but he also had some other people (Shane, Sasha, Viesturs, and Mike Page, according to his website) backing him up on modular synths, plus Chris from Sickness mixing and supplying vocals. John was screaming at the audience the whole time, calling them "pussies" and telling them to go home, and trying to start shit with the people who were standing near him. But the most violent it got was when Chris started screaming, then launched himself into the audience and started flailing around at people - one of whom seemed more than eager to punch back. Most people probably won't agree with me, but I like this sort of thing, and I'm glad to see that some people still want power electronics to have an edge. (Even though I didn't want to get punched myself, so I stayed behind the video camera the whole time - what can I say, I'm a pussy.)
Todd Appleton (Vengeance Magazine): "A Celebration
of Misfortune" 12'' (Jinx)
Only Available June 13th 2003 Chicago
I waited a long time to see the show and it was amazing! I
picked this record up at the show and decided to review it.
Side a : consist's a really long Brighter Death Now track called "Voices" and it is very similar to most newer BDN material.
The track starts and ends on a very dark note of low and slow bass with friction of metal scrapes, and mumbbling distorted
vocals heard in the distance. I liked the track but did think it was a little long and drawn out. I didnt really hear that many cool samples
that I normally hear with BDN songs but all in all the packaging made up for the song .
Side b : Contain's two tracks, the first track is by SLOGUN
called "Better than you" and by all means the best track
on the album in my opinion.
Absolutely fucking slaughters all other's because of the vocals! Scream's after Scream's with pounding harsh industrial noise screaming of nothing
but hatred and death.
The second track on side b is from Proiekt Hat titled "Back Against the World" and the track is very familiar to older proiekt hat releases with
well put together layers and dreary pounding bass. You can tell he really knows his equipment well and uses it to his advantage. The track was
good but had nothing on the SLOGUN track.
Todd Appleton (Vengeance Magazine): "A Celebration of Misfortune" June 13th, 2003. Chicago, Ill..
I waited for month's to attend this show and it was well worth
The night started with the a set from Proiekt Hat, a very well put together set of pulsating rhtymes and distorted drones building up to noise terror.
Many photos appeared behind the set from a film strip projector ranging from guns to to logos.
The second projekt of the night came from SLOGUN and I have to say that this set was worth the long drive we took to get to Chicago!
Very easily murdered everyone elses set in my opinion with a group help from patrons as john balistreri's usual crew were joined by a long list of artists and friends including leech/ntt, chris/sickness, mark/intrinsic action, jonathan/deathpile,chris/skm-etr, ed/bloodyminded and many others. SLOGUN showed everyone violence in the audience with pushing, arguing,and beer throwing. I can't even explain the brutality with the force of power electronic's that the SLOGUN crew showed me.
Last but not least was the Brighter Death Now set, A very loud rythmic room swayed with the low pounding bass and screechy vocals of Roger Karmanik
The room stayed dark the entire set exept for the camera flashes, but was all perfect in the aspect of how I always emagined BDN would be live.
Jane Elizabeth (Tesco USA): "A Celebration of Misfortune" June 13th, 2003. Chicago, Ill..
I have no doubt that many will remember this as one of the
best shows they've ever attended. the evening opened with a great
set by the mysterious
swedish band proiekt hat--a powerful assault of analog electronics and noise that set the scene for a fantastic night to follow. next up was slogun, who were celebrating misfortune with the threat and promise of "it's us against you." taking their collaborative strategy last witnessed at god blast america! to the next level, john balistreri and his usual crew were joined by a long list of co-conspirators including leech/ntt, chris/sickness, mark/intrinsic action, jonathan/deathpile, ed/bloodyminded and many others for an all-out aural and audience assault. drinks were flying, women were all up in john's face flipping the bird and shouting "fuck you!" and many a scuffle broke out. the photos do not do justice to the melee that ensued...truly great stuff. last but not least was the king of cold meat, mr. roger karmanik, and the first ever north american performance of brighter death now. backed up by jakob of proijekt hat, roger put on an energetic and engaging show--taking photos of the audience in between rubbing his crotch and unleashing waves of vocal torment, the sounds varied from noisier, more ambient tracks to deep throbbing pulses that vibrated me off the ground on more than one occasion. overall, a solid hour of bdn at its finest with no disappointments.
AversionOnline: "Just Because" 3" CD 8/10 - [PACrec]
Here are two brief tracks of Slogun's token power electronics assault: Plenty of textured distortion and those immediately recognizable vocal shouts - classic. This time around the vocals aren't as out front as they often are, and there's a decidedly more lo-fi vibe to the recording. Everything is thicker and more dense, and the distortion moves around a lot. There's not a great deal of layering, or at least it doesn't seem so, but the distortion feels more mobile, which I like. Hell, in "For Good" the vocals are even whispered at times, along with the token shouting. I like these two tracks a lot, they each stand on their own and seem a bit more unusual than most of what I've heard from Slogun to some degree. The "business card" CD-R comes in a slim jewel case with a semi-transparent black tray and a color cover that folds over halfway on the back, hand-numbered of 55 copies. The cover art is great, showing some sort of worn mural or artwork that's done over bricks. I like the color scheme and such a lot. The tracks are listed in the wrong order, as "I Come Back" is actually the first track, "For Good" the second, despite what the tracklist reads. But that's obvious from one listen, so... no big deal. This is a great EP, another winner from PACrec, and I must say that the variation from the standard packaging of the label definitely stands out here.Running time - 5:14, Tracks: 2[Notable tracks: both are nice, but "For Good" is the real winner]
Slogun Live at North Six. November 14th, 2003.
i saw slogun last night at the north six. holy shit worst ever.
if you think nine inch nails has the worst lyrics you have ever
would be wrong. The bro from slogun first off looks like the guy from clerks and has the '13' tattoos all over him, which was pretty incredible. He gets up on stage with three thuged out guys, also looking like the guy from clerks, and starts to push and beat people in the crowd down, no punches thrown just a lot of pushing. I was entertained by that. but then slogun starts screaming'look at you, you are all pathetic you paid five bucks to see this bla bla bla' Then it turned amazing. " YOU GUYS THINK YOU KNOW ME, YOU LAUGH AT ME HAHA BUT I LAUGH AT YOU YOU THINK YOU HAVE ME FIGURED OUT NO! YOU DON'T KNOW ME YOU ARE PATHETIC.' Mom you don't understand meeeeeeeeeee just buy me boxers i don't want nut huggers anymore, mom this 11pm curfew is bullshit let me stay out till 1130pm, Mom i don't want to
play baseball!! SCREAM NOISE YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND MEEEEEEEEEE. that's what it sounded like. it was amazing. to my suprise the crowd seemed to be into
it?! if you like hear excerpts from a mall goth teenage diary being screamed to so/so noise, slogun is for you.
me and my friend got their a little late so we only saw half
of ntt's set. it was pretty ok, the effect he was using for his
vocals was neat, but just like slogun, he was screaming 'i'm going
to killlllll youuuuu...' which took away from the noise, which
was pretty good, if you like monotonus and subtle changes with
this is a big question i have. i am not an avid noise fan or follower. but what i know is that these bands are obsessed with power and dominance, it doesn't take a genius to figure that out. now, this is the part i don't get, WHY NO PROTIEN SHAKES?!?!? why guns?! why no muscle?!
Did you have any idea of what slogun's material was like before you saw him? what were you expecting? you look like a pretty big guy in your photos... would've been some fun to see you pushing back...i'm not sure i get the nine inch nails reference... what kind of music are you into? did you stick around for bloodyminded?
What was really interesting, in part, was the 2nd half of the show (I suppose you can break them up like that.) It's after all of the pushing stopped, and he was just pacing and ranting. After a little while, you figured that the actual violence was over, and were just kind of waiting for something else to happen. What would have been logical would have been something orcestrated, like someone coming up, and pretentding to fuck with him, or his lashing out at someone/thing like a piece of equipment, or a table, or himself, or something. So that weird tension replaced the "real" threat of violence tension that had sustained before. This made me think that the, "Tell me what you think of me!" part was *for real*, in that it would have made the set narratively complete (three acts), but it never happened. Which is what made his sitting down at the end of the set so weird and ambiguous a gesture. Was it frustration that no one came up and made his set complete? Was it disgust? Or, was the expression of disgust, the actual point, like the set was intentionally incomplete, and that it was meant to kind of fall apart at the end? It might actually be the latter, from my experience of theater, it looked like a planned gesture, like he intended to go and sit down (up stage center) at the end.
All throughout that second half, I was thinking that in some way I *should* go up and fuck with him, respond to the provocation. And it must have been because something felt incomplete. But on the other hand, you're prevented from doing that a) because he's fucking huge and obviously massively strong and b) because it's *his show*, there's that instrinsic respect because he's amongst friends who appreciate him, and want him to be able to do his thing as solidly as possible.
As a side note, one of the thugs came up to me before Balistreri layed into me. He was doing this weird caveman looming thing, and got up really close to me. I stared him down, smirking (as I always do when I'm really uncomfortable, I'm one of those people that tend to start grinning when horrible things are happening to him). We glared at each other for like 30 seconds, and then he put his hand on my chest and lightly pushed. Maybe that was Balistreri's cue that "this dude is ok to fuck with"? Maybe I'm reading more intention than there actually?
I'm still thinking about the show, and about his performance. It will be something that will stick with me. Maybe it's a standard to judge other things like this against?
Sickness was good, NTT was good, Bloodyminded Chris, Erica and I stayed through for like 5 minutes before splitting. I only want to talk about Slogun.
Northsix' basement is not quite hospitible. Amongst the glitter, high fashion and glam in W'burg the Northsix basement seems like a relic of Old Brooklyn, at least the dirty, ill mopped and cramped one. And Slogun is like Old New York, in a way. He's unabashedly a hard man, seemingly hardened by a hard job, a hard neighborhood, and hard friends. He's something of a classic.
So, if you want, you could see this show as the Old New York, against the New No York. Kind of a response, as Chris sees it. But to whom? Soley image-conscious noise/power-electronics performers? The "responding to hate with hate" kind?
Well. There's always the wall. One goes to performances of these sorts (outside of their immediate, sensual pleasure) to "read" them, to untangle the references, the points of contact with the world. One stands backs and observe, noting the coorespondence, behind the the wall.
But, up till now, I'd thought that it was the wall that was what constituted "atmosphere", that one was able to let oneself go, and be immeresed, to let the exterior vanish, and become interior experience. But no. Just as powerful is the threat of violence.
And, oh, I should just get to the point. John Balistreri is Old New York because he *acts*. About 2-3 minutes into the beginning of his set (Sickness [Chris Goudreau]) was doing the actual noise per se, Balistreri was just on vocals) he charged at one person, and basically shoved them, *hard*. Over the next, say 10-15 mintues, he and a bunch of thugs (who served no purpose, other than to menace people) would pretty much push/throw back anyone who was standing up in front, while screaming "Tell me what you think of me!" and assorted Whitehouse-isms. Obviously, I stood up in front, and when he went at me, he got me in the throat. I did manage, however to push back against him, and get back the ground that I'd lost.
And it was amazingly effective. It's been a long time since I've actually trembled with fright, and compounded with the sonics, the mood and tenor, tense with brief outbursts of violence was like few concerts I've been to. Really, exciting stuff. I have a feeling that Black Dice and Arab on Radar were never this confrontational, and this antagonistic.
DJ Dasein: Power Electronics Overview
Power Electronics: One of the most obscure and confronting styles of music in the world, power electronics is almost more of a strange cult than a genre of music. It is characterised by a 'wall of noise'; giant structureless waves of speaker-shredding distortion, almost always with massively distorted screaming vocals over the top. Power Electronics artists generally deal with controversial themes such as rape, murder, serial killers, etc. Some are more introspective and emotional (such as one of my all-time favourites Navicon Torture Technologies, or later Propergol), others are totally confrontational and brutal in their intensity (Slogun, Control). Classic album/s: Navicon Torture Technologies' "Scenes from the Next Millenium", Control's "Algolagnia", Slogun's "Kill to Forget", Strom.Ec's "Neural Architect", Maison Close's "Maison Close", Propergol's "United States". Label/s: Malignant Records, Nuit et Brouillard, Freak Animal.
SHERVIN FATEHI: "Let Me Show You How" (Teito Sound Industry)
The last Slogun releases I picked up were a mixed bag - How It Ends being fantastic, and Murder USA being somewhat lopsidedly good - but Let Me Show You How is a return to prime form that also manages to make significant progress in terms of both style and substance.
This record displays John's exquisite sense for texture: some songs, like "Built to Last" and "God Never Gives Me What I Want" are filled with a glacial feeling of shimmery beauty; others employ layering, echoing, and occasional noisy squirts (a particular success in this vein is "Behind Closed Doors"). This album also marks the first time I've heard distinguishable samples in Slogun: "Again and Again" is an instant classic, with a gentle sampled opening, expertly layered vocals, and a sense of peaceable menace that makes it sound like "Hometime" by Throbbing Gristle evolved to a logical extreme.
Most importantly, the songs are short and sweet. Slogun has escaped the trap that a lot of groups, especially in the post-industrial style, set for themselves; by making sure that songs are capable of sustaining interest and don't recapitulate their ideas unnecessarily, each song maintains a feeling of freshness for its entire duration. John also proves himself willing to allow the song to dictate the form of the sound: "I Lash Out," for example, although uncharacteristically quiet and simple, wouldn't otherwise have as strong an effect. "Still Life," on the other hand, is like Slogun reborn as a death industrial group, the song being saturated with punishing bass and weary spoken word. It sounds totally alien in the context of what has come before, and that's not a bad thing.
At times ("Hunt's Point") it sounds as though John is fighting the noise just to be heard; at other times ("I Snapped"), he blasts forward. John's use of vocal effects has made a surprising leap forward, especially in "Bond;" a particular effect sounds as though a layered voice is saying "body after body," over and over again, but I'm never quite sure. Some of the vocal delivery ("God Never Gives Me What I Want," "Bond") is priceless: menacing, brutal, yet with a touch of knowingness. John commented in a recent interview with Industrial Nation about the absurdity of sitting in a room pretending to be a serial killer, and these performances sometimes convey that absurdity without ever eliding the force of the work.
In terms of John's subject matter, it's still serial killers.
He seems to have broadened his approach, though: In making a connection
between "Built to Last" and "Divine Injustice,"
John conveys a dark, bitter view of the world, in which criminals
transgress and get away with it. Although I think that we do live
in such a world, the song raises some questions. John seems to
be making a point about the serial killer's strength, but don't
most serial killers (Carl Panzram and a few others aside) tend
to keep killing
because they're empty, and their deeds give them a feeling of fullness and power?
"Read Me," another highlight, is notable for the way in which John attacks the pleasurable/voyeuristic aspect of society's interest in serial killers - or in 9-11, or in any particular crime, really. It reminds me of Whitehouse's attempts to show that to be a victim involves a sort of masochistic pleasure and obsessiveness, a willingness to act out one's expected role. and the fact that serial killers often seem to enjoy or revel the media attention they get implies that after capture this could act as a secondary means of achieving that validation. Do killers ever rationalize their capture later as being acceptable for this very reason?
John isn't a lyricist on the level of William Bennett, but the growing thematic and sonic complexity in Slogun assures me that John's ideas aren't close to tapped out. In fact, I'd wager that the best is yet to come.
AversionOnline: v/a "Break Your Face" compilation
7/10 - [Get the Bags]
Here's a brutal four-way split CD commemorating the 2004 European tour that these four acts embarked on together. You can't really go wrong when you get four of the biggest
and best names in North American harsh noise/power electronics together like this, and sure enough this fucker delivers. Sickness blows shit up right away with about 10 minutes
of obscenely loud and grating harsh noise through two tracks: "Your Daily Dose of Anti-Social" and "Home Surgery With Dull Knives". So expect the usual dose of searing high-
end, chunky movement, shredding over the top distortion, quick changes and shifts, and not a whole lot of sitting around at all. Canada's SKM-ETR follows with the longest track
herein ("Concrete Soldier"), complete with lots of samples, lots of raw distortion, vicious vocal shouts deep in the mix, and those undercurrents of eerie "melody" that I've been
such a proponent of in his past work. Great stuff. "Ready for War" follows with lots of midrange and even more heavily obscured vocals, again keeping those twisted hints at
musicality suffocated under intense layering and a really thick mix with no real breathing room (which I view as a positive in this work). Both of these tracks are a little looser than
most of SKM-ETR's material, but that's fine by me. Next up is Control, opening with "Your Flesh", a sinister death industrial piece with a throbbing and repetitious rhythm and
scorching vocals deep in the heart of the mix. "Depraved" follows with some twisted rising and falling textures amidst more pulsing distortion, and this is another track that's rather
spacious, using that dark ambient undercurrent that makes some of Control's work so well rounded. The bulk of the piece refrains from vocal work, but even the vocals are so
manipulated that they act more as additional noise texture than anything in such a droning and persistent framework. The one and only Slogun closes the disc with three
tracks of his ruggedly patented material. "Watch and Wait" is the longest and harshest selection, with lots of thin distortion and chaotic movement right alongside those
inimitable shouted attacks. "Me" is a little more minimal and pulse-like in character, with faint samples (I think?) underneath more prominent diatribes from the vocals; then
"Maybe, Just Maybe" makes distorted samples a more prominent element, but the vocals still hold a lot of ground just out in front. The layout looks excellent with lots of bold high
contrast imagery and red coloring against a predominantly black and white design. There are tons of layered text effects and some handwriting laid over top of the images, so it's
all intentionally jumbled but still looks great to me. Good stuff. A damn fine release sure to please fans of any of these artists, though I imagine you'd be hard pressed to find a
noise fan of this ilk who doesn't like all of these kingpins. Most everyone familiar with these artists knows what to expect from each of these cats and that's what you're in for
with this collection. I'm all for it. SKM-ETR and Control definitely steal the show for me, but there's not one weak track on this thing. It's limited to 500 so I wouldn't sleep on it for
too long, either.
Running time - 41:21, Tracks: 9
[Notable tracks: Home Surgery With Dull Knives, Concrete Soldier, Depraved, Maybe, Just
Break Your Face Tour- SKM-ETR, Sickness, Control & Slogun - Riga, 08 Oct. 2004
Europe isn't visited by noise artists from the other side of the Atlantic too often, so the chain of performances billed as the first european tour of Slogun was a really rare treat, especially when he was accompanied by three other solid names in the business: Control, Sickness and SKM-ETR. To my slight disappointment the latvian leg of the tour, unlike the other stops, had no additional artists on the roster, but having seen the pictures of the Grunt/Cloama collaborative performance (kindly shown to me by Michael Page of Fire in the Head) from an earlier gig, I think that I might have actually been very lucky this was the case. If I had the picture to show, you might better understand what I'm saying, but as it is I have only Michael's words - something in the vein of "two guys from Finland took their shirts off and started wrestling" - to back me up. A big hand to both Grunt and Cloama for the aestethically extremely questionable experience.
The event took place at the Depo club in the old part of Riga.
The place seems to be familiar to bands who have performed in
Latvia, because the locals told me that the venue arranges
similar events quite often, and that, for example, Winterkälte has performed there. The club's interior is more than suitable for an event like this, because apart from the street level bar
the venue is located completely underground, and the place feels very much like a fallout shelter. As an exception to the rather minimalistic decor, the smaller of the two rooms in the basement is slightly more polished than the spartan main event area.
The final show of the night was provided by Slogun and to be honest it felt much more like communal art than just a gig. From what I've read in previous gig reports I had a good idea of what was coming, but I didn't quite expect it to work as well as it did. The performance started with a steady, droning noise wall that never stopped once it got going. Mr. Slogun himself, John Balistreri, was notably absent from the stage, but after looking around for a while I found him sitting on a low staircase at the opposite side of the room. For what seemed a long while nothing happened, until John suddenly got up and wandered slowly to the back of the room. When he came back he unapologetically shoved his way through the crowd to the stage and got up on it, standing in front of the gear desk. More waiting. Then he finally grabbed the microphone offered to him and began pushing the crowd in front of the stage with assistance from SKM-ETR's Chris, who was taping the show on a camcorder, until the attending people formed a loose ring around them on the floor. When John began his hateful litany through the microphone he and Chris started pushing the crowd, trying to provoke a reaction, any reaction from them.
Unfortunately nothing much happened until a guy - fittingly dressed in a shirt sporting the text "polizei" - decided to give them a hand and started pulling people sitting on the few benches in the room up and shoving them towards Slogun. While doing this he managed to awake a guy who had slept soundly throughout the entire event, and possibly got his eyes open only by the time he crashed into people at the edge of the ring. At the same time Slogun just went on with his ranting, stopping only to deliver a few lines right at the face of some of the bystanders. At least one person subjected to the treatment screamed back at him until his face turned red, but I couldn't make out the words because of all the noise. For a few minutes the mood in the room was unbelievable, and being shoved around bumping into people was almost a liberating experience.
Slowly the motion died and the room became still once again, Slogun continuing his set for a while after the pushing and shoving had come to an end. When the room descended into silence someone yelled "go get drinks everyone, let's do it again", which was definitely not a bad idea because the show would have had potential for more. The musical side of the performance wasn't all that great, but hey, you can't have everything. Too bad the pictures I took do not convey the feeling in the room that well.
Apart from the frustrating power failure during SKM-ETR's set the night was in my opinion a success. The DJs in the smaller room didn't disappoint either, for they played material fit for the show from Haus Arafna to Klangstabil and back again. To be blunt it was a hell of a show, and the only minus side is that I'm not likely to experience something like that ever again.
RICHIE RUCHPAUL: Break Your Face Tour- SKM-ETR, Sickness, Control & Slogun - London, 01 Oct. 2004, Red Rose.
Hearing from an acquaintance how Michael Nine aka MK9/Death
Squad instilled fear and loathing by taking someone from of the
audience hostage at a Hinoeuma performance a few months ago, the
serial killer-obsessed Slogun holds much promise. But apart
from their towering vokillist restlessly wandering the floor and
abruptly slamming into the few shoved to the front, any bloodsport
violence is seriously amiss. With four people on stage - bit of
a crowd for a noise act one should think - it's more of an intimidating,
vulgar vocal display of power, a dystopian clunk of sado-America,
a hell-bent-on-murder machismo that leaves you lifeless, foaming
on the floor.
Incinerator International (USA/NOR; 2004)-Head On.
I am a big proponent of the concept of structured or semi-structured noise and this is exactly what I want to see more of: A collaboration between the harsh, hostile power electronics of Slogun and the militaristic, sample-driven march of Folkstorm. In this kind of context, the structure does not offer "rhythm" as much as it represents "redundancy" and "cyclic advance." Instead of one, unidimensional beat that progresses along a linear timeline, we find something more akin to a merry-go-round affixed to a straight rail. As the entire monstrosity moves on a single axis through time, any given point on the merry-go-round rotates in a fixed circle while simultaneously moving up and down between planes. A five dimensional fuckshow. There is no music here. There are only fixed structures decayed in quality and integrity by acerbic random variables, aggressive unpredictable elements, and deliberate statements. There is also a lot of accusatory shouting. I need more of this.