Artoffact Records 2016 / Psychout Productions 1984
The recited album is an interesting, two-disc reissue of the 1984 vinyl album "Knees & Bones" by the American industrial group Controlled Bleeding. The album comes from the early period of the group's activity and is kept in the industrial noise convention. This is just a general term, because we have a really mix of several styles, a lot of experiments and unconventional ideas.
"Knees and Bones" is, in a way, very important in the history of the group as it was their first professional vinyl release. Previously, Controlled Bleeding released several tapes. The album was an impulse after which the musicians began to create and record more.
This release is much more than that as it includes an additional 40 minutes of music. These are remixes and other versions of the tracks. The album is available as a double vinyl, double CD or digital version.
The original material is two long, twenty-three minutes long songs "Knees" and "Bones". In fact, these long compositions contain several separate tracks that come together and intertwine. This material, according to the musicians, was recorded on tape in the basement at maximum volume. During these sessions, the musicians sometimes lost their hearing and eventually damaged the sound system. Undoubtedly, this energy has been immortalized in the form of interesting and extreme music.
From the first seconds after switching on the record, the loudspeakers are flooded with noise. But let's not get fooled. It is worth giving this album a chance and listening to it many times. Because the most interesting fragments are further away and I have the impression that it's at the end of the songs. The aesthetics of noise and power electronics are mixed with old school industrial, experiments. There's really a lot going on here. Although the sound seems raw and a bit archaic, on good audio equipment, you can easily distinguish individual parts. In addition to the noisy clattering in the background, you can hear the crackles of metal objects, screams of the vocalist, or various experimental sounds produced by analog synthesizers. I love the moment when the noise is mixed with the quick blows on the sheet metal and the squeaky sounds that I personally associate with a dental drill. In fact, it is not known whether it is a grinder or just squeaky preparations on effects or a synthesizer. But the interesting thing is that while listening to this music, you can interpret these sounds in your own way.
Sometimes noise hits your ears hard and irritates you. But sometimes, in some passages, you want to involuntarily turn the volume knob up and lose yourself completely in this pleasant sonic madness. Although the aesthetics of industrial noise and power electronics dominate the entire original album, we also find more subtle fragments. This is e.g. the first 5 minutes of the second track. In this fragment you can hear an interesting combination of subtle, more ringing hits against some metal object and industrial ambient patches of sounds. Then we have a contrast in the form of a wall of noise, random harder hits on something metal, which give way to crazy screams and for the next five minutes the music goes beyond recognition into typical power electronics. Sometimes noisy experiments are mixed with interwoven dialogues. The sounds of metal objects are treated in an interesting way. Sometimes they are bumps and crackles, other times shuffling, shifting, hitting metal are often distorted or played as looped fragments, which are then prepared and treated, for example, with echo-like effects. However, the sounds of metal do not dominate this album, as in the music of Einstuerzende Neubauten or on the SPK's Leichenschrei album. In the case of Controlled Bleeding, they are more in the background and only a bit of an add-on. The whole album is quite extreme and usually different shades of noise dominate.
The second part of the album includes four additional tracks. These are other versions based on the original material "Knees & Bones"
The nine-minute "Knees Power Mix" is a more noisy, distorted and condensed mix of "Knees". "Swallowing Scrap Metal Pt 5.5" is a track that is based on processed "Knees" passages that have been ripped into six tracks. It actually sounds very different. The whole additional material is more harsh noise, although it must also be admitted that it has a good kick.
It is a beautiful album. Extreme and noisy but full of valuable ideas. The record has something about it that makes you want to come back to it.