New Opaque: Black Moncler Hudson II C40 (Field Strike)

On November 21st, the excellent Field Strike released a new Opaque tape, Black Moncler Hudson II. The tape features a single track of 19 minutes and 50 seconds and was issued in an edition of 30 on marbled lilac tapes (the same tapes were used for the HNW tape swap release Duvetica Diadema Princess). The wall featured on this tape starts at full blast and, over the course of its almost 20-minute runtime, slowly deteriorates into utterly minimal crackles and pops. The lay-out and design for this release were done by myself.

The careful reader will notice that, indeed, this tape is called Black Moncler Hudson II – which does not, in fact, make it the follow-up to 2020’s Moncler Hudson (although, of course, it is a follow-up in spirit). Rather, Black Moncler Hudson II is the follow-up to the yet-to-be-released Black Moncler Hudson – which is in the works as of yet but of which I will publish more details when the time is right. In any case, this explains this release’s particular title.

Being, nonetheless and of course, a follow-up in spirit to the aforementioned Moncler Hudson, this is another release which is dedicated entirely and whole-heartedly to the evidently stunning Moncler Hudson, which has managed to easily yet surprisingly catapult itself to the top of my favourite down jacket list, perhaps even surpassing the amazing Moncler Alpin, which had always undoubtedly been my undisputed favourite. In October, the Hudson was made available again for this year’s winter collection, and it is presently available in black (the dark grey is entirely sold out). I recently added it to my own collection, and it is absolutely glorious.

You can listen to and purchase Black Moncler Hudson II here. I will also have some copies available myself soon; feel free to contact me if you’re interested.

Absent Erratum: 공중부양 – The Humming Of Stones

공중부양 ⛰️ The Humming Of Stones is the 47th release on Absent Erratum. This submission features one track at a total of 47 minutes and 59 seconds. It was released on 19 December 2021.

Absent Erratum hovers just above the dust and the pebbles, a shaded static occupying the space between her skin and the soil; soundlessly, she summons the wandering spirits, their names only audible to flowers, winds and sunsets – tenderly, she caresses them as they settle beside her – nimbly, she collects the scents and colours that coil around her body. In this garden of light, everything is sacred and nothing is forgotten: every stone is a monument, every breeze is a temple. Here, every breath lasts forever.

You can listen to The Humming Of Stones here.

New Opaque: Opaque/Scarlet Diva Split C20 (Summer Interlude Records)

Today the excellent Summer Interlude Records, run by Thomas Puopolo of Scarlet Diva and a slew of other excellent projects, such as Male Slut Society and Fistfuck, released a split C20 featuring Opaque on the A-side and Scarlet Diva on the B-side.

The Opaque track is a stuttering, clattering wall that is dedicated to a wonderful recent Moncler design, the elegant Rhin, which has been available in pink, yellow and – as featured here – black. The B-side features an excellent Scarlet Diva wall with a great, deep yet detailed crackle. The tape was released in an edition of 25 copies and features a J-card designed by myself, combining trademark features of Opaque artwork – down jacket picture, Helvetica type – and Scarlet Diva artwork – layout, background, its photograph.

You can pick up your own copy of the split tape through the Summer Interlude Bandcamp, and, of course, you can also listen to the release in full on the Summer Interlude Bandcamp right here.

Absent Erratum: liz – second skin \ enveloppe

liz ✉️ second skin \ enveloppe is the 46th release on Absent Erratum. This submission features one track at a total of 40 minutes and 0 seconds. It was released on 15 September 2021.

Absent Erratum drags translucent, weightless relics of a wall along the floor behind her, insomniac and elegiac, the faint thuds and drums of shuffles, trailing, footsteps merging, then emerging as a spirit of clay and sound: stretched thin and bound to Earth, terrestrial undertones surrounding her private place amidst bricks and secrecy. An awareness presents itself to her, mingled with the scent of plums and apricots; a tenderness nests itself into her chest, recursive, embedded endlessly into itself; a ritual is established, lovingly, performed in times and places unlit and unsounding; her task is to guard what is ancient and primitive – to shield it from the light.

You can listen to second skin \ enveloppe here.

Santuario De Sangre: Aisha Kandisha – This Blood Drenched Succubus, She Possesses The Black Waters, Haunts The Shadows, Eats The Skin Of Men

On 13 September 2021, the fifth sacrifice of Santuario De Sangre was released to YouTube, This Blood Drenched Succubus, She Possesses The Black Waters, Haunts The Shadows, Eats The Skin Of Men by Aisha Kandisha.

Minute Walls

I already alluded to Minute Walls in a previous post dedicated to another social media only project, Santuario De Sangre. While Santuario De Sangre in many ways exhibits characteristics typical of any other online label – streaming format, static cover image, conventional album length, to name some – with its key difference being that it isn’t available on a platform typically used for streaming sound only (such as Bandcamp or Soundcloud), Minute Walls is a different enterprise altogether. It inhabits a space that is not typically used for full-on music releases, period – Instagram – and also does away with some of those more traditional remnants that Santuario De Sangre retains: there are no static cover images (the videos, in full, comprise the artwork) and the length for each release is dictated fully by the restrictions Instagram places on the end user, meaning that each track (including the label coda – more on this below) is only a minute in length.

Much conventionalism surrounding HNW has it that walls need to be long, and while examples to the opposite certainly exist (and have since the earliest days), it is certainly clear that, by far, most HNW releases tend to go for long form. Reasons for this may be manifold: the lengthier the wall, the deeper the immersion, it is sometimes argued. Another motivation may be that to achieve extremity in every dimension (not just in sound and imagery, for instance) the wall should pose a challenge to the listener also in sheer endurance. No doubt, most wall heads will agree that the more extreme releases in the genre are those that run to considerable length (an article on the longest walls can be found in the first issue of A Wall Of Text).

Minute Walls, in that respect, is a relatively accesible HNW venture, requiring of the listener no more than a minute of her time for each release (and, as it stands, no more than eight minutes for the full discography). And with the ubiquitousness of Instagram – those not having the app installed on the equally ubiqutious smartphones being the exception these days – accessing the material is very straightforward. Just follow Minute Walls and any new release will automatically pop up in your feed: digital, bite-size, short attention span-friendly walls amidst all your other social media needs! Of course, the true intent in using Instagram as a medium is, at heart, to provide a level of inconvenience. If anything, it requires you to keep your screen active (unlike YouTube, nowadays, Instagram does not have a ‘music service’ that allows you to listen to audio only) as the walls are not available in any other format other than as Instagram videos – and the fact that it requires the use of Instagram may (perhaps, should) to some be in and of itself an inconvience (necessitating either installing the app or accessing through a browser on desktop, where navigating away pauses the video). There is something of an irony – some will argue even a definite lamentable state – in the fact that a niche, outsider scene such as HNW relies so strongly on pervasive capitalist social media (and indeed, my own departure from major social media platforms is the reason Minute Walls has not seen a new release for a good while – what a bind!).

In any case, the creation of Minute Walls, and its brief curation, was an enjoyable challenge. I love working in short form walls myself, and Minute Walls (it may be evident that minute here is to mean both extremely small and a time unit of 60 seconds) provided the perfect opportunity. Additionally, in the vast majority of my projects the sonic and visual sides had always been of equal importance, with sound influencing artwork decisions, images providing inspirations for recording, a sort of symbiosis that Minute Walls provided the perfect context for to practice even more intensely. I set to work to create the first two releases myself, creating two walls and their accompanying videos for two special projects, Opaque and Okujo No Sukima Shiroi Sora. Both have distinct but recognizable sonic and visual identities (I’d be inclined to say): Opaque is dedicated as much to experimental walls on the harsher side of the spectrum as it is to down jacket appreciation, while Okujo No Sukima Shiroi Sora is a restrained, minimalistic project, with the walls generally being very minimal, and the artwork consistently presenting cleanly laid out stills from J-pop videos (the project name is derived from a brilliant song by Rev.from DVL) on oceans of white background.

The Opaque wall (Total Alpin Worship III, following the Total Alpin Worship tape and Total Alpin Worship II off the split with Le Bambole Di Velluto on Ominous Recordings) thus became a solidly crunching, lowly grinding wall that slowly crescendoed (well, within its brief running time, at least), accompanied by split-second flashes from videos of Julie Skyhigh in her trademark black Moncler Alpin. The Okujo No Sukima Shiroi Sora wall (Theoretical Frameworks Of Microharmony And Inharmonicity: The Effect Of Counterstructural Stereo Distribution And Perceptual Dissonance In The Context Of A Static Timbre Paradigm Superset) was a much more subdued affair that played with stereo sound, its video borrowing its imagery once more from J-pop videos – except, of course, moving images, as opposed to the stills of the project’s releases thus far. To impose a level of cohesion and label identity, I recorded a brief coda – this minimal, clattering crackle is heard at the end of every video for a few short seconds – which accompanied artist and title text overlaid over the last few seconds of the video, drowning out the sound and visuals of the visual wall itself.

The other Minute Walls included a few external contributions, with both sound and visuals provided by the artists themselves (save, of course, for the coda and title/artist cards): Barry C. Douglas‘ drony, rumbling Foggy Hills; Flesh Shuddering‘s abrasive Breath of Bass; Arturo Ferreira Mendoza’s uniquely organic 외로운 여행자 ~ Traveling North Hwanghae And Pyongyang and A Future Of Meaningless Tomorrows‘ minimal, eerie I whispered your name, but the wind of the night took your voice away. Each contribution was a perfectly idiosyncratic work that I felt very successfully married its approach to sound to its elected visual identity and made me very excited to feature more (were it not for my personal abandoning of social media for the time being). Having as much fun as I did putting together the first two releases, I recorded another two myself: The Congo Free State Was A Farce, A Brutal Regime Ruthlessly Exploited And Massacred Native Bantu Peoples, under the moniker of Congo Upheaval, a thundering wall overlaid with video of mercenaries in the DRC; and This Is The Last Time I Shall See Your Body, under the moniker of Rites Of Death, a crunchy wall accompanied by grainy fragments from one of Fuji Kikaku’s infamous Onna Harakiri videos.

At present, Minute Walls is inactive, though, of course, its discography is readily available (and at a mere eight minutes at that) through its Instagram page.

Absent Erratum: Outerstellar: Music For The Mirror Image Of This Universe

Outerstellar: Music For The Mirror Image Of This Universe is the 45th release on Absent Erratum. It is the first compilation featured on the label. In addition to the intro and outro tracks, it features 9 contributions that together run for a total of 40 minutes and 30 seconds. It was released on August 2nd, 2021.

The compilation features contributions by Disney’s™ Aladdin©® for Nintendo® SNES™®, Ocean club casino, Korean Cosmetics, Angel Flight, I WILL BE REB⬤RN IN PARADISE, Nord Gulf, B°U°B°B°L°E, ⬥𝐔⬥𝐋⬥𝐓⬥𝐈⬥𝐌⬥𝐀⬥𝐓⬥𝐄⬥𝐁⬥𝐄⬥𝐈⬥𝐍⬥𝐆⬥ and Portable Eternal Zephyr. The artists each present their own idiosyncratic approach to wallcraft, offering everything from quiet lowercase and field recordings to ambient noise wall and harsh noise wall. Each track has its individual variation on the main artwork, which can be viewed by clicking on the individual tracks.

You can listen to Outerstellar: Music For The Mirror Image Of This Universe here.

Patricia Taxxon – Brightest Sunrise (Sven Kay Dembow Flip)

I recently found out about the great and diverse work of Patricia Taxxon through the excellent Beauty, of which the stunning Brightest Sunrise is perhaps the absolute highlight. It encouraged me to try my first hand at a dembow flip after having encountered so many excellent ones in my explorations of neoperreo, such as this great flip of Ariana Grande’s 7 rings by Sugarmist. My own flip of Brightest Sunrise can be heard in full on my Soundcloud.

Opaque – Ienki Ienki Michlin Arctic Blue Foil Jacket (C40, Fall Into Void Records)

Hot on the heels of the Opaque tape on Veil, here is a second Opaque tape for June, this time on the excellent Fall Into Void Recs, run by Petar Stipsits, who is also responsible for the great, great work of HNW outfit Bruising Pattern. This C40, titled Ienki Ienki Michlin Arctic Blue Foil Jacket, offers two twenty-minute tracks that are each a variation of an approach that attempts to sonically approximate the contact and friction of tightly-wrapped hyper-puffy nylon jackets.

Ienki Ienki Michlin Arctic Blue Foil Jacket was released in an edition of 30 on appropriately icy blue tapes in a snow-like white-backed case. The lay-out for the cover-art was done by Zachary Ledsinger. This tape is the second Ienki Ienki-focused release from Opaque, the first having been the digital-only, self-released Ienki Ienki Michlin Supreme Rose. Ienki Ienki is a great Ukrainian high-fashion brand whose wonderful Michlin jacket is an absolutely classic puffy design.

You can purchase the release or stream it on the Fall Into Void Bandcamp.