It should be no secret by now that besides the melancholic modern classical or meditative ambient works I also listen to the darker, harder end of sound. Enter Ad Noiseam, a Berlin-based label run and operated by Nicolas Chevreux, which I have been following almost since its inception back in 2001. But it wasn’t until about 2006 when I began hungrily consuming every release by the label. In the process I was subjected and graced to the sounds of Bong-Ra, DJ Hidden, Aaron Spectre, Detritus, Scorn, Mothboy, Broken Note, The Teknoist, Enduser, and of course Hecq and The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble, among the many others. Today I took a quick look back at some of my favorite latest releases from the label, and hopefully open up your ears to some beautiful agony within…

I’ve been listening to Gautier Serre’s rabid musings as Igorrr since his 2006 self-released debut, Poisson Soluble. Since then, I followed this French radical to Acroplane Recordings [check out Moisissure (2009)] and finally, Ad Noiseam label [see Nostril (2010)], where he clearly belongs. So how does one describe Gautier’s beautiful agony and is there a one-word genre name that would fit? Barrocore? That is the closest thing that I could think of. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word ‘baroque’ is derived from the Portuguese ‘barroco‘ which roughly translates to an ‘imperfect pearl‘. And that’s precisely what this fourth album is – a rare and unnaturally occurring gem. On Hallelujah Igorrr perfects his art of combining black metal growls, drilling hardcore breaks, Spanish guitar, classically baroque instruments and operatic soprano vocals. Intrigued? You definitely should be! But what’s more amazing about this incredible fusion of styles is how well executed and cohesive it becomes. Gautier Serre is a wizard’s scholar, a deranged magician, a psychotic genius. And I love every single note of it! A single listen through the last album track, “Infinite Loop”, will cement him as a master of aural manipulations in your mind. Featuring many guest musicians, this magnum opus is the climax of Serre’s current career, and only hope he keeps going higher! I can’t recommend this album highly enough!

Ruby My Dear
Remains Of Shapes To Come
Once again I am much obliged to Ad Noiseam for introducing me to new sounds. If it wasn’t for the label’s keen eye, I would have missed Julien Chastagnol’s work as Ruby My Dear, since I haven’t been up to date with many digital released on labels such as Acroplane, Peace Off, and Braincore, where Chastagnol has enjoyed much success in the last few years. Thus, getting signed to Ad Noiseam yields a debut full length release, titled Remains Of Shapes To Come, and I’m immediately intrigued by the past and future of this French producer. Carrying forward the torch of the genre (while certain snares just seem to be hibernating), Chastagnol brings forth a fresh breath of air with a little ragga flavah and a bit of his own insanity in the mix. Whether it’s tinkering with DSP-heavy IDM, or the neuron-misfiring frenzy of drilling breakcore, or glitch-heavy terrorizing riddims that drop into distorted hardcore kicks [“…and now Batman’s hands got plans for me!”], Ruby My Dear puts on a performance which is above all intelligent, and by no means boring. This is not simply a collection of sped-up rhythms, cut-up beats, and growling bass – there is a seemingly fluid story being told throughout and between the tracks. And I personally welcome this much needed rebirth of the genre – bring back the jungle, bring back the Amen break! Highly recommended for fans of Enduser, Bong-Ra, The Teknoist, and of course Venetian Snares.

The Outside Agency
The Dogs Are Listening
Leave it to Ad Noiseam to scoop up one of the darkest acts to grace these ears. The Outside Agency is a culmination of two of my favorite artists: Frank Nitzinsky and Noël Wessels. The former is a hard d’n’b and hardcore techno producer known as Eye-D, with many releases on a range of labels such as Citrus, Black Sun Empire and Evol Intent. The latter is none other than DJ Hidden (also recording under Semiomime) with plenty of highlights on Ruff-Teck, Independenza, PRSPCT and of course Ad Noiseam. Together, as The Outside Agency, the duo delivers one of the hardest albums spanning genre boundaries. With stylistic elements ranging from hardstyle to darkstep and breakcore, the percolating evil oozes out in crystal clear frequencies and drops onto the pulsating surface of my cranium like an acid rain. Filled with adrenalin, my raging fist pounds into the wall of sound. This is some post-traumatic angry music that my mind occasionally craves. But among the distorted kicks and fuzzy bass, my ear clearly discerns fantastic production values, and purposeful intent, which is why this album stands above the rest. Always re-inventing their sound, Nitzinsky and Wessels tirelessly push the envelope beyond the sound of copycats, who are stuck within the common structures and congruent bpm. This is the album which “we might not deserve, but which we need.”

Stumbling, mischievous and bitter, the music of Fausten treads on amidst industrial relish of dust, dirt and smoke. The passage is hallow, metallic and cold; the trembling hand grasps a dingy, rusty pipe, only to snap back in frostbite, lament and wail. This is an uninhabited world of Fausten, void of kindness, ease and warmth. But among the dense and riveting rhythms, there’s clear intelligence, reason and grace. Fausten is a brainchild of London-based Monster X and Stormfield. Separately, the artists have released experimental and menacing frequencies: Monster X on Mutant Sniper, Peace Off, and Tigerbeat6; and Stormfield on his very own Combat Recordings. Together, the self-titled Fausten is a realization of individual accomplishments into a single climactic event. The result is heavy, noisy and oppressive – the values that yours truly loves to embrace. It’s as if the earlier industrial, dark breakbeat and illbient works I used to share my angst with got upgraded with a heavier dose of modern signal processing. The debut release includes three remixes by Oyaarss, Dadub and Ontal, as well as a music video for the “Punishment” track. “[…] a colossal, smart and twisted monster of coldness and inhumanity, of distortion, beats and subtle details.” Recommended if you dig Displacer, Architect, Millipede and Black Lung.