|Harbinger Soundclash featuring
Schimpfluch Gruppe, The New Blockaders, Merzbow
Red Rose Club, London
A colossal noise night of noise heavyweights including industrial stalwarts, proponents of Japanonoise, and lesser names form the post-industrial.
It must have been an early start but when I arrived I was confronted with the remainders of set incorporating soul classics, as a projection of Church of Satan founder Anton LaVey stared from the video screen.
And now apologies for this as like others I've got problems identifying a number of these acts so bear with me here. The first I act I caught in their entirety featured a lone figure, and a bank of equipment and hand pedals. It was progressive noise, at times almost metal in its delivery it allows an assorted burst of noise and the occasional burst of rhythm. The entire performance is physical - at least when compared to the other solitary noise performances - due to the pummeling of the noise-guitar device, and the extensive range of equipment.
The Zurich based collective Schimpfluch Gruppe are seated on stage. They provide a more art-based performance with a visceral, physical sound constructed from microphones on wooden chairs. It's a slow build up as each of the black clad trio scrape and drag the chairs back across the wooden floor, or forcefully rock the chair creating textures that are effected through various pedals. It's fairly controlled (though I suspect the electrical blackout wasn't planned) and gets progressively more physical. Members of the trio start jumping from chairs, falling to the floor, sawing and scraping at the wood. It's engaging to watch, it makes me think of something Pan Sonic or Matmos might do. In the end I'll opt for a Wire description - Chairs Missing - not this time, I'm afraid.
Masami Akita has a such a vast catalogue of material it's perhaps difficult to formulate expectations. With his straight long black hair, and black clothing he sits between two Apple Macs controlled and almost unexpressive. This is Merzbow in his digital phase. An all encompassing wall of sound is generated. On first listen it is easily to be put off by the volume but once you lock into the sound you can distinguish subtle changes in pitch and tone but not enough to divert your attention from the calming waves of sound washing over. A strobe flickers for the duration of the set. The entire audience, at least from where I was near the front, appear transfixed. It's a calming effect, almost cleansing. A zen-like effect amidst the industrialized chaos elsewhere on the bill.
Tonight marks the end of the road for industrial stalwarts The New Blockaders. The New Blockaders have a long history in UK industrial and noise circles having worked with Organum, and Andrew Chalk. They've also had a strong impact on the Japanoise scene - Masami Akita has long been a fan, favouring the unique sounds The New Blockaders present. A collaboration with Merzbow is in the offing too. Their inclusion in noise history is assured.
Tonight they're represented by Richard Rupenus, and a mysterious figure seated at a table who for the duration of the set drinks red wine from a glass through a balaclava, while Rupenus sits in the corner unleashing harsh industrial noise or anti-music as they'd term it. It's just arty enough to set them apart from the usual bracketing with Whitehouse and Broken Flag outfits. It's a strong set, and a strong final statement. They also managed to blow the electricity, so all in all for their final act The New Blockaders went with a bang and not a whimper.
As I leave Joke Lanz one of the members of Schimpfluch Gruppe appears as Sudden Infant, with vicious noise assaults emanating from a plastic baby doll. It's brutal and abrasive and the remaining audience appears to love it.
Hinoeuma - www.hinoeuma.org/
Merzbow - hatomasamune.easter.ne.jp/merzbow/
The New Blockaders - www.thenewblockaders.org.uk
Schimpfluch Gruppe/Sudden Infant - www.suddeninfant.com