HgM / L_Arsenne

Album Title: 
Hydrargirum - Arsenium
Release Date: 
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Review Type: 

Death Carnival Records are a Noise / Drone / Industrial / Ambient label from Nice, France, nowadays acting under the wings of Arsenic Solaris (cf. Arthur Arsenne and his multiple outfits). Most releases are done on tape-edition, and since I did receive a handful of them, you can expect quite some reviews on these creations as from now on. Stay alert!

One of the many split releases on this label (Death Carnival Records indeed comes with many split-recordings) is a collaboration in between the Italian outfit HgM and French act L_Arsenne. The Hydrargirum / Arsenium split-tape comes in an edition of 30 (thirty!) copies only, and I do not think there are many copies left… So hurry up, and I’ll explain you why…

Side A consists of three compositions by Italian project HgM aka (H)organismo.(G)ravemente.(M)alato, recorded in Milan, Italy, as from July 2013 till March 2014 at Ho.Gravi.Malattie Darkroom. The three tracks last in between five and seven minutes. HgM’s part of the split starts with Slag Inclusion, which opens with a noise à la ‘mechanical water’ – I do not know how else I can define this specific sound. Actually, this composition sort of waves on that very same basic soundscape, but it comes with an atmosphere so scarifying and ominous, building up into suffocating proportions. Liquid Nitrogen goes on in a comparable vein, being a noisy and trancelike field recording with a primal basement and with inclusion of that grim, breath-taking attitude. The third piece, Intergranular Corrosion, is less minimal yet much more cacophonic, but once again like a mixture of noiscapes, field recordings and Musique Concrète. It sounds like a collage of sounds, both industrial and natural (once again that water I spoke about when writing something on the first track, re-appears), compiled into a sonic lo-fi statue. HgM for sure are a heavily sick organism… 7,5/10

The three other pieces are created by L_Arsenne, one of the many outfits by Mr Arsenne, who owns this label, as well as being the person involved with e.g. the collaboration Arsenne + Cisak + Oleksinski (see the update on January 17th for the [magnificent] review on the Frozen Light’s split-collaboration), LOC / Lands Of Conifer or Mitantecuntri, amongst several others (and expect some more reviews soon on releases by both Lands Of Conifer and Mitantecuntri!). The first piece is called Messe and it sounds like a morbid ritual, including repetitive mechanical drones and mesmerizing Tibetan-alike shamanistic chants (the so-called rgyud-skad way of singing). The composition builds up to a climax that sort of leaves you confused. Corridor (which lasts for almost eleven minutes) combines elements from Harsh Noise with both oppressive and psychedelic sounds, with subtle hints of Noise Wall and weird samples. Here too a coal-black atmosphere creates mostly uncomfortable moments of unrest, yet in a masochistic manner it’s attractive at the same time; attractive becomes addictive. The short last track, Arsenic Extraction, might be the highlight, for having the harshness of Corridor mixed with the ritual raison d’être of Messe, resulting in a transcendental and, at the same time, down-earthed epic (yes, I use ‘epic’ despite the short length, 2:29). 8,5/10

It’s quite remarkable that Noise can turn out to be so obscure, abyssal, asphyxiating, but both projects on this split, though being quite distinctive from each other, easily succeed to create that bleak intensity.