Mokira: Hateless

Wolf Eyes: Black Wing Over the Sand
iDEAL/Kning Disk

Before deciding that Hateless is a merciless plunge into electronic noise-making, consider the humor—feeble perhaps—that Andreas Tilliander brings to his sixth Mokira album in substituting “hate” for “love” in the album's titles: Hateless becomes Loveless, “Hand in Ghate” becomes—wait for it—“Hand in Glove,” and so on. All kidding aside, the album may be the most uncompromising release yet from the Swedish producer; certainly it's his most visceral. Tilliander lists gear on the inner sleeve, and it's immediately apparent that the equipment used—generators, sequencers, and effects (Korg MS20, Korg MS50, Roland TB-303, etc.)—excludes computer, suggesting that the album's material is analogue in origin. The music's ‘ambient industrial' character gets a full workout with rippling, bass-heavy lines flowing like magma through six cavernous soundscapes, two of them thirteen minutes each. Tilliander relentlessly picks and scratches a scab in the first, “Hate Me Like I Do,” where squalls repeat as incessantly as a centipede burrowing into one's cranium until a churning rhythm rumbles to the surface at the ten-minute mark, imposing some semblance of control. The closer “True Hate Will Find You in the End” resembles the distorted amplifications of a vibrating washing machine that grows increasingly violent and out-of-control. Like his 2003 Type release, Album, the darker Hateless flows uninterruptedly from one track to the next, enabling the listener to hear it as a single, large-scale work of mutating character.

Brutalizing stuff of which nightmares are made, Black Wings Over The Sand is the perfect complement to Hateless. Wolf Eyes' (Nathan Young, John Olson, and Mike Connelly) recording unfurls in a long, drawn-out metallic groan of thirty-five minute duration. The piece isn't a crushing detonation (though in its final minutes comes close) but a funereal crawl through an incinerated landscape of writhing drones, high-pitched screeches, and metallic shards. At various times, the strangulated cry of an electric guitar is heard alongside the thrusting lurch while anomalous bird chirps occasionally resound over the ruins. Midway through, the piece slows to a seeming halt, taking a moment to survey a worker's evisceration of electronic appliances over here and another's sadistic destruction of torture machinery over there. As ritualistic as the satanic operation adorning the cover and as dark as the deepest center of a black hole, this brain-addling addition to Wolf Eyes' ridiculously large discography is so willfully grotesque it makes Throbbing Gristle sound like The Carpenters.

July 2007