Pure H: Signia

The track “Signia,” which opened Slovenia-based outfit Pure H's 2005 release Anadonia, gets reshaped ten times by a diverse crew of remixers, including everyone from techno DJ artist Surgeon to Japanese noise artist K.K. Null (Kazuyuki Kishino). Though individual approaches to the piece naturally differ, the album's overall sound is surprisingly uniform, with the artists collectively generating a pulverized portrait that evokes the simmering aftermath of an annihilating apocalypse. Throughout the disc, deathly beats crawl at a marauding pace while anguished voices wail desperately from the center of a hellish prison.

Italian sound designer Eraldo Bernocchi gets things moving with “Vision Rising,” a dark slice of serpentine dub shadowed by tormented spirits, a vibe Chris Wood extends into “Ukwakha” where voices and noise fragments violently collide over a slithering, bass-heavy base of agitated breaks. Richard Dunlap's “East Lands Silent” plunges deepest into the sludge, while “Live Farce” finds Osaka-based trio Psychedelic Desert unhurriedly building a sixteen-minute drone that starts peacefully but becomes considerably more harrowing when drums enter the echo-drenched fray at the eleven-minute mark. Anyone expecting a techno makeover from DJ Surgeon, however, is in for a rude awakening as, like many tracks, Anthony Child's “Enslaved Population” is a flesh-crawling slab of noxious soundscaping. PCM (Neil Harvey and Nik Wells) likewise stir up a snarling vortex in “Blue Waters Turn Black” out of whose center, inexplicably, materializes a mid-song drum'n'bass attack. The breezy hip-hop skank of MoShang's “Lazy Sunday” arrives as a refreshing ray of sunlight amidst such gloom, and some trace of head-nod pushes its way to the dense surface of Wodan's lurching “H Light” too.

Each piece seamlessly flows into the next, turning Signia into a 76-minute, one-way trip to Hades. If anything lessens the set's impact, it's that many of these seven- to eight-minute tracks could have had a minute or two shaved off, resulting in a more concise and digestible collection. Even so, it still sounds like the perfect gift for your local Ad Noiseam fanatic.

November 2007