Ronnie Sundin / Lasse Marhaug: Very Friendly # 1 / Trondheim Tapes Revisited

Ronnie Sundin: Seven Year Silence
Fang Bomb

The first release in Komplott Maginot Series is certainly inspired: the project pairs a comic book by self-proclaimed "non-musician" Ronnie Sundin (and mini-poster showing Edgard Varése and Pierre Schaeffer in 1954) and a seven-inch single by Lasse Marhaug whose connect up with the first of the comic's three stories. Sundin's drawing style may be crude by Marvel Comics standards but what it lacks in refined technique it makes up for in charm. The autobiographical stories document three real-life events: Sundin's first meeting with Norwegian noise producer Lasse Marhaug in Trondheim in 1998; the semi-scandalous presentation of Edgard Varése's Desérts in Paris in 1954; and a concert performed by Throbbing Gristle at London 's Cryptic One Club in 1978. The comic panels of Marhaug and Sundin generating room-clearing noise using pedals and contact microphones dovetail perfectly with the two-part single “Trondheim Tapes Revisited.” Six collage-styled minutes of mangled speaking voices, ear-piercing screeches, unearthly convulsions, coughs, splatter, feedback, and fireworks is more fun than adults should be allowed to have so act fast before the 300 copies vanish.

Sundin's own musical project comes in an oversized booklet too, with skull-heavy drawings presented in a handsome design by Nullvoid. Listening to the two-part Seven Year Silence, it's almost dumbfounding to think that Sundin was once called “Sweden 's most silent man” because his recordings verged on the near-inaudible. The new material, by comparison, is a noise-fest of cranium-shattering design (in fact, it's not altogether new as it was assembled from an assortment of rediscovered mini-discs containing material produced between 2001 and 2007). Things appear to have come full circle for Sundin, as the trained visual artist initiated his musical travels with the solo noise project Bad Kharma and collaborations with Lasse Marhaug before turning the volume down to pursue his interest in the “hypnagogic” state (the state of intermediate consciousness preceding sleep).

Part one starts unthreateningly enough with a quietly rippling motor-like hum but the doors soon blow open, as tearing noises and squeals fight for domination. A cacophonous splatterfest ensues that gives new meaning to the word convulsive, with sonic abuse of the most violent kind perpetrated upon the bewildered listener. Mercifully, things cool down after eleven minutes with the onset of elephantine blurts declaiming amidst feedback whistles and needle-sharp churn. A relatively skeletal field of high-pitched tones follows, which is in turn supplanted by a writhing and combustible mass. The second part is as frenetic, and feels at times like every nightmare you've ever had re-occurring simultaneously as a deranged noise symphony. Compress a month's worth of recorded dental drill squeals, rabid Rottweiler growls, and construction site detonations into two twenty-minute slabs and you might have something sonically kin to Seven Year Silence.

June 2009