Space, Noise, Nokalypse, Novasak, Split
An electroacoustic display of noise and space by the two sound sculptors, Nokalypse and Novasak (novasak.com) from Wheat Ridge of Colorado, in a split album. The two large scale works, "Night of Transfiguration" by Nokalypse and "The Thick and The Thin" by Novasak, share a common sense about space - although, they are carefully performed/composed. Music for those who love the sound of Iannis Xenakis, Nurse With Wound, Merzbow, Francisco López, Daniel Menche...
release date : December 24, 2007
label : Swamp Of Pus (swampofpus.com)
catalog number : SP 127
format, quantity : CDR/digipack, 100 copies
1 Nokalypse Night of Transfiguration [36:57]
2 Novasak The Thick and The Thin [30:08]
Nokalypse : January - February, September 2007
Novasak : July - September, November 2007
September, November 2007
Todd Novosad, December 2007
J Hamilton / Introspect (arma.lt)
Two artists from Greece and the US, respectively, grace this CDR from the rather ridiculously named American label Swamp Of Pus. Nokalypse is Themistoklis Pantelopoulos of Athens, who claims to be influenced primarily by the more "serious" strains of contemporary music, and it shows in his 37 minute composition here. I hear more than a trace of Xenakis works (particularly "Persepolis" and "La Legende D'Eer") in these endlessly rising and falling sound textures. The long slow build-up takes on a sort of respiratory pattern, with more and more details swelling up from the depths, eventually congealing into a huge sound mass, metallic creakings and gargantuan oceanic textures, before winding down into more brittle electronic sounds towards the finish. Nothing stays still for too long, and repeat listening is rewarded with more revealed details. Novasak's name is familiar to me but this is the first time I've heard his work. Clocking in at a hair over half an hour, his contribution here contrasts with the Nokalypse piece in that it's built from very obviously synthesized sound and is more or less devoid of the "classical" electroacoustic references that characterized Pantelopoulos' piece. The muffled opening makes me think of some of those old Mauthausen Orchestra tapes from the early mid-80's, but this mood changes as electronic tones cut in at a much higher level. Various shifts follow at intervals, with the wavering tones of (I'm assuming) analogue oscillators dominating. Sometimes the bottom drops out, leaving high-pitched whines hovering in mid-air before low-end distortion rushes in, sometimes slowly shifting pure tones congeal into a droning mass. It gets relatively noisy in places but is far from "noise", always showing restraint. While less immediately impressive than Nokalypse's piece, Novasak does succeed in creating something quite immersive here, and rounds out a quite excellent disc.
Massimo Ricci / Touching Extremes (touchingextremes.blogspot.com)
Got to love these labels' names. Seriously, the split-CD format is becoming increasingly diffused in the world of independent electronic activity, which is a little puzzling to me, as there is the risk of a certain unbalance in the values. I myself would be annoyed if a valued piece of mine were to be paired with a lesser artist's one in a release. On the other hand, this is a nice method of spreading the work of different composers at once - and if they're friendly, who cares about who's the album's boss? In this particular case, though, homogeneity rules: Themistoklis Pantelopoulos (Nokalypse) presents a long exploration of the blackest galaxies between educated noise and space music, starting calmly enough but soon developing into a concentrate of near-burst forces. There's a bit of everything for everybody (limiting ourselves to this area, of course): Xenakis - as an influence, not in terms of sonic similarity - Lustmord and Kirchenkampf are three possible, if distant comparisons. Todd Novosad (Novasak), the man behind Swamp Of Pus, is slightly lo-fi oriented, his track featuring a lot more of flanged-out, guitar-derived ambiences that push the material towards the harshest fringes of industrial. This o-pus (sorry I couldn't resist) is also definitely enjoyable yet my preference goes, by a hair, to Nokalypse who assembled his half with an appreciable higher degree of compositional care. Overall, a good disc.
Frans de Waard / Vital Weekly (vitalweekly.net)
The man behind the Triple Bath label is Themistoklis Pantelopoulos and he also creates music, as Nokalypse, with various releases under his belt on Echomusic, Phase! Records and here has a split CDR release with Novasak, a.k.a. Todd Novosad, who is the man behind Swamp Of Pus. And he released this one. "An electroacoustic display of noise and space using dynamic volume and spacial depth" is how it's been described and, along with name dropping from Xenakis to Lopez and Menche to Nurse With Wound, that is all indeed very accurate. Both bands take a long form of sound - each track is over thirty minutes of chilly electronics, huge reverb drones and tons of little sound effects running amok. It owes more to serious avant-garde, without perhaps a bit of compositional structure here and there, than to the average noise album - more Xenakis indeed than Merzbow. Of the two, Nokalypse is the more refined one, and Novasak is the more noisy one and ultimately I think also the lesser one of the two tracks.