TTW#62 - Where is This - Infinite Hum
A: Infinite Hum
B1: Infinite Hiss
B2: Infinite Howl
Illustration – Ms M. O’Manoooo
Composed, performed and recorded by Where is This from January to April 2011 at The Aluminium Factory.
Where is This is the solo noise project of Mark Ward. Founded in 2007 to explore and ‘fuck about’ with sound, WiT amassed a slew of recordings that, as well as becoming active in the noise trading scene, led him to create the small press label, Bored Bear Recordings whose blog is also the home of Where is This.
WiT releases can vary in style and could be described as noise, harsh noise, power electronics, ambient, drone, and everything in between. Nowadays, his work mostly focuses on Harsh Noise Walls, sometimes with an ambient/drone edge, and creating highly textured walls of sound. Recent releases (amongst others) include ‘Paunch’ (2013), ‘Learning to Drown’ (2013), ‘Rue Des Lombards’ (2012) and ‘Narcissus at the Gym’ (2011).
His records have been released on many record labels including Kovorox Sound, Victimology Rec., Deadline Noise Recordings and Quagga Curious Sounds.
In other lives, he is also a published poet and a cabaret performer.
The Quietus (UK):
Flat out noise is a tough review to write. The reasons as to why a particular twenty-minute stretch of luminescent white noise is any better than another are often actually relatively difficult to pinpoint beyond “that Masonna track made me feel dizzy, but in a good way”, or “that Bastard Noise jam was a bit too much for me today”. Rhythm, tonality and melody all go more or less out the window, leaving texture and structure behind. It is what it is, and the very being what it is, is most of what it is – if you get my meaning – and in this case, Where Is This is what it is.
The Tapeworm is a relentless tape label dedicated to putting out music by often-unknown artists aiming to explore the strengths, history and flaws of the format. They've already put out four tapes in 2014, including an abstract assemblage of iPhone recordings by Oren Ambarchi and, indeed, this ball aching blowout of a noise tape by Dubliner Mark Ward. Having pressed play, oppressive walls of distorted sound flood my speakers, the limits of the tape format readily audible, and any sense of clarity a distant memory already. There's no detail given as to how the sounds were made either. This could be guitar feedback, or a distorted keyboard, or bastardised field recordings – and it barely matters. The very outer edges of the noise are perhaps softened somewhat by the cavernous reverb treatment given to the proceedings. This glacial edge is more audible on side two's comparatively gentle ‘Infinite Hiss’, which chooses to lap the shore of the speakers in ebbing waves. But it's the opening sidelong ‘Infinite Hum’ and the equally challenging high-end squall of ‘Infinite Howl’ that stick in the mind, giving and taking away in as much as it takes a stoic listener to make it through in one piece, but utterly defies any attempt at tuning out. The restlessly prolific DIY noise artist is almost an underground cliché at this point, but tapes like Infinite Hum are a reminder as to precisely why it's such an important form of music, and just how the much sonic exploration we've still left to do.
Aquarius Records (US):
One of three new releases from UK tape label The Tapeworm, and yet another one we'd never heard of before. Where Is This, the project of one Mark Ward, is a seriously dense wall of sound, a heaving, crushing sprawl of blacknoise, power electronics, and blown out psychedelia. There's certainly an element of Merzbowian brutality, as in to the weak eared, this might come across as pure noise, but with headphones, and heck, even in places without, the sounds here are super nuanced, textured and dare we say melodic, with streaks of chordal color draped across churning expanses of white noise skree, arcs of feedback are sculpted into melodic fragments, and then woven into thick, dizzying swirls of crumbling distortion, and fried zoner drones, the whole tape is a constant squall, but once you're full immersed, the sounds surround you, and wrap you in mysteriously melodic bits of sound, a cascade of crunchy, buzzy, blistering shriek and howl, somehow tamped down and muted, and woven into some seriously mesmerizing psychedelic noise, the sort of thing, that somehow becomes more and more listenable and lovely, the longer you listen, all the while not shedding a bit of its searing sonic intensity. Noise is often a tough proposition for us, but when done right, it can be something impossibly brutal and beautiful, epic and majestic, and fantastically transcendent, and Ward really does do it just right!
Intense, squally noise drones from Dublin's Where Is This, his first for The Tapeworm. To date Mark Ward aka Where Is This has released a slew of his own recordings on his Bored Bear label, along with countless others by the likes of Black Orgasm, Piss Gag, Female Harikiri and other such friendly-monikered miscreants. His ‘Inifinite Hum’ opens The Tapeworm’s 2014 catalogue with a bracing 20 minute blast of viscous, vicious white noise licking up high peaks of blizzard-like distortion in hypnotic, oncoming waves. ‘Infinite Hiss’ is more varied, redolent of Kevin Drumm’s more pensive pieces modulating between gloaming, chamber-like drones, near-silent passages and filtered noise washes with a stoic sense of control, whereas ‘Infinite Howl’ returns to sustained, prickly, abyss-screaming noise.