Loki - "Possessed By Demons" (Anima Mal Nata, AMNCD038, CDR)
Marc van Elburg & Marcel Herms - "Feedback Distortion" (Anima Mal Nata/HondenkoekjesfabriekCDR)
Ubique Daemon vs. Zyrtax - s/t (Anima Mal Nata/Dead Mind Records, 7" 33rpm)
From Aural Innovations #31 (June 2005)
Loki is one of several solo projects from Dutch sound artist Marcel Herms. (You may also know him as Ubique Demon, Fever Spoor and Noisebitch.) The CD consists of 2 long and 3 short tracks. "Succubus" begins with a few minutes of aggressive noise exploration, though Marcel does a good job of building substance and character into the assault rather than just trying to turn the listener's brain into mush. After a few minutes the noise dies down and an ensemble of electronics, string scratching, found sounds and percussives commences. I quite liked this segment as we're treated to some interesting swirly tonal effects within a general avant-garde haunted house atmosphere. "Lillith" is a short track that goes out into freaky alien realms with loads of bubbling electronics, accompanied by freeform sound-art bits and pieces. "The Immaculate Conception" is another short piece, and another very cool combination of space electronics and experimental sound elements. "Demon Lover" is one of my favorites of the set, creating a mood and atmosphere that is dark and intense, yet frantic, machine-like and spacey. A creative combination of disparate elements. The 14 minute "Incubus" closes the set and is another intriguing combination of chaotic space electronics and tumultuous sound acrobatics. Lots happening here in just 36 minutes. I thought at first that it was just going to be a noise-fest, but Marcel's thoughtful use of various building blocks of sound, and his focus on creating experimental sound-art symphonies made for an enjoyably challenging listen.
Feedback Distortion is a collaboration between Marcel Herms and fellow Dutch artist Marc van Elburg. The CD is barely 30 minutes long but manages to speak volumes in a short amount of time. It's opens with schoolchildren singing to an accompanying noisey sawing "voice" that "sings" along with the children. This is followed by noise laden space electronics which soon reach cranium splitting levels of volume and intensity. But this barely lasts a minute and we get into some cool spaceship engine room activity along with a variety of other strange happenings. There are 8 tracks but it really plays out like a single and continually evolving sonic roller coaster ride. Like the Loki set, Feedback Distortion is by no means a non-stop wall of noise offensive. Herms and van Elburg utilize aggression only as one of many elements, the result being a rich sound sculpture experience with lots of deep space alien fun. Visual art is also key to this release. The CD comes with a 40 page booklet loaded with artwork that brings to mind something Ralph Steadman might produce if commissioned to create a set of ink blots. For maximum listening pleasure just flip through the book while the CD is spinning and let your imagination run wild.
Finally, the Ubique Daemon vs. Zyrtax vinyl 7" is a collaboration between Marcel Herms (Ubique Daemon) and Zyrtax, yet another artist from the Netherlands. Side A is titled "Prisoner Come Out (Give Me The Keys)", and like much of what I've been hearing from the Herms camp it blends a spacey vibe with avant-garde banquets of sound. Numerous voices run throughout the piece, along with efx'd glass shattering and other oddball sounds. Side B is "I Don't Want To Be There Anymore", which is the quirkiest piece on any of these releases. It's even strangely musical and has a dance groove… in a two left feet sort of way. Very cool.
For more information you can email Anima Mal Nata/Marcel Herms at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact via snail mail c/o Marcel Herms; Postbus 6359; 7401 JJ Deventer; the Netherlands.
Email Dead Mind Records at: email@example.com.
Visit the Hondenkoekjesfabriek web site at: http://www.xs4all.nl/~tellab.
Visit the Zyrtax web site at: http://www.blutistzeit.nl.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz