"Kassette Kvlt III" (Earth.Space Noise)

One of the more interesting "conceptual" series of releases this year (if the label actually has much competition in that area), Earth.Space Noise's Kassette Kvlt series has asked a number of devoted artists to record exclusive material in anonymity. Before describing anything else about Kassette Kvlt III, it should be stressed that this is worth picking up for the packaging alone. Fetishists take note. The amount of work which has obviously been poured into this project (check the photos here) far outweighs the price, which is no higher than the average rate. The case is housed inside silkscreened black cloth which has been stapled together, and once inside there's more macabre fun with black-on-black printed cardstock featuring biblical imagery and a tape splattered in red.
The liner notes describe the Kassette Kvlt series as "an ongoing tribute to the history and future of noise." KK III, then, is the history lesson. As the first side begins, a chanteuse (rare enough in these parts) croons and chants in a tongue hard to decipher amidst swathes of dark synthesizer melodies. Found sound clips of people talking in the next room occasionally intersperse the instrumental sections, which are a lot of fun to follow in their gradually unfolding paths. Intertwined loops of minimal guitar and reverb-saturated drones appear and reappear but only to serve the direction of the piece. It wouldn't be surprising if the mystery artist was a veteran in disguise, since there is a firm sense of composition throughout the recording. Although some aspects of the production are contemporary, the feeling recalls an earlier time when noise and industrial music were not partitioned off. The ghosts of EN, Foetus and Swans are floating all over this thing, although no one brought drum machines (or mallets). Come to think of it, the singer sounds kind of like Jarboe....? Naaah. Regardless of the artist's identity, this remains an involved and rewarding title that becomes more interesting (and prompts more guesses) with each listen. Recommended.