Friday, April 4, 2008

EMACIATOR “Dormant” (Hospital Productions) /// EMACIATOR “Within” (Callow God) /// EMACIATOR “Nonexistent” (Throne Heap)

When Tulare, California bleaknik Jon Borges first attempted to navigate away from the minor key rage and masculine despair that so defined his years-running harsh noise institution, Pedestrian Deposit, the results were promising but muted. Early Emaciator tapes on Hanson and Monorail Trespassing aimed to fuse the dread of blackened drone with the hypnotic qualities of ambient minimalism, oftentimes succeeding but occasionally sounding like a PD intro without the payoff thrash. Forget all that. The past is ancient history shit and today’s what matters. And over the past six-ish months Borges has slowly and single mindedly cultivated Emaciator into a beast far bleaker and more beautiful than any other musical stab-into-the-void he’s yet endeavored, and his latest batch of tapes are as sick as they come.

Dormant is a C15 on Dominick Fernow’s Hospital Productions label and it showcases the winter 2007 Emaciator live approach: summon dense clouds of buzzing ritual drone, then gently burn them away with quiet suicide-guitar arrangements, picking the strings like an inmate with nothing to gain from this life. The A ends like an elegy, miserable electric notes floating into the grave of a loved one, while the B howls with overloaded electronics all fighting to make themselves heard.

Within is on Jeff Witcher’s Callow God label, and was recorded in the fall of ’07, so I don’t know if that makes it more or less recent than Dormant (which has zero info except a million label logos everywhere), but if I had to guess I’d say it’s more recent. Because the A (“Lambent Truce”) especially sounds like the super current Emaciator style, which fleetingly at times verges on the new age drone harmonics of Taiga Remains, with the post-noise buzzing swarm of old reduced to a glistening landscape of emotional tones. The B (“Thoughts Harbouring”) is more of the same, a hypnotizing narcotic haze of pensive electronics. Overall a great tape, but the C12 aspect doesn’t give Borges much room to spread out and let things drift, grow, consume.

Which is why the relative opus-timespan of his Throne Heap C22, Nonexistent, is so deeply appreciated. Housed in an awesome and ominous black-and-grey silkscreened J-card, both Throne Heap sides here display how crushing, powerful, focused, and intense Emaciator is capable of being when all the drone-death tones are exquisitely cross-panned and overdriven and plowed straight into yr skull. The A is probably the stronger of the pair, but the B has a nice decaying, wasted quality that suits the mood of a tape-ending passage. There’s a grip of new TBA Emaciator slayings lined up for the future, so pray things stay inspiringly negative in Tulare, CA.