VARMINT "s/t" c30 (Undone Nun)

Thereís a new current of trans and queer acts working with Power Electronics that I think are producing some of the most exciting new material in the noise scene. The clichÈs and tropes of PE seem perfectly suited for exorcising this sort of alienation and rage. Varmint, the Industrial/Power Electronics extension of the Western Mass harsh noise project Feedback Queen, is certainly among them.

Pretty much still a new kid in the scene, Alexandria has already churned out an impressive catalog as Feedback Queen (the final tape Unfiltered is well worth tracking down). And now as Varmint, is shifting from scrap heap collage to a more cohesive rhythmic and vocal oriented style.

The tape has, I think, four tracks. One expansive, throbbing, dirge filling side A and three shorter bursts on side B. The tape opens with a symphonic sample I donít recognize and shifts to a pulsing rhythm of white noise and incomprehensibly mangled vocals. The second half puts the vocals further up front, but no less distorted. The music is controlled feedback and mangled (Iím guessing) synthesizer. Could be well rehearsed pedal loops. I havenít seen either project live, so I canít say for certain was is used. And thatís just fine. The tape is heavy, sonically and emotionally. Iím glad to see this music being reclaimed from bro-core edge lords.

The insert includes lyrics and other info, but presents it all in an obtuse manner that requires the listener sit with both the art and music to understand what is happening. All together, there is a strong sense of intention in the art and music. Being the first release from a new project on a new label, that sets the bar high.

-- Michael Barrett