Nahàsh Atrym Productions is a small noise label that has been around since 2012. They have a rather sizable back catalog of physical releases, generally hand made and rather limited edition-wise. One of the more remarkable items they peddle is the book HNW, published together with the Vomir/Black Matter Phantasm release Seclusion Room. The book illustrates very well what pure strain HNW is about, and there is little more to say about that.
Besides the limited, peculiar and interesting items, many of which can be recommended, the label also has an active Bandcamp presence. Among the merchandise and downloads of their regular releases, there are also many pay-what-you-please pure downloads to be found here. Not all of these recordings are super impressive, but there is a certain focus, and a very real sense of quality control and aesthetic feeling rests over the whole affair. It is French, after all.
The latest such budget friendly piece of music is a slab of noise wall, clocking in at just under 40 minutes. Les Rumeurs Endocrines is a project about which this reviewer has never heard a word, and which google also passes by with absolute silence. The man behind it is Szymkowiak Joseph of Black Matter Phantasm, who also happens to run Nahàsh Atrym. Malaise de civilisation is a quite constant noise wall, which distinguishes itself from many of its peers by having a clear melodic, or at least tonal, core. One uninterrupted note, presumably generated through feedback (perhaps a synthesizer, but our guess would be not), stays submerged in an almost as constant wall of fuzz and rather calm noise. The style sits rather comfortably on the fence between HNW and ambient, but leaning over towards the former.
Immediately upon listening, there is a sense of different overtones, and some almost rhythmic fluctuations in the sound. You almost wait for something to happen – an outburst of some kind.Interestingly, these impressions aren’t really accurate when you concentrate further, or try to skip ahead in the track. The noise wall is in fact far less dynamic than the first impression makes you think. Many of the undulations of sound are extremely repetitive, some perhaps existing just in your head, yet the track manages to convey a feeling of movement and ongoing change.
Much like optical illusions that trick the brain into perceiving motion, Malaise de civilisation tricks the listener. This is a common feature of HNW, but one that is usually accomplished through sheer audio overload and monotony. Here there’s something else going on, voluntary or not, we don’t know. There are some minor shifts towards the end which are more objectively detectable, but they are limited in scope. Pretty cool stuff.
Malaise de civilisation won’t redefine HNW or ANW, but it is certainly nice to listen to. Perhaps while staring yourself silly on a couple of optical illusions.