Sergey Pakhomov – Self-Release

On Self-Release Sergey Pakhomov keeps on abusing his poor vinyl player, unless he’s bought a new one. Unlike his previous release, Plastic Session, this time around the special plastic disc has been dispensed with. Instead, the main sound source is the vinyl needle meeting a “hard damaged vinyl plate”, run through the 5-band equalizer used last time, as well as another new addition: a hand-made 6-band equalizer. With this setup, Mr. Pakhomov has created two walls, both slightly longer than 45 minutes. And yes, they were recorded unto audio cassette before being reluctantly digitized and published online.

The first one, characteristically titled “Untitled 1”, is a crackling, almost-glitchy, restrained and bass dominated harsh noise wall. Genre buffs might prefer a term like ANW, but we’re not splitting hairs. There is certainly an edge to this stuff, choked and muted as it may be. Muffled, and completely free of additional distortion or synthetic noises, “Untitled 1” still has a sort of uncanny power. The nature of the sound source also produces shifts and changes, and though they are never dramatic, they still contribute a certain organic substance.

An interesting fact is that you can change your perception of “Untitled 1” by visualizing it differently. If you think hard about the needle of your vinyl player being uncomfortably stuck somewhere it’s not supposed to be, being damaged and worn down for no reason, the sound is rather flat and mundane – the source reveals itself clearly. Switch mode to instead analyze and listen to the track as a HNW track, consciously ignoring the source. Then it acquires a whole other dimension, and when comparing it to more massive, digital or pedal based work you find a living fundament of natural noises that is truly inspiring.

Moving on to the second track, “Untitled 2”, the equalizers have been manipulated to produce a slightly harsher barricade of discord. While the actual turntable remains the same, and nothing gets all too crazy, there’s still an additional intensity here. The mental exercise described above does not work as well here; while it is still possible to understand that this is based on a beat up vinyl player doing something it’s not supposed to, the sound is far more intentional. This is a rather interesting consequence of simply turning a nob or eleven in just the right way. The occasional, very brief, break also shakes things up a bit.

Self-Release is yet another self-released release that marks Sergey Pakhamov as one of the more interesting Russian experimental non-musicians, and one of the best Harsh Noise Wall artists, active today. While unlikely, it would be spectacular if the scene could grow just a little bit more, so that stuff like this could have proper physical releases of at least a hundred copies or so. Until then, you’re just going to have to make do with paying what you want.

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