Elektrostal’s own Sergey Pakhomov has done much to redefine, or at least develop, harsh noise wall in the past few years. With his latest project Stena and its debut release Harshstyle he may have gone too far, at least for the taste of some. At the very least he has, with this release, obviously stepped outside of the strict limits of harsh noise wall – though HNW remains equally obviously the foundation upon which these tracks have been erected.
Put short and sweet, this is raw harsh noise fuzz set to rhythmic hardstyle techno, almost gabber like at times, though somewhat slower. A stomping, thumping bass drum drives the rhythm forward, while a constant buzzing of wall noise and what sounds like obscurely massacred synthesizer forms a sometimes almost-musical structure. The noise is classic Pakhomov, with a slightly wet and dripping tendency accompanying the pure distortion, but when combined with drums and bass in this manner, the sound becomes something quite different.
“Stena 2” is perhaps the harshest, and most hardcore techno like, track. Here the drums hammer away without any mercy what so ever, as bass dominated rumblings of a slightly Sandakovesque type form the wall. If you’re not into rhythm, you may well be convinced by the sweet, low end distortion massacre, and if you’re not into HNW you can probably dance to the beat and be a happy camper anyway. There are several interesting twists and turns on what otherwise keeps to the HNW formula in that it is mostly (though not completely) monotonous. For one thing, the clapping sounds typical for techno are deconstructed in various ways, to the extent that they are but distorted noises in “Stena 3”. “Stena 4”, on the other hand, creates a sense of a wrecked dance club in a mine somewhere, with the slippery wall noise doing something terrible and possibly sexual to any sense of light-hearted Will-to-party that the listener may have.
Whether Harshstyle will create a new genre, remain as an outlier of HNW and strange club music alike, or simply be a very odd release which only true aficionados and connoisseurs will ever appreciate matters not. What matters is that this is 100 proof Pakhomov, and a release you could well afford to spend at least a dollar or two on. Though, as usual, if you don’t want to it’s frickin’ free. What possible excuse could you have not to download it?