Electric Lava (NUTE003)

by Whirling Hall Of Knives

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Originally released as a CD on Nute Records in 2009. Long sold out.


"Electronica of a particularly greasy and grime-flecked hue, Whirling Hall Of Knives' debut release should be the perfect soundtrack to spending the night in a particularly dilapidated Bed and Breakfast room, complete with broken electrics, dim unshaded bulbs, cracks in the ceiling and muggings outside. Formed from a collaboration between Magnetize and The Last Sound at the 2006 Dublin Electronic Arts Festival, Whirling Hall Of Knives' harsh smouldering circuits and eruptions of panicky white noise almost bring to mind the early work of Cabaret Voltaire. There is a profoundly unsettling quality to much of Electric Lava, a sense of gnawing paranoia interspersed with moments of almost euphoric epiphany, as if in the grip of an unshakeable 4am psychosis a growing sense that the door will be kicked in at any second and the world outside will come pouring in."

Rock-A-Rolla, May 2009

"Nute is the new imprint of Irish 7” drone/psych label, Trensmat Records and the quality of music is no less involved and rewarding as its’ patriarchal homestead. My first encounter on this label begins with Whirling Hall of Knives. A soft generator hums in the near distance before the swelling tone evolves and devolves with controlled alteration. The tones shift and shimmer with electric light, feeling like captured transmissions from far off stellar colonies. The sound would fit on the Touch, or Room40 label, focussing on electronic, space and acoustics as artistic foundations. Imagine Oren Ambarchi or Biosphere’s abstract minimal work.

The second piece involves delayed high tones that clink like glass against glass. Pulsating echoes feel like Atmospheres era Eno. These sequences collapse and rebuild with micro-dynamic formations that tingle ones eardrums. Listened to via headphones, or in a large and spacious room at a loud volume, better the experience dramatically. Unlike other electronic minimalists, (think early Autechre), this is music to focus with; to listen intently without the distraction everyday noises.

There is a real Tanpura drone feel as a series of oscillations of slow fade-in/fade-outs overlap and repeat; often with subtle changes in speed, texture or pitch. This gives a respiratory feel, like robot breathing or futuristic bio-electronic engineering. Some tracks are embroiled in coarser depths, finding fuzz and high-frequency radio tunings that appear as emergency sirens. This has a dizzying effect that best not be experienced via narcotics.

The theme of spinning-plates acoustics and structure continues and drifts magically at later stages of the record. Some beautiful topography is brought to mind with the cleanliness of synthetic design. Some more far-out soundscapes are delivered with a dirtier sound that scrapes with distorted vocals and metallic percussion. Human and robot voices entwine in a barbaric tryst.

The track lengths are all relatively short allowing the individual experiments to move in and out of focus without becoming overly laboured megaliths, inducing boredom as so many drone acts do (even the great ones). Much of the sound throughout this record feels like it’s been passed through, refracted and pulverised to make variants from simple singular sine waves. The theme of traffic sound applies to a number of tracks as hooters, sliding metal drones and sirens intertwine or sound-off in the background.

Some “real instrument” sounds issue later in the shaped of guitar and stick percussion. These noises only appear as this, but their fragmented sludge blues at snail-speed is a welcome distraction after the varying tonal movements. Metal scrapings and synths ally to bounding success in a Gas-styled electronic pulse emitter, which decays towards the final breath of this rewarding effort. 7/10"

Foxy Digitalis


released March 6, 2009



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