CD Review

V/A – “Tonal Destruction Vol. 2”

By DJ Rivithead

Tonal Destruction Vol. 2Not only is the packaging impressive, but the lineup of artists is equally as impressive. DTA Records has gone all out on this one and should most definitely give themselves a pat on the back for this stellar release. Boasting acts from well known labels such as Adnoiseam, M-Tronic, Underground Inc, Hands Productions, Frozen Empire Media and Hive Records. All the heavy hitters on three discs. Explorations in sound would best describe this outing veering from sonic abrasion to danceable…this compilation has it all.

Starting off disc one is Pneumatic Detach with Domination heavy on the power electronics this one starts things off right. You're traditional abrasive beat laden power electro is in full swing veering from heavy glitch to romping bass drones and experimental overtones. The right way to get things started. Next up is C.H. District with Pressing. Creeping in with what I can only describe as psyglitch with d’n’b overtones. Mellow in composition and complete with stutter edits and noise tweaks. Doesn't do a whole lot for me as it is rather repetitive.

CTRler with Ztnezarper is track three and the intro just plain rocks. You know within five seconds that this one is going to blast you right out of your seat. Fast break beats get the floor romping. Fast paced material sure to keep your adrenaline in check and in high octane mode. Lots of action in this one. Detritus – Grace comes in with a trip hop element and is a nice way to break up the chaos proceeding it. The composition fuses trip hop elements with power electronics creating a unique and palatable dish of fresh sound. I rather find this approach done well and blending superbly. Bass abrasion and melody collide into one of the better tracks found thus far.

Larvae – Blunt Force Trauma: Dubwise music is always refreshing and is in full swing here. Larvae keeps the beats flowing and offers some glitchy dub-infused electro. Yet another delightful track found on a stellar contribution to music history. The beat is phat and funky with slight abrasive fills adding an avant-garde sensibility. This track would easily contend as a cross genre piece suitable for many subcultures.

Scrapedx – Multioscillator creeps in at track six continuing the stutter glitch vibe at this point. Electro stabs fused with fast break elements and a dash of industrial percussion entering the arena on this one. Keeping the beat pounding. Exclipsect – Off Track blasts its way into the full on power electronics portion of the disc. Hard and heavy four on the floor blending with psy elements and total chaos. The most abrasive track up to this point. Those that like uneasy listening material will find this one a treat for pissing off your neighbors!

Proyecto Mirage’s Negative Heaven is another dubwise track, but rather bland in composition. Not a whole lot to report on this one: rather repetitive and sounds like a lot of electronically created bugs chirping away on some astral plain in outer space. Maybe that's what they were going for, similar to some Dissecting Table material. Hypnoskull – Random Critical: a well known name in the power electronics world, Hypnoskull comes crashing in with beat heavy bass & drum chaos. Tribal elements can be found. Keeping the flow going, Hypnoskull cuts it up right on this one. Lament Configuration is a name I've heard a lot in music circles. While I have never been a big fan of power noise music, a lot of people consider this band one of the heavy hitters in the scene. Heavy bass drones collide with what could be described as an electrical wire flying around shooting sparks all over the place then meshed with some world music elements. Quite avant-garde material for sure. Not my cup of motor oil but those searching for abrasion will find it on this track.

Cdatakill – La Sinastra makes track eleven of the disc and slides into a fast break glitch track. Washes of jazz elements mixed with dub. A mash of off rhythm material that I don't find very creative at this point, merely something that's all over the place with no guidance. Probably the worst track up to this point. Mlada Fronta with Ax. A name known to many these days, this outfit has been around for a long time. Not one of their best tracks though, rather plain and unimaginative. Nothing exciting to report, but it still would work wonders as background music in a film perhaps.

I:Gor’s Deathwish really blasts into your face. Hip hop gone crazy, this track is an incredible display of cut beats, mad scratching and profound chaos. I love this one. Very unique and a style I've only heard this band try out. Defragmentation – Phetal3i2-984: What’s with all the numerology in song titles in these genres? Mathematical equations in music or am I missing something? What a strange track. Bass blasts from hell and the volume goes way down as this one hurts my ears. Like I said, noise music is not my forte. If you like music that's hard to listen to here's your track. A mass of sounds jammed into a nuclear blender of sound.

Chaos As Shelter/Igor Krutogolov with Tengri starts off disc two with a creepy melancholy intro. Nice lead into disc two. Next up is Cell Auto Mata and Le Ceil Ouvert which scrapes it's way into the second disc with stutter blitch madness. Nothing too impressive here…some scraping elements meshed with some samples and ambient textures from time to time. Conscientia Peccati – Ritual VI: Transition gracefully enters the playing field with a slow contribution. Would suit well as mood music. Somewhat minimal in composition, but leaves you with a nice feeling inside. Strike up the aroma therapy incense and you're good to go.

Deadlink beams themselves on deck in another PsyTech offering with Dream State. Disc two up to this point seems more on the spacey side of the spectrum. Dream State sort of steps up the tempo from previous tracks. A smoothly executed track keeping the mood mellow and somewhat serene. Emulsion is no stranger to me as owner of Empire Media. We always try to put out at least two various artist compilation each year and our last outing, Bound By Darkness, features Emulsion – a talented young man who creates lavish electronic music. Ilnis Emulsion is a very slow track which drones and chirps.

Gacky’s Mektis comes in with beautiful string sounds, a rather nice change of tones at this point. A lavish melody with a bit of dark emotion that quickly becomes a composition of madness as if the world is coming to an end in a movie. An interesting use of genres crossing over to a wide use of foundations. One of the better tracks on disc two. Dither – d63 is up next…power jazz? This is an interesting track. I'm rather getting into these bands that combine these forces so intelligently, creating a unique flavor among the experimental crowd. You'll even find some distorted hip hop elements at work here.

Metanemfrost’s Ethereal can almost be described as the title, but there's more at work here. Ethereal tapestries collide in a world chosen for death. A mix of ritualistic bass drum meshed with power noise elements Nihil Est Excellence’s Corpuscular is power electronics for sure. Drones and plenty of intense variations in sound. Another track best left for movie background music or a night of heavy heroine use. Darkwave meets dubwise in LAN Formatique’s Blind Hand. A nice flow, the composition is steady and right on track with a sensibility of timing changes and beat mapping.

Wilt – The Room Reforming: As I pull the blade from my wrist and watch the blood trickle down my arm I'm left with one thought…is this the type of song I want playing at the moment I enter the next realm. When Encomiast starts with Fledgling I've entered the next realm and found myself in hell. And here I thought I was saved? I awake right back on Earth on a dismal plateau of fire and lava only to find I'm stuck on a rock with nothing for miles. My clothes and skin begin to melt from my body.

Magwheels –Stormiest: Once again I awake and find myself with the knife at my wrist. Angels surround me and tell me all you need to do is turn the CD off. With that I do and a whole new perspective comes to pass I am whole once again. I found disc two more for those who like to sit in a pitch black room by themselves staring a candle’s flame until it goes out. But there’s a disc three…

First, Griefer with Ripper. A gangster starts it off with a nice piano intro, a bit melancholy but a nice way to lead you into the abyss. Exceptional horror movie background music. Aural Blasphemy (featuring Leech of NTT) and The Dirt Behind The Daydream. Powerful drone warfare ensues on this track This is Noise 101 and class has just begun. Those seeking abrasion and uneasy listening material will be quite pleased. Norm - Richtmaschine 2: Pure subterranean soundscape madness with harsh industrial overtones. This one also creates nightmarish images in your mind, a reminder of what war may sound like through the eyes of a noise musician. The sounds of bombs screaming through the air, the gun blasts of mortar launchers – the only thing you lack is the screams of those blown to pieces laying in agony.

Duuster – Node Step: What could one write on this track? Boring and unimaginative. Even for experimental music I find nothing to grasp onto in terms of a formula. Just a mash of sounds and keyboard layers. Combat Astronomy’s Sulpher is another track lacking anything exclusive or imaginative. Some wacky bass lines, a little bit of screaming and some off time beats. Nothing new to report here. By this part of the disc I'm trying to find things to say, but after disc 2 all I can think about is suicide.

Conure’s Pachyderm is pure chaos. Most definitely would work well as movie background music or something scary as hell to play on Halloween. Very creepy and easily creates horrific images. G-Nex’s – Ventre Part IV on the other hand…no images in my mind here. Navicon Torture Technologies – Mvtatis Mvtandis: I hope the track is better than the name of the track? In a land of darkness an eerie presence makes itself known. The ghosts of days past flood the land of uneasy spirits. The smell of death and decay and ghosts of war in the midst of a nuclear holocaust.

Now Stelladrine’s Condition Zebra Alert. The terrain is uncertain. The planet was a wasteland of infinite proportions. Beings of unexplainable abominations have invaded to destroy the populace of a diseased world. Mago’s Today Is A Good Day changes the pace of previous tracks. Mago comes in with some ambient goodness on Today Is A Good Day. Chill out with a dose of experimental textures to create a delightful change of pace. Nicely done with a very melodic sensibility. M Slagle’s Isogon is a dark ambient brew in a cup of electronic ale. A slow yet melodic piece with abrasive textures added for zest. Perfect for background music. A Tad short but well orchestrated.

Know – Decimals. Another track with no real direction other than the obvious background music this CD seems to embrace. Jcekyll & Hide by Uniform and Situations and Cordell Klier’s Stillness finish up the disc with the same ingredients found throughout as a whole. In my opinion all the big names of the industry are here with some new additions adding to the content. My favorite is disc one and it just seems to sink deeper and deeper into pandemonium as the disc progresses. I think a more well thought layout would have been better so there's not so much of the same vibe for nearly two discs long.

I think it would have been better to breakup the madness with some beat driven material found mostly on disc one. That's not to say the avid fan of this music wouldn't enjoy it, but for me I wanted to put a gun to my head between discs two and three. Lots of music found here would work wonders in a movie background sense, but for listening enjoyment I find it not something I could handle for too long, but disc one I enjoyed a lot.

The big names are here and hats off to DTA for putting together a brilliant package design concept, but I have to wonder why the bands like Mlada Fronta wouldn’t give DTA better material to use. In any case anyone seeking avant-garde material for their collection should be quite pleased with not only the packaging, but the content included.

Contact Information:
DTA Records
Post: 108 Rogers Ave., Greenville, SC, 29617, USA
Phone: (864) 979-4101