Fossils / Darksmith Million Year Spree (Kye Records) LP
This recent split from Graham Lambkin's Kye label brings together two of the more interesting dark-weird-noise projects of recent times onto one platter of found sound scrape and drone. With literally dozens of releases under its belt, Hamilton, Ontario's Fossils specialize in a handmade abstract noise that creeps and crawls its way into the listening space like a viral contamination. I'm thinking very early Sandoz Lab Technicians gone trash ambient or the Shadow Ring at their most minimal; but where both those ensembles are more concerned with structure vs. anti-structure, Fossils is all about jagged textures and surging post-industrial landscapes, or perhaps more accurately, pre-human landscapes.
The source of all these strange sounds is questionable at best, but that's part of the fun. Wind blows and distortion crackles throughout "Wider Knowledge of Man I-III" as post-industrial rhythms clank and groan beneath a surging tone that sounds like some sort of archaic engine revving to infinity. Things get more sinister with the subterranean excavations of "Snared On Broadway," which opens as a piercing high pitched whine that slowly dissipates to an inevitable drone death. It's the best thing found here, though too short. Graham Lambkin mixed both tracks, and his fingerprints are evident to anyone who's spent some time with his work with Jason Lescalleet or his recent solo outings.
The Darksmith side is a good bit subdued compared to the excellent Total Vacuum, which dropped on Hanson last year, but this isn't necessarily a bad thing. Its tense sheen of low murmurs and metallic scree invokes the quieter side of The New Blockaders one moment, the ambient bass hums of an interstellar trash compactor nestled away in the deepest reaches of space the next. It's less intense than what I've come to expect from Tom Darksmith but no less dramatic and requires maximum volume for proper sonic submersion. Mastered by Jason Lescalleet and highly recommended for fans of the rougher side of electro-acoustic sound art.