VA: Ad Noiseam 2001-2006
Ad Noiseam

The mere prospect of a deluxe triple disc (2-CD and DVD) compilation celebrating Ad Noiseam's first five years of existence—especially when its 30 tracks are all new—would probably be enough to start any breakcore fanatic foaming at the mouth. But the German label's 2001-2006 collection proves that provocateurs like Larvae, Enduser, Exillon, and others have a whole lot more to offer than variations on a single genre. The epic set splits its tracks onto a ‘white' disc of relatively laid-back fare and a ‘black' disc where contributors roll out the heavy artillery.

Of course the stylistic separation is nowhere near as simple as all that, as the ‘white' disc alone makes clear. Larvae opens the first disc in a gorgeous cloud of languid shoegaze (“Snowday”) while others (Andrey Kiritchenko, Cordell Klier, Magwheels, Morc) pursue the kind of textured sculpting one might associate with Touch more than Ad Noiseam. It's not all bucolic: Kazumi spreads becalmed murmurs over Enduser's thunderous beatsmithing in “Genesis (remix),” Antigen Shift kicks up bruising hip-hop dust in “No Snow in Melbourne,” and Uniform's “The Correct Way to Destroy a Piano” appears to be a literally descriptive title. Larvae's remix of Dälek's “Forever close my eyes” merges hip-hop incandescence with wistful musings (“My yesterdays don't matter now / They're gone”). Elsewhere, Air Inspector's “Sleepy” pairs delicate ambient atmospheres with hip-hop beats, Exillon's symphonic digi-funk cut “Julipt” drapes silken strings over a writhing base, and Mad E.P. merges classical drama and choral singing with throbbing mayhem in “Grapepopgirl.”

As expected, much of the ‘black' disc's material flails violently like a diseased monstrosity hell-bent on flagellating itself into oblivion. Shadowed by an anguished chorus of ghoulish voices, Cdatakill (Zak Roberts) hosts a tour through Hades in the forebodingly churning “Yesterdays” while a neck-snapping snare marches like a dazed mastodon through the creaking atmospheres of Lapsed & Non Non's “Z Crazy Eyes.” Though Bong-Ra's “Jaws” offers a master class in blistered breakcore, The Panacea's chainsaw synths and blistered breaks (“Mortal Sin”) push the style to a blood-curdling extreme. Limb-severing beats also power tracks by Submerged, Needle Sharing, Detritus, and Tarmvred until Wilt quietly surveys the incinerated ruins left behind by others at disc's close in “Days of Crows 2.”

There's ample variety on the DVD too and the quality's surprisingly high considering Ad Noiseam's independent status. Some videos deploy simple narratives (Mothboy's ‘Gulliver' update “C.S.R.”), while others are impressionistic, animated, and photographic. Standouts include AZ-Rotator's “Genolom (video edit),” which deftly layers old factory footage with kinetically mobile letterform sculptures and 3-D shapes, Wilt's mini-movie “Days of Crows 1,” a symbiotic pairing of haunted ambient sounds with barren landscape imagery, and Larvae's “Solo Shoots First,” a cool mash-up of Kill Bill and Star Wars with the Bride and the Crazy 88s trading swords for light sabers in the epic club battle (the gleefully depraved Bikini Bandits muscle cars-and-guns treatment of Bong-Ra's “Sp66d d6mon (666mph rmx)” would do Tarantino proud too). Not enough? The DVD even includes a complete label discography, plus a gallery of t-shirt designs, ads, and posters. An exhausting collection to be sure but Ad Noiseam 2001-2006 remains as definitive an overview of the label and its range as one could possibly imagine.

October 2006