The Weight of Tension


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Custodian - The Weight of Tension
This is what I have been waiting for. Jon has taken his well-established “smashed wall of harsh noise” approach and has applied the kill switch. The adjudicator. The nullifier. Sometimes it provides simple cuts between one assault and the next, other times it actively carves rhythmic structure into an existing wall. In all cases it provides a glaring contrast to the raging blow-out…thereby making the harsh harsher and its absence richer and deeper. The importance of this cannot be overstated. In recent live performances, Jon has used the kill switch in a more hostile, maniacal fashion. Walls of noise were not only broken, but upended and shattered. The result reminds me of the moment where, after throwing dozens of shards of glass in the air, each piece of debris reaches its apex and seemingly hovers for a split second. It is a moment of beauty, made all the more so by the knowledge that it will immediately be succeeded with pain. For the release at hand, the approach is much more restrained and the kill switch serves the more function-based purposes described above. It is just one tool among many. The digital delay adds robotic texture to some portions and allows for the death industrial looping of others…the latter recalling the quasi-rhythmic efforts of a swinging wrecking ball and the non-musical cycling of Grunt. Full-spectrum destruction is frequently achieved as searing highs scrape and scar the roiling, rupturing lows. Subtler tones emerge, speak their peace, and recede. The recording is crisper, cleaner, and fuller than a couple of the other more recent Custodian releases, and this really enhances the depth of nuance. My favorite moment of the tape falls about two thirds of the way into the first side. It only lasts a couple seconds, but an exceedingly harsh tone is suddenly seized and squelched. Not to a point of silence, but rather to a state of gasping unease. It sounds like he has physically taken the tone by its throat and pushed his thumbs deep into the trachea. The tone explodes upon release, huffing and hacking. It serves as a clear reminder that the seemingly unbridled chaos is far from autonomous. The proceedings are subject to a controller, and he will cleanse, soil, animate, and kill as he sees fit.
-The Third Of The Storms


released October 1, 2010

Jon Engman - Electronics
Phage Tapes 126
Limited to 120 cassette copies
sold out/out of print



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