Noise. Noise. Noise. Scratching, wrapping, clicking, breathing all around. Maybe it’s the sound of some heavily processed field recording. Maybe it’s the sound of hell, or maybe it was recorded inside some distant alien factory on some far-off planet on the other side of the universe. Whatever one’s interpretation of the music, Zalheitlz and Proud/Father‘s split tape is characterized by its chaotic, droning atmosphere and complete disregard for accessibility.
Zalheitlz launches the tape with two sprawling harsh noise works. The first, the cryptically titled track “Nadir, La Source,” is pure sonic disturbance. This unrelenting machine roar contains no sense of rhythm, nor is there any sense that the work was designed to be listened to by human ears. The effect: an unnerving, chaotic listen that does not feel in any way human. The side continues with “Sacre,” which somehow manages to feel even less musical. The work is, in essence, more machine roar, but where one might be able to detect a hint of emotion in Nadir, La Source, one will find none here.
If Zalheitlz’s side is the night, Proud/Father’s side is the day. If Zalheitlz’s side is hell, Proud/Father’s is heaven; and “I. 憎しみからさらに爆発” is the sound of limbo. A glitchy, slightly distorted but calming synthesizer slowly warms the listener into a relaxed mood, and before long the first sign of humanity appears – fragmented field recordings of Earth fading in and out. Voices, church bells, water – a sound of pure calm but unfortunately, with a sinister edge underneath, a feeling that can’t last. Sure enough, by flawless transitions the listener is thrown back into chaos like a bad dream. Through further creative use of field recordings, Proud/Father’s works have a unique ambiance that manages to feel fluid and lush despite being distinctly lo-fi. On the beautiful final track, 憎しみからさらに爆発, the listener is eased back into that aforementioned calming high. An ominous drum appears, growing louder and louder and then, a sudden end to the album. Nothing lasts for ever.
By this point, one may begin to wonder about the meaning of this artistic statement. Practically all the tracks have curious names; therefore one can assume they reflect some deeper, hidden meaning. Perhaps Zalheitlz’s droning machines represent all the hatred in the world, or perhaps they simply represent a nightmare. In the same way, perhaps Proud/Father’s wide vistas of sound symbolize the same. Yet one can enjoy this work of epic sonic disturbance for what it is – an experience. While the album is disturbing, it’s not unpleasant. Sound itself is a disturbance of the senses, whether it’s birdsong in the morning, a train trundling past or a baby screaming in the night, and Zalheitlz and Proud/Father’s split is a most satisfying aural disruption. (Adam Hutchinson)