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Split (Azoikum/Lefthandeddecision) (1999): Adjust Your Tracking

Azoikum/Lefthandeddecision, Split (Live Bait Recording Foundation, 1999)
[originally posted 22Mar2000]

photo credit:

I knew when I saw this one in the vault I needed to get it up ASAP…

The latest release from Cleveland’s Live Bait label brings together two guys who do what they do very, very well—Stefan Widmann (Azoikum), head of the Verbrannte Erde label, and Phil Blank (Lefthandeddecision), head of the Troniks label. Each gets a little over thirty minutes of airtime to introduce the world to their respective naughty bits.

Azoikum comes first, having divided his time into six pieces that cannot, in good conscience, be called noise. Azoikum is very solidly in the realm of dark ambient, and it’s not too far a logical leap to imagine Azoikum doing movie soundtracks later in life a la Graeme Revell. These six pieces, seemingly intended as ritual/magical music, provide a solid background of synthesizer drone (read: more melodic than one normally finds in recordings of this type) that’s almost soothing, and enough going on in the background to make the tracks interesting and worthwhile. Very nice material here, whether you’re meditating, casting spells, trying to overthrow the earth, or having it as background music at work. Highly recommended material, this.

Then you get to the other side of the disc. Lefthandeddecision is going to try and melt your eardrums. It starts off calmly enough, more static in the mix than Azoikum, and less melody. Okay, got that darkambient/noise crossover feel to it. You continue on with what you were doing, and this one half-hour track creeps up on you, getting louder and more intense as each minute goes by, until, at the climax of the track, blasting off-key synthesizer explodes in your face. If you haven’t turned the volume down yet, you’re going to start hurting right around this time. (There are also vocals, I should mention, but I’ll be blinkered if I can understand a word– they’re not treated, in the same way Taint or Whitehouse are, but they were obviously recorded at a very high level, and they’re recognizably words, but distorted in such a way that they’re very hard to make out. Gives a sense of understanding it subconsciously, but having your conscious mind block it… very disturbing.)

This is a good one– a very good one. A great intro to dark ambient and noise, and a release that should definitely be in more CD players than it is. **** ½


This is a fanvid for Azoikum’s “Meine ist Die Rache”, for another split of his I have reviewed in the vault somewhere, I think…

About Robert "Goat" Beveridge

Media critic (amateur, semi-pro, and for one brief shining moment in 2000 pro) since 1986. Guy behind noise/powerelectronics band XTerminal (after many small stints in jazz, rock, and metal bands). Known for being tactless but honest.

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