[18 April 2006]
Holy shit! Two 20-something Norwegians wrestle with chaos, sculpting towering masses of guitar-bleeding frenzy and riddling it with ultra-rapid, all-toms-at-once, drum-puncturing frenzy. Bridging the gap between monster metal, industrial noise, and free-jazz, these nine cuts are all improvised dialogues, meshing Anders Hana’s incendiary guitar experimentation with Morten J. Olsen’s drumming and Supercollider3 programming. The Supercollider3 is a Linux-based software that generates music from mathematical algorithms, and these computer sounds emerging out of very occasional quiet intervals between assaults provide lightness and humor.
You’ll have to bring your own narrative to this music, because Hana and Olsen aren’t handing out any clues. All cuts are named with a letter-number combination—“A2”, “B1”, “C4” and so forth—and when played alphabetically, there seems no obvious relation between like-named cuts. (That is, “B1” is no more like “B2” than “C4”.) There’s an extraordinary range of sounds here—things that sound like chains rolling and coins falling and machines pounding—all created from guitar and drums.
Some of the cuts, such as the opener “A2”, build a fair amount of white space between their clattering, shattering blasts of sound, allowing a child-like computer melody to emerge from the cracks between altered guitar and furious percussive response. Others, like “B1”, are continuous, fractured onslaughts of rapid-fire sound, ruptured by discord and splintered into nanoseconds by impossibly fast drumming. There’s a metallic grandeur lurking in the churn of “C7”, slow distorted low notes with irregular bursts of drumming dancing atop and around them. A siren-like vibration flashes through the murk, emerging and disappearing from the gloom. “B2” grows out of a swarm of bowed vibration, eerie moans of guitar, and squeaky hinge sounds.
Hana and Olsen are the youngest members of Norway’s N-Collective, a group of like-minded improvisers whose projects include Supersilent and the Scorch Trio. Hana has played with Jaga Jazzist and Noxagt, as well. This initial Moha! CD is the sound of two men testing the limits of what we think of as music, communicating as hard as it is possible to communicate, eschewing ordinary things like time signatures, keys, melodies, or repeated motifs in an effort to get at some sort of primal truth. It’s difficult and it’s probably not for everyone, but there’s an intensity here that you don’t hear in most music, improvised or otherwise.