- L.I.E.S. and Shane English compile cutting-edge DIY noise from the States.
- L.I.E.S. has been documenting the freaky outer limits of electronic music for nearly a decade. This makes Eminent Domain, a 22-track exploration of "subterranean American electronics" curated by the musician Shane English, feel at home in the label's massive catalog. Cuts such as Nick Klein's "Microscopic Cop" and Enrique's "In The Summer Of 2015" unload rowdy bursts of technoise, while JT Whitfield's "Bleak Speak" and ARIISK's "Ominous Playback Transmission" descend into the kind of hellish industrial murk that has thrived in recent years.
These are just two flavors featured in this diverse compilation. Eminent Domain also contains unearthly dark ambient (Lussuria's "The Swan King"), robotic scum rock (HOGG's "Improvement") and gurgling sci-fi psychedelia (Brett Naucke's "Void Collection"). But there are meaningful connections amid this sonic chaos. Littered across the discographies of many of the musicians here is the same cluster of small, DIY cassette and vinyl labels: Nostilevo, SCRAPES, Nihilist, Unknown Precept and Difficult Interactions, among others. These artists, while spread across the United States, often intersect with each other.
Even more revealing is English's programming. The music, while wonderfully anarchic, tells a deeper story about a philosophy these artists share. They all adhere to a bohemian ethos that champions outsider weirdness and subversive attitudes. It's a current that's been around for some time, winding its way through the American underground since the mid-'70s. It lurked at the fringes of punk, industrial and noise rock. Now it also lurks in the noise scene and, most recently, the ongoing boom in DIY electronics that Eminent Domain chronicles.
You will hear this tradition on track after track. The throat-tearing ferocity of HOGG's "Improvement" and CBN's "Who Has Time for Tears" descend from noise rock bands such as Scratch Acid and Drunk With Guns. The rickety loops and stuttering reverb of The New Me's "Les Dix Doigts" echo the electroacoustic oddballs covered in the Bananafish zine in the '90s. The echo-slathered cries and torturous grind driving Pod Blotz's "Beyond The Body" draws links to Michigan's brutal early '00s experimental scene. Champagne Mirrors' "Tunnel" is reminiscent of the early '80s Bay Area underground, when bands such as Chrome and Tuxedomoon made bizarre blends of industrial, psychedelia and punk.
Though several artists here (including Daniel Holt, The New Me and CBN) have emerged only in the last couple of years, more are like Filth, acts that have been plugging away for close to a decade. (In some instances, like the multimedia artist Suzy Poling and her Pod Blotz project, it's been nearly two.) In an era obsessed with cultural novelty—that is, the amplification and branding of the newest artists and trends—English and L.I.E.S. have given a bigger platform to accomplished underground artists who forever roam the underreported fringes. That's vital curation.
01. Christian Mirande - Looks Over the Edge Then Back Then Over Again
02. Prisons - Tell Lie Visions
03. JT Whitfield - Bleak Speak
04. The New Me - Les Dix Doigts
05. CBN - Who Has Time for Tears
06. Filth - The Crucial Point
07. Daniel Holt - Near The Window
08. Brett Naucke - Void Collection
09. Beau Wanzer - Don't Eat The Ground
10. Halflings - Strength In Numbers
11. HOGG - Improvment
12. Pod Blotz - Beyond The Body
13. Nick Klein - Microscopic Cop
14. 51717 - אדגמה
15. Champagne Mirrors - Tunnel
16. Enrique - In The Summer Of 2015
17. Skander - Running Into Danger
18. Copley Medal - Facing Words Of Thanks
19. ARIISK - Ominous Playback Transmission
20. Lussuria - The Swan King
21. Corporate Park - Benevolent Survelliance (7-inch Bonus)
22. S.English - Fade Out (7-Inch Bonus)