The latest tape from Baltimore noise/electronic/experimental veteran Newagehillbilly is a terrifying twenty minute tapestry of textures formed from mangled and magnified chunks of distorted tape vore, cybernetic infections, haunted static, and blown-out, brain-juicing feedback, forming the Four Horsemen of the Amulet Apocalypse. While assuredly harsh, Amulet is less concerned with alienating listeners with sheer volume and pitch and more interested in crafting a horrific, yet engrossing atmosphere via dynamic composition: Amulet is never ‘quiet’, but it’s not afraid to become ‘quieter’ to manipulate the listeners into slowly and unwittingly dropping their guard in order to enhance the impact of its most powerful and cacophonous outbursts, and there’s a great amount of push-and-pull among its elements, behaving much like a demon attempting to escape a cursed object by means of various different tactics, efficiently testing formulated ratios of auditory violence until the seal relents at the perfect one and the fiend is free to wreak havoc in the open. By the end of “Amuleto”, the goal appears to have been achieved, as the first and only words of the tape are heard, then swiftly washed over and swallowed up by evil before the world fades to oblivion.
As daunting as that all may sound, Amulet is versatile, evocative, immersive, and again, by genre standards, palatable. If harsh noise is not something you’re accustomed to, you could pick worse places to start, and if it is, there’s plenty here to sink into and appreciate.
Favorite track: Release should be experienced as one whole piece