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Krank / The Grimsel Path - Verdant Hum

Verdant Hum brings together old and new projects for John Murphy, the itinerant Antipodean percussionist and elder statesman of industrial music. Krank's original recordings from 1983 with Roger Doyle (and featuring David Tibet) were reissued in the 1990's by Dark Vinyl as Chaos. This time around for Krank John Murphy is joined by Till Brüggemann (of Gerechtigkeits Liga) for a prime slice of vintage industrial electronics, while as The Grimsel Path he is joined by Jon Evans, another member of the Australian experimental underground of the late 1970s, who like Murphy, featured in the original line-up of Last Dominion Lost.

Krank's contribution to this tape is confined to 'NAOS Number 1', an elongated collage of horror styled keyboards surrounded by a myriad of effects and percussion. The first half is tense and relatively subdued as tapes are manipulated, sped-up, and shredded over a creeping doomy horror styled cinematic keyboard. There's no percussive backbone to it; instead fragments of percussion are played to heighten the atmosphere, as tapes spin out of control, punctuated by rustling and shattering effects. Despite its apparent disjointedness the gloomy gothic keyboards which runs throughout this would act as a wonderful soundtrack to the ritual John Murphy is set to provide for Nikolas Schreck in Dresden later this month.

A rustling of a Tibetan bowl seems to mark the beginning of the second half of this which is more powerful as it flits from silence to percussive interplay with intermittent harsher bursts. The electronics here exude a primal drone, which later transforms into a growling animalistic hum.

Side B is given over to The Grimsel Path, a new project of John Murphy and Jon Evans who have taken their name from a track from Last Dominion Lost's album The Tyranny of Distance. Recorded in Berlin in 2012, it does share an affinity with the sounds of Krank but here stretched over 6 tracks they're played out in a more coherent manner. The recordings are taken from The Grimsel Path's live performance from the Foetus Frolics Festival, Berlin in July 2012. The set ranges from the ritual industrial of 'Deviation' to the explosive 'End of Transmission'. Each track, however, is infused with varied harsh noise elements. Whirring tape spins and the clatter of careering outbursts of noise are played over the lolling ritual industrial rhythm of 'Deviation'. Fragments of disembodied voices are carried faintly over the industrial hiss and machine rumbles of 'Scorched Earth', while the undulating drones of the more contemplative 'Sideshow Of The Soul' are forged with bleakly psychedelic washes of noise. It's when The Grimsel Path turn their hand to industrial electronics things really hot up. The tape splurge of 'Hair Soap Candles' is sucked-up into shifting layers of electronic drones, noise textures and ringing modular synths; while 'Run Please Master' wrestles with chugging distorted rumbles and rhythmic metal clanging before dropping in some gloomy synth chords and wayward analogue bleeps. There's a sense of restraint about The Grimsel Path's performance; for much of it they seem to be reining things in. On the closing 'End of Transmission' where ricocheting elements lead into harsher realms of spliced electronics things move up a gear. As analogue electronics begin to pulse against a backdrop of noise shudders it moves into harsher realms as it swings between bursts of noise and rhythmic clatter.

On the evidence of this both projects are excavating their industrial roots. Verdant Hum is released as a pro-duplicated tape - with an individual download code - in an edition of 100 copies, but I suspect someone somewhere, sometime will turn this into a CD release. In the meantime those predisposed to early industrial experimental electronics will wish to pick up this cassette to sit alongside their dusty collection of Krang Music, Kaang, Krang, Rkang tapes. It's well worth it. For more information go to The Epicurean