Thursday, September 22, 2016

Controlled Bleeding - “Distress Signals I + II” 2xCD

Early violent noise remasters

A surprise deluxe reissue of the ultra-rare 1984 cassette originally issued on the legendary Broken Flag label, this debut album from NY based Controlled Bleeding includes an extra disc of previously unreleased material that was originally intended to be the Broken Flag release, but somehow the tapes got mixed up and, well, 30 years later we get both albums, remastered and together for the first time.

The initial disc is the Broken Flag album, here titled “Distress Signals I”. With track titles given from Broken Flag owner and Ramleh member Gary Mundy (and favoring his early affinity for Holocaust shock value), this, like the band’s vinyl debut “Knees & Bones” (also rereleased at the same time), is harsh and jagged power electronics / industrial noise. There are moments of reprieve, as with the use of Middle Eastern religious tapes in “The Spitting Cell” or “A Human Invention”, but it's all based around overloaded feedback and unintelligible primal screams. Brutal, uncompromising, and not for unadventurous listeners.

Cd2 is the recently unearthed “Distress Signals II”, a set of 11 never-released harsh noise tracks from the same era, and these follow the same pattern. This is destroyed music, full of primal violence and anything resembling structure or melody. Fans of Controlled Bleeding’s later forays into textural gothic soundtracks or industrial dance should think twice if they can handle this scarring assault on their eardrums. Me? I enjoy, but only in smaller doses. 

A great thing to have this rare material available again after so many years. Here’s my vote for Artoffact to release all the other obscure Controlled Bleeding albums and tapes that have sadly never been reissued, and some that are just plain unavailable. Great, legendary stuff for experimental and noise fans, for certain.

Controlled Bleeding site

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