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05.16.15 HNW; or watching paint dry as an art fo05.12.15 Power Electronics: A guide

HNW; or watching paint dry as an art form.

Harsh noise wall (or HNW) is probably the most maligned of all subgenres of noise (even amongst noise fans); generally due to it's simplicity and homogeneity (both within individual pieces, as well as the genre on the whole). Despite this, HNW is one of the most rewarding of genres at it's best; trance-inducing, migraine-inducing, mind-imploding and self-degrading, HNW has the ability to conjure a wide range of feelings and emotions (from hate, to disgust, to pure bliss).
1The Cherry Point
Night of the Bloody Tapes


HNW is a genre that thrives on a very small range of musical characteristics, mainly relying on texture and subtle changes within otherwise static walls of rumbling noise, leaving very little room for great variation. The Cherry Point, however, do provide a bit of variation with their walls (relatively speaking), not blasting you with something that seemingly doesn't change at all (like Vomir...), making their work, and this work especially, one of the better starting points for those looking to get into HNW, not as alienating as many other works the genre has to offer. Also of note is the shorter length of these walls, averaging around 10 minutes, rather than the half-hour to hour-plus giants that many others offer, making these walls, nice bite-sized introductions to an otherwise inpenetrable genre.
2Vomir and Tanner Garza
Give Up The Ghost


Vomir is probably the most in your face artist in the entire HNW spectrum, making walls that may carry little (almost undetectable) to zero variation in their lengthy run-times (usually 20 minutes plus). This work, with tape-loopster Tanner Garza, is probably his easiest to get into, the subtle tape loops almost entirely masked by Vomir's wall (notably one of his softer walls; almost reminiscent of a waterfall rather than 6 billion buildings collapsing at the same time), but still detectable underneath the low-end rumble of the wall. Again, this wall is reasonably short, the wall eventually becoming background noise to the loops, but as the wall drops out, the realisation of the volume of what you listened to hits, and the sense of invigoration is quite notable (a feeling quite unique to HNW), making this another good starting point for the uninitiated.
3Goat (USA)
Goat's Holy Mountain


Goat offers here a great (if not quite long at 53 minutes) wall with nice amounts of variation without compromising the harshness that the genre is renowned for. For those who listen closely you can occasionally hear the sounds of cord switching as the wall goes on (there's not much post-production when it comes to HNW), giving the wall a human feel. Great for relaxing too (who doesn't love to relax to the sounds of thousands of buildings collapsing at once), although nowhere near as accessible as the two preceding.
4Alo Girl
Gently Before She Dies


Another reasonably easy-listening piece of HNW, this one is about as easy as it gets, reminding one of drives along bumpy roads and lying in bed listening to the rain... Sure it may be aimless, but it's this aimlessness that makes it so easy to drift off to; simulating ambient music. Quite succinct too, with two 15 minute pieces that end just as they begin; 30 minutes disappearing in the blink of an eye.
5Werewolf Jerusalem
Music for Mass Radio


A monster of HNW (not quite Vomir's 5 hour behemoth that is Claustration, although still clocking in at the best part of 2 hours) from WJ, otherwise known as Richard Ramirez. Probably as good as HNW gets for me, with good variation between tracks and probably the ideal HNW track lengths (at 25/30-minutes a piece). Harsh as fuck, but great listening for those into HNW. For those who like harsh noise but not HNW, check out WJ's masterpiece of the genre; God Has Shot Himself, you won't regret it....
6Infirmary
Moira


Sweet HNW, with a nice field recording at the end, the wall dropping out suddenly creating that blissful feeling of release... Thirty minutes long, nice and bassy, lots of low-end for a wall, lots of fun for those who enjoy their HNW. Not the harshest wall, but still nice and crispy.
7The Rita
Sea Wolf Leviathan


Two angry and intense walls from the HNW maestro who puts out good wall after good wall. The Rita's walls are characterised by a lot of texture and great use of subtle variation. Meticulously crafted, these two walls are hateful and loud as all unholy fuck... Both tracks are 30 minutes in length, and the second track, Bleachholler, even features PE/Harsh Noise legend Mania who joins in on the action. Essential for HNW veterans, but probably not worth trying for those new to the genre.
8Vomir
Renonce


Ahh Vomir.... The most reviled of all HNW artists, making walls that don't change at all. Still, Vomir's walls are always heavily textured, and made to destroy your eardrums, and that's why I love them so much. Due to the static nature of his walls, this wall as well as many others, loop perfectly, allowing little to no escape for those who leave their players on repeat. Also of note is Vomir's eccentric live performances where he wears a plastic bag over his head and either stands around or curls up on the ground, whilst the noise blares away... Priceless. Not for the faint of h(ear)t, this makes for prime HNW listening; taking the genre to it's logical conclusion.
9Mo*Te
Life in a Peaceful New World


Dynamic HNW (heh) that demolishes everything in it's path. Relentless, and with a great deal of variation (about as varied as it comes for HNW), this one borders on straight harsh noise, but retains the qualities of HNW, making it a rather accessible listen for those hoping to transition from harsh noise to HNW.
10Dante Augustus Scarlatti
Recylcled HNW


Nice textured wall that feels very droney (not surprising as this guy specialises in that genre), from DAS; who is some kind of weird noise/drone enigma. 59 minutes of thick, crispy wall that, whilst being rather derivative, is probably one of the finer examples of HNW done well.
11Vice Wears Black Hose
Part 4


The Rita + Werewolf Jerusalem = tasty as fuck walls for the whole family to enjoy. Seriously, one of the best noise collaborations going about, and about as good as a collaboration gets for HNW. Loads of texture, a bit of variation, what more could you want from a wall?
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