Monday, 6 December 2010

Sam McKinlay's 'The Politics of HNW'

For those of you who do not know, 'The Politics of HNW' is an article authored by the HN/HNW mastermind Sam McKinlay (The Rita, etc.) and published in the first issue of the noise magazine As Loud As Possible. The title of the article is somewhat misleading as there is little to nothing about the politics or philosophy of HNW considered within. Instead the article focuses on an examination of the artistic aesthetics of the sub-genre with particular emphasis placed on its evolution from harsh noise and interpretations of the its contemporary form. This is achieved via a brief history lesson by McKinlay himself and through some brief but insightful interviews with leading North American HN/HNW composers. At the heart of these is a rather complicated and layered question (not unlike McKinlay's compositions) which each of the interviewees do well to unpack with fruitful answers.

The question posed by McKinlay is this,
'When you work with a static tone, or an unmoving or even swelling/moving textural line of noise, how do you contemplate the spaces and dynamics that lay within the bits and pieces that are concentrated to achieve the so-called white noise? Along with your work with the different movements and breaks in your tracks what, to you, is the driving quality and endearment of the static or crunch that you strive for and appreciate?'

I couldn't resist the temptation to attempt to answer this question myself.

For A View From Nihil I usually focus on the interactions of the heavier, broader and more air-filled low-frequency waves with the lighter, more narrow and less air-filled mid-to-high-frequency waves. I enjoy observing their competition for supremacy and for dominance of the overall sound/object. Often I like to start with one and introduce another gradually and listen how this process plays out. In my opinion, the most interesting aspect of making and listening to HNW is how a strange order emerges from this process. Quite often when a track begins it sounds chaotic or disorderly but after a minute or so the mind begins to perceive a pattern and, depending on the quality of the composition, continues to perceive more patterns as the track progresses. When in the role of composer I find it immensely satisfying to observe a previously non-existent order/pattern come into being within the boundaries of the sound-world which I have set. Like observing the formation of a universe in microcosm. A similar process can be observed in tonal drone/ambient music but for me this process is much more interesting and rewarding when observed in a harsh/static based sound because the sound is more dramatic and more abstract and therefore seems more exciting and mysterious. For one thing, often as a listener, and sometimes as a composer, it can sometimes be difficult to tell if a new pattern in the composition is the product of an intervention by the composer, a natural development due to wave interactions or merely a product of the listener's brain in its ceaseless attempt to make sense of the chaos of the world around it. This ambiguity appears more apparent and more profound in HN/HNW than in drone/ambient, perhaps due to differences in the brain's ability to digest different forms of sound. Whatever the reason, I personally find this level of ambiguity between composer, composition and listener infinitely fascinating and I believe it invests the sound with transcendental qualities that other forms of music cannot achieve.

In closing I'd like to suggest some parallels between what I have said here and the answers given by McKinlay's interviewees in his article. They too express an awareness of and appreciation for both the permeable line between composer and composition, and the innate sense of order that will form naturally in a composition when given a decent set of parameters in which to develop by the composer.
'A lot of the reason why most of Skin Crime material is recorded live is that it gives the sounds a lot more freedom to take on a life of their own... Most of the time we don't plan anything out ... things just come together on their own'
- Patrick O'Neil (Skin Crime).

Although O'Neil mainly has the process of recording live in mind here, his contemplation of the relationship between sound, sound-creator and listener is very close to what I have said. The observations of Pat Yankee (Paranoid Time) and Eric Stonefelt (Hum of the Druid), however, are immensely close to my own contemplation of the patterns and order which form within the HNW composition.
'I find that the spaces and dynamics lurking about the crunch pile will often take care of themselves without a lot of pre-planning on my part. I put trust in, and lay responsibility upon, the Process'
- Pat Yankee (Paranoid Time).
'Effective crunch and cracking is suggestive of some sort of organic movement or acoustic presence. Even if the source is entirely electronic ... I'd hope to hear some natural space, or at least some form of soundscape'
- Eric Stonefelt (Hum of the Druid).

As Loud As Possible.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

AVFN - 'Triumph...' Review

A man named Raymond Cummings has writtena a nice review of A View From Nihil - Triumph of the Broken Will, which you can read here. It is a positive review but, more importantly, it is incredibly well written. This makes it a very interesting read because we get a nice glimpse of an HNW outsider actually 'getting' both the transcendent nature of the genre and purpose of the release. Thank you Raymond Cummings.

Friday, 17 September 2010

A View From Nihil on Bandcamp

So, Soundcloud isn't bad but a number of people have noticed that the tracks don't play back too well, furthermore its ugly as fuck with a limit on the number of tracks one can upload.

AVFN is now on Bandcamp which so far seems to be both the best looking music site and the easiest for both artists and fans to interact with. Unfortunately its not currently possible to upload any tracks longer than around thirty minutes but, on the other hand, there doesn't seem to be any limit to the number of albums or tracks one can upload. AVFN is most likely to use Bandcamp over and above Soundcloud or Last in future so keep checking back. Here are some HNW bandcamp sites:

A View From Nihil

Anarcho Freaks Production
Die Reitenden Leichen

Monday, 16 August 2010

A View From Nihil on Last FM

I've decided to upload Order of the HNW Vol. I - A View From Nihil, 'Triumph of the Broken Will' to Last FM. You can listen to the whole album there or download it for free. Tracks uploaded as .mp3 at 320 kbps. Find it here.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Music of the Magnetosphere and Space Weather

Check out these absolutely awe-inspiring recordings by a man named Stephen P McGreevy who records V(ery) L(ow) F(requency) radio signals from solar winds. The wonderful cracks, hisses & pops should arouse the interests of Harsh Noise Wallers/fans of sound static and texture. There are also beautiful tones and drones throughout that should appeal to general noise listeners. The only let down is the brevity of the tracks but at least there are plenty of them. I'm already in the process of making some walls based around these sounds. I couldn't help it, it just touches my soul to hear the mechanics of the universe at work and I think that there is a certain affinity with HNW music in that there is a tremendous sense of order balancing delicately with chaos. That is to say the sounds themselves sound very alien and abstract but they are the sound of the universe at work and hence are part of an almighty order - its just we are too small and insignificant to interpret them, all we can do is observe it in awe. Very humbling.

Here is the man's website. Which explains all.

You can also listen to his music on here, here and here.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010


Interview with yours truly over at musique machine.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Sound Cloud

So a couple of us lot just noticed that you can upload up to two hours of material and use wav files instead of shitey mp3s over at

Which is good cause now there's a few HNW producers up there with some exclusive or out of print tracks - unclipped and uncompressed. Have a listen:

A View From Nihil
Cannibal Ritual
Flesh Coffin

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Troubled Sleep Zine # 1

Excellent Portugeuse noise tape-label Narcolepsia has put together a zine called Troubled Sleep. Its got interviews with VOMIR / FECALOVE / BACULUM / BACHIR GEMAYEL / ORDER OF NINE ANGELS / TRASH RITUAL / MENTAL FUNERAL / TSURISAKI KIYOTAKA - which makes it of high interest to wall fanatics. Send him an email to get yourself a copy:


Check out this blog entry entitled WALL MANIACS ISSUE No. 1. Has some reviews and looks like it might become a serial.

The "wall noise" genre is about getting away from persona in music and embracing the pure properties of sound itself. Whether these artists are coming from a militant standpoint of putting forth aesthetic terrorism or simply enjoying the properties of pure sound, the noise extreme has found an intense focus and purpose in the Harsh Noise Wall(s) style.

Sounds good to me.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Paris HNW Show Cancelled you all know by now, due to the Icelandic volcano all flights into Paris have been cancelled. There was no option but to bin the show. Its a shame.

Monday, 5 April 2010

God speaks

Radio Sun is a website that posts sound recordings of the Sun. It is as close to the voice of God as I can imagine and he seems to speak in a tongue that will appeal to HNW fans in particular. Sol Invictus.

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Vol. I Review

Review on Musique Machine here.

Album of the month. So there you go.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Reviews & Theory etc.

I've noticed that with the few positive HNW reviews that I have seen (see 'HNW Reviews and Opinions' post below for some examples), that many are in what we might call an early stage of excitement; a sort of honeymoon period. These reviews tend to explain to the reader why HNW is a relevent and exciting new genre, highlighting its political aspects and philosophical connotations. In many ways I think this is what tends to draw people into HNW to begin with. Myself included. But I foresee a real watershed in the reception of HNW which will be important for the continued importance of the genre. I think this watershed will hinge on whether or not people can make the leap to analysing the specific aural aesthetics of HNW and begin to articulate where HNW begins and ends as a genre and to begin to identitfy artists based on there idiosyncratic approaches. Without this I would not be surprised if the growing interest in HNW dried-up sooner rather than later as people get bored with their inability to fully develop their understanding of the genre. On the other hand though, maybe HNW is somewhat impervious to such an analysis and that's all there is to it. It is quite possible that HNW is separated from other noise genres because it is fundamentally driven by a philosophical/political message. If this is the case then maybe writers, fans and wallers in general will never be able to articulate that je ne sais quois that separates a good peice from a bad one. I for one still find it difficult to put into words why I prefer one wall over another although I think its important that on Cannibal Ritual's forum ( there have been some posts which attempt to describe what frequencies and wave forms and interactions are appreciated and why. I suppose all genres, musical and otherwise, come to an important stage when they have to tackle the question of evolving without compromising an original aesthetic or philosophical ideal. Maybe we are approaching this in HNW. I know that I often feel the stress of how to make a new and exicting wall without drifting too far from the template. Sometimes I fear HNW will stagnate without developing a sophisticated method of critically analysing/articulating itself. Generally I tend to get bored and go and listen to Black Metal or Oi for a month but I always come back. Bit of a ramble but just some thoughts as they come to me.

Monday, 15 March 2010


... Hank Williams Junior the 3rd, whoever that is, uses practically the same image as an emblem as we do. Prick.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Free A View From Nihil Downloads

AVFN - Hymn of Nihil
This track uses the setup for the 'Triumph of the Broken Will' release. It didn't make it on to the cdr because its not particularly interesting, its just a long, heavy and powerful wall. Emphasis is on sheer power and brute force.

AVFN - Nocturnal Emmissions

I recorded this track a couple months ago. Would like to have released it but sometimes you just can't be arsed. Lots of textural variation/interaction between bass, crackle & blast.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Euro HNW Live in Paris

European HNW live in Paris featuring yours truly and other great acts.

17th of April @ Les Instants Chavires, 7 Rue Richard Lenoir 93100, Montreuil. Tax is 7 Euro, and the show starts early at 8:30pm, sharp!

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Vols I & II photograph

Incase you're wondering what these look like. As indicated in the first post, all volumes will have uniform packaging.

Vol. II - Vomir 'Honour to Bleak Existence'

Et c’est totalement vide
Et c’est totalement vide
Et c’est totalement vide
Lourd et vide et ennuyeux
Comme l’espace où tu es
Comme l’espace où tu es désormais

L’air d’irréalité
L’air d’irréalité est épais ici
Est épais ici
Tu es coincé
Et tu ne peux pas penser
Et tu as oublié comment faire
Et tu ne peux pas
Et tu ne parleras à personne
Et tu as oublié
Et tu veux être seulement confus et seul
Et récure à fond dans ton cœur
Dans ton cœur
Jusqu’à ce qu’il ne reste rien
Ce qu’il ne reste
Et le peu qui reste
Et le peu qui reste
Et le peu qui reste
Ne fait que descendre le tuyau d’écoulement

Le mécontentement du présent
Le manque de satisfaction
Toujours en train de te préparer à le faire
A le faire
Te préparer à le faire
Te préparant à le faire
Mais tu te contentes d’être toujours prêt
Tu te contentes d’être prêt
Alors pense à tirer quelque chose de cette consomption
Qui laisse l’esprit
En éveil
De cette consomption qui laisse l’esprit en éveil
Et le corps dépérir
Dépérir et pourrir
Dépérir et pourrir
L’esprit en éveil
Sans mémoires
Exilé de ta vie
Sans mémoires, exilé de la vie
Tu restes
Tu restes
Tu as même oublié que tu désirais
L’étendue du désert

Et tu ne penses plus à ces jours
Et tu penses de moins en moins
Et ça s’est apostasié
Et tu acceptes l’apostasie
Pour devenir apostat de la totalité
Apostat de la totalité
Et c’est bon
Et vide
Et c’est bon et vide
Et c’est bon et vide
Et immobile
Tranquille et immobile
Sans mémoire
Sans mémoire
Sans volition
Et totalement confiant
Et lucide
Et incroyablement clair
Et serein
Sans volition
Et tu restes
Tu restes là
Et ça ne finit jamais
Et c’est absolument vide
Et toi, et ça

Et toi et tout ça n’êtes même pas là
Et toi aussi
Toi aussi
Tu peux devenir
Un expert
De l’ennui
Tu deviens un expert du repli

Roro perrot (d’après Giorno)

English version

And it's totally empty
And it's totally empty
And it's totally empty
Heavy and empty and boring
As the space where you are
As the space where you are now

The air of unreality
The air of unreality is thick here
Is thick here
You're stuck
And you can not think
And you forgot how to
And you can not
And you do not speak to anyone
And you forgot
And you only want to be confused and alone
And scour deep into your heart
In your heart
Until nothing remains
What remains
And the little that remains
And the little that remains
And the little that remains
Only down the drain

The discontent of this
Lack of satisfaction
Always being prepared to do
To do
Getting ready to do
Only preparing to do
Just happy to be always ready
Just glad to be just ready
So do think to make something of this consumption
Who let the spirit
This consumption that leaves the mind alert
And the body wither
Wither and rot
Wither and rot
Always alert
Without memory
Exiled from your life
Without memory, life in exile
You stay
You stay

You have even forgotten that you wanted
The extent of the desert

And you no longer think of these days
And you think less and less
And it has apostatized
And you accept apostasy
To become an apostate of all
Apostate of all
And it's good
And empty
And it's good and empty
And it's good and empty
And still
Quiet and motionless
Without memory
Without memory
Without volition
And totally confident
And lucid
And incredibly clear
And serene
Without volition
And you stay
You sit there
And it never ends
And it is absolutely empty
And you, and it

And you and all are not even there
And you too
You too
You can become
An expert
Of boredom
You become an expert in decline

Roro perrot (inspired by Giorno)

***Another lesson in true harsh order. Similar in texture to last year's 'Proanomie' but with more fluidity it combines sludgy low-end bass with incredibly jagged mid. At seventy-seven minutes this is the longest single session of punishment that I've ever heard from Vomir, or any other waller for that matter. Limited to twenty-five copies. Comes in jewel-case with uniform Order of the HNW cover design and with Order of the HNW emblem sticker. Each booklet contains a written piece penned by the artist (see above).***

***SOLD OUT***

Single Volume - £5 (UK) - £5.50 (EU) - £6 (US)
Both Volumes - £9 (UK) - £10 (EU) - £11 (US)

paypal to

Vol. I - A View From Nihil 'Triumph of the Broken Will'

We live in a decadent civilisation which robs us of our ability to shape and define our destiny and hence robs us of our spirit and identity. Western man has been gradually separated from his natural environment, his spirituality, his fellow man and finally from himself. Life has been reduced to an animalistic base as we drift from one empty satisfaction of technological convenience to another.

Art and culture no longer carry any grand or heroic ideals but rather seek to stimulate base emotions through ugly and abstract forms. Art and culture rarely serve as little more than distractions from the torment of perception – no longer seeking to order, interpret or explain the world around us but preferring instead to excuse it, replace it or deny it with an increasingly less interactive and more atomised and abstract alternative.

We were promised technological salvation but have been led to an air-conditioned hell by the false idols of progress who sought to remove the struggle from existence, not stopping to think what would be left. For life in essence is struggle and the will to participate in that struggle and make it one's own is the most sacred characteristic of man.

The Harsh Noise Wall is the soundtrack to our spiritually vacuous and culturally bankrupt age. There is no struggle here. There is no spirit. No personality. No society. There is nowhere else to go. Nowhere to progress. This is the end product. This is the end.


***First full-length concept piece I've done for a while. AVFN continues its simultaneous condemnation and veneration of all that is modern with three meditations of hate combining grinding static, off-time static rhythms and bass-heavy power-drone. Fifty-seven minutes of true harsh enlightenment. Limited to twenty-five copies. Comes in jewel-case with uniform Order of the HNW cover design and with Order of the HNW emblem sticker.Each booklet contains a written piece penned by the artist (see above).***

***SOLD OUT***

Single Volume - £5 (UK) - £5.50 (EU) - £6 (US)
Both Volumes - £9 (UK) - £10 (EU) - £11 (US)

paypal to

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

HNW as anti-music

When I was younger I always liked to tape over old tapes with music I liked. Initially this had a mainly practical purpose, i.e. to make my self a copy of an album a friend had loaned which I couldn't afford to buy myself, but while doing so I began to fantasise about how one day someone, my ma or maybe even someone who lived in that house after us, might find one of those tapes and pop it into their tape deck expecting to hear a compilation of Christmas numbers but in fact get blasted with the opening bars of 'Mouth for War'. I thought it would blow their minds and it gave me a smug sense of satisfaction to think that I was replacing Bing Crosby with Phil Anselmo - literally replacing something I didn't like with something I did like.

I've continued this practice right up until today. Usually I put to tape stuff that I think would sound good on tape or tapes that are long sold-out but which I can still download - like the early Moss stuff. But recently I started to put to tape random HNW that I got from Jliat's random Java HNW generator. Again this was just for practical purposes - I wanted some new, long, boring HNW but I didn't want to have to switch my computer on every time I wanted to hear it. But as I was dubing the tape (in real time) and listening to the wall I started thinking again about the process of erasing someone elses music. I thought HNW was perfect for this purpose. It felt like an act of destruction but at the same time it felt like I was snatching that tape from the claws of pop music and bringing it under the cold dominion of HNW. A small victory, but a victory none the less. The impulse came over me to do this with all my tapes and so I sat and copied over each shitey second hand pop/rock tape and used or unused blank tape that I had, only stopping short of Black Metal and Noise. When I went to work the next day I found a stash of old tapes down by the Hi-Fi and reclaimed them for the cause as well. I sat and recorded over dozens of tapes of varying lengths and quality in real-time, completely engrossed in the process of wanton destruction of music in the name of HNW. What made the act all the more fulfilling was that each wall was randomly generated and so there was no ego involved on my part. There was no way I could control or alter the wall. All I could do was click on the Java link and press record on the tape deck. No control over the wall meant no decision making on my part and no decision making meant no worrying about the sound quality on the shitey recycled tape, nor did I worry about it being too long or too short because all it had to do was fill the tape and drown-out second after second of sickening pop nonsense with thick, black, suffocating wall. Like an oil spill in an aquarium.

So now I've got a stack of random HNW tapes of various qualities and lengths, what do I do with them? Keep them and listen to them, give them to a friend or throw them in the bin? Personally I don't think it matters. The point was the process of destruction/creation - annexing territory in the war against music. Tapes belong to noise, not pop or rock music. Long ago they neglected the medium, its ours now. Besides, creation is so much more satisfying when it is so heavily dependent on, maybe even defined by, the destruction of someone else's creation. Maybe I'll start leaving these lying around in bars and cafes for people to find. Most people won't have tape decks these days and most will get chucked-out but the remote possibility that one person might find one listen to it and try and work out why someone decided to tape over an Oasis album with a wall of harsh static appeals to me. I wonder will they understand that each tape has become a statement oppositional nihilism - akin to a spoiled ballot or a piece of graffiti. But it probably won't happen. Even if everybody who made HNW began erasing every second-hand tape that they could get their hands on from friends, family, second-hand music stores etc., it would still be just a drop in the ocean of music tapes out there. Nevertheless, I reckon its a worthwhile effort. If HNW is to last it has to survive whatever time has to throw at it. Durability and numbers are the only protection against time. I would hate in the centuries to come, after western civilisation has collapsed and people are rediscovering what it was like to be around in the late 20th/early 21st centuries all they could find were Spice Girls tapes. I think we should try and make the physical presence of HNW as monolithic a statement as the sound is itself. Like a standing stone, a statement imposed on time and space. I'd like to think out of whatever is recovered, whatever lasts, something might say we were here and we hated it and we tried to work against it in our way.