Various Coalescence

In a tribute to Extended Realist Mark Prent, the Montreal based Alien8 imprint brings together 14 artists to pay tribute to his work. Up first is the UK’s Dachise with a blast of noise that sets the tone precisely; Prent’s life-size pieces — three of which are reproduced in the compilation’s packaging — are all about confrontation: the naked pig-woman strapped down on an operating table, the elderly lady in a wheelchair left to rot in her room, two nude figures trapped in a mirrored cube. Like the car accident from which, on first viewing, you turn in revulsion, you’re drawn back moments later to examine the details. Prent traffics in this style of art and Alien8’s Gary Worsley has done an admirable job in compiling and sequencing this release. Second in the line-up is Sensorband with processed drones and machine whirs that are almost soothing, then Entarte with a sustained hiss that begins to writhe subtly like a snake before fading off, and Artifical Memory Tree and Crawl Unit with pieces that are comprised mostly of natural ambience. We are then hit with Knurl’s persistent flow of distortion that is eventually wrestled to the sound floor, Column’s dragging-sounds-fed-through-a-large-amplified-reverb, and a track from Aube where practically inaudible bass throbs develop into polyrhythms of noise frequencies. Next up is music from Masonna, Kazumoto Endo, Maggot Breeder, PBK and David Kristian. Tokyo’s Merzbow finishes things off with a lengthy piece of extreme distortion, where digital gusts blow shards of crystals through an icy cavern of audio. (Alien8)