Friday Night Noise: Houston's Black Leather Jesus vs. L.A.'s Hive Mind

This week, Friday Night Noise begins an ongoing effort to review a track by each and every one of H-town noise gangster Richard Ramirez's solo or group projects. No, really. Does FNN claim to be a Ramirez authority? Not at all; FNN would need an entire lifetime to track down, ingest, and get familiar with everything this prolific malcontent has had a hand in. So consider this more of a survey course series.

Black Leather Jesus "13/13"

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Two thirteens? That must mean twice the usual measure of bad luck. "13/13" is the Black Leather Jesus half of a 1994 split titled Sex Acts on a Child in a Full Body Cast (Deadline), and it's a crispy, crawly doozy: 21 uncoiling minutes of hissing, murky static dosed with what sound like severely distressed vocals and just-short-of-unrecognizable movie dialogue. This track isn't so much a destination as it is a furious, undulating journey through a psychic minefield where the mines shout shortwave-fractured gibberish at you before whistling like industrial fireworks, blowing you to pieces, reconstituting themselves, and continuing on with the grim and grisly task of killing as many people as possible.

One of the distinct pleasures here is the unyielding, free-for-all scree, which sometimes hints at hall-of-mirrors funhouse anti-melody but generally is just content to slink, contort, confront, and menace at any given moment. The louder you crank "13/13," the scarier it is, but there are harsher noise realms out there.

Ramirez appears to be one of the constants in this particular project, which dates back to the first Bush administration and continues to the present day.

Hive Mind "20.II.2009 - The Smell, Los Angeles, CA"

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FNN is guilty - in other venues, in the past - of overusing the term "generative" and its variants when describing one noise/out album or another. And FNN feels some shame over that; we pledges to plumb our vocabulary for other ways of effectively getting that particular point across. But first, it's gotta be said: Hive Mind guy Corey Cruz - who also records as Black Sand Desert, Greh, and Cleanse - is one generative mofo.

In sampling Cruz's wares over the last few years, FNN's reactions have fallen into that grey area between "stoked!" and "okay," but Cities in Bronze (Chondritic Sound) may mark the point where FNN makes the leap from Hive Mind dabbler to full-borne Hive Mind enthusiast. Cities, one of five Hive Mind releases to drop in 2009, compiles live sets from this year and last.

"20.II.2009 - The Smell, Los Angeles, CA" couples incrementally mutating electronic throbs with random audience chatter the taper caught (keep an ear cocked for the girl, early on, who asks another concertgoer whether she's got "white stuff" on her lips), a bowel-quaking rumble that asserts itself at regular intervals and sometimes comes across like muffled helicopter churn, and a looped sample of what sounds like someone dragging a rusty chain around a warehouse space. This kind of thing screams "Hanson Records 4eva, Wolf Eyes I'll have ur babies," but when FNN is in the right mood, it's manna from heaven.

Got some hot Texas noise tips - or, hell, any noise tips - for us? Hit FNN up with MP3s or Web site links - but not MySpace links, seriously, because we can't access those at work and at home every spare moment is spoken for - at fridaynightnoise@gmail.com.

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