Lasse Marhaug: Gjota

review beartown records x1 cong

So: hands up all those who know Congleton has its own record label? Beartown Records was founded in 2009 “in the treehouse at the former Naturecraft pottery works,” says its website, and it releases “anything we like or don’t like” it says, “the only common thread is that each artist must have a link to wild ferment mysticism and the eternal search for ‘Brett #1’ or the mother yeast.”

A friend who liked their stuff said it specialised in noise. It releases music on CD and cassette, and presents live shows, mostly in London.

We follow them on Twitter and were never sure if they were real or not. Now we know: they are real, they’re 10 years old and they’ve sent us some music.

Lasse Marhaug is a Norwegian musician who mainly works in the field of noise music but also in improvisation, jazz, rock and extreme metal — he’s worked with Sunn O))), and a Norwegian newspaper rated his album The Shape of Rock to Come as number 19 on a list of the best albums in Norwegian history.

By noise we mean a sound produced electronically and with no melody.

Side one of this work breaks down into three parts: part one is a subliminal grumble, part two more akin to the distant sound of a motorbike engine, part three slightly more discordant.

Side two opens in a more mechanical fashion, the sound suggestive of a distant wind turbine before a sound reminiscent of the days when the computers connected via modem to the internet and you could hear the electronic handshake, gradually getting more discordant before cutting out and being replaced by the sound of a distant motor throbbing in outer space. It’s interesting; ok, so it’s not music as you’ve been led to believe it should be but it’s got some appeal; side one edging it over side two.

The release is bundled in with a film, music and photo series that Marhaug is / has been working on. See lassemarhaug.no

The recording is pressed on clear vinyl, with only 300 copies made; they cost £11 with free postage to the UK.

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