Fragmented Frequencies May 2016

Mark-GrovesI’m listening to something and it’s bleak, brutal, lofi, and made in Thornbury. It’s the Von Einem Tapes, a double cd set of experimental madness, a dark kind of brutal industrial sound art that gathers together material released between 2011 and 2014 on a bunch of small run cassette labels. It makes for uneasy listening, difficult but immersive, where drones, slabs of static and shrill elongated pitches collide under periodic disengaged spoken word. This is the sound of nightmares, of metal against concrete, cold dark hallways and an unrelenting wind howling.

Bevan Spencer Von Einem is a convicted child murderer, rapist and suspected serial killer from South Australia, and it’s his case and crimes that local artist Mark Groves (Dead Boomers/True Radical Miracle) embodies with his sound. Much of the lyrics seem to come from Von Einem’s Wikipedia page, and though in the main they’re unintelligible, you can pick out the odd word like ‘psychiatrist’, “vice squad” or “filthy” from amongst the deep monotone, and it only exacerbates the feeling of dread. Groves’ electro acoustic throbs of difficult sound though are inspired, at times its industrial, sounding like field recordings of manufacturing, at others its almost dark ambient – yet even during the most difficult moments there’s a curious cohesion, and you can’t help but admire his ability to cloak the project via its sound, source, lyrics and packaging with a veritable sense of foreboding. Spooky and difficult, it’s one of the most distinctive and difficult concept albums you will ever hear.

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