P R O C E S S by Tooth Decay and GALLRelease date: July 23, 2018
It’s been a fruitful time for collaborations in the underground. The Body’s been grafting their brand of noise to several other groups recently, for example. But even then, on the face of it, a collaboration between an ambient project (Tooth Decay) and a powerviolence band might seem somewhat unexpected. But then you remember that GALL used to bill itself as droneviolence, and the pieces of the puzzle begin to click together. Tooth Decay is a relatively new discovery for me, but I’ve been following GALL for a few years now. Their self-titled EP last year was a tremendous slab of fuzz and mania, and I’m happy to say I have it on vinyl. GALL always sort of trafficked in outré soundscapes, even as they unleashed punishing sounds into our unexpected ears.
This team-up, stylized as P R O C E S S, is more uncanny than punishing, though, insisting on the listener’s attention. “Uncanny” might be the wrong word – more apropos, especially given the Berlin-base of these groups, would be the German “unheimlich,” which Freud linked to a feeling of disjuncture from one’s comfort. If that’s the goal of this album, it certainly succeeds.
It’s hard to categorize all of the sonic elements of the album, and they all flow well together, almost like a perverse melody. And this is what sets this album apart from any number of other industrial groups: the Krautrock influence. “Krautrock,” however, recently has often come to mean motorik soundscapes; what I mean by the term here is the dark side of the quasi-subgenre, the bizarre sonic experiments of Manuel Göttsching and the free improvisations of groups such as Limbus 4. Indeed, parts of this album, especially around halfway through the first track, play like a Twin Peaks-version of Göttsching’s underrated late-period album with Michael Hoenig, Early Water; it’s kind of the album you always wished the dearly-departed Z’ev would have made with Tangerine Dream.
This is the New Age revival at its most diabolical, a meditation on broken souls, polluted water, and the fractured, paranoid ego of the modern era. In a word: unheimlich. I can’t wait to see how this collaboration continues in the future.