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Regular readers will probably by now be aware that I'm a big fan of Holidays Records and the mysterious outsider weirdness they put out. They've always got something new coming out and it's almost all worth a punt. This week we've got a couple of their more challenging offerings by way of this Key of Shame LP and also a Jooklo Duo & Bill Nace one which is on some of the most amazing-looking splatter vinyl you'll ever see, but that's another story. This Key of Shame one, in an edition of 200 on deathly black vinyl, is a collaboration between Mark Morgan (Sightings) and Pat Murano (NNCK, Decimus, Malkuth, K. Salvatore), where they take us on a busy and unsettling journey through a wasteland of dark electro acoustic ambience. It opens with some needling, stuttering static before the first side evolves into a concrete-esque flurry of power-electronic flourishes and what sounds like guitars sampled and chopped up almost beyond recognition. Later on the guitars get a bit more recognisable in the scratchy, arrhythmical soup of paranoid tones. Of the collaborators' previous work I'd have to say it comes closest to the electronic terror of Murano's Decimus alter-ego. On the flip there's something denser but still super-twitchy and harsh. There's a really minimal repeated rhythm in this that gives it a kind of techno feel, but techno as used to soundtrack a steampunk adaptation of Eraserhead, maybe? Totally tripped out stuff. I'm finding this second side much easier going than the first (that intermittent scratchy pulse at the start really gets under your skin) but it's still a collage of self-consciously grating sounds where what little melody and rhythm are present are buried under static scree and clanking guitar. As it develops the focus gradually shifts from the techno/industrial grot loops to a more droney approach. It doesn't have the subtle malevolence of the marvellous recent Decimus '9' LP on the same label but its cold industrial heart of post-techno skronk will be lapped up by queasy listening enthusiasts nonetheless.
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