It’s been four years since I last lived within the boundaries of an area code which boasted its own noise collective, and while the gulf of time has brought many changes, one thing remains constant: the quality of noise coming from North Carolina. Seemingly unlikely, most of us considering it a state of NASCAR fans with hick accents, North Carolina has emerged as a haven for the experimentally minded sound-crafter. 910 Noise is a collective based out of southern North Carolina, an area probably more well-known for its history and humidity than for its embrace of the less traditional aural styles presented on this release.
Douceur Violente opens on the right foot, with a brutally crushed set of digitally-artifacted noise from Cumean Cybil, entitled “That Hurt My Feeling.” Shifting abruptly, the second track expands more on the wealth of diversity in this community with the almost-melodic ambient piece “A State of Mind” by Jason Ward. Donovan Quixote highlights the opening of the album with a haunting and eerie cacophony of squawks, thumping and swelling in “Trouble At The Old Mill.”
Food World’s “In The Basement” brings the album around full circle to the brutality of a vocal-inflected wall of processed noise, conjuring memories of some of the better basements I’ve graced. Next the compilation offers us the luxury of a breather, with the short and simple “Impulse Beacon” a track that is either without author, or performed by someone named Authorless (which, in this writer’s opinion, is a fucking awesome name), before moving into the atmospherically glitchy “Eye Calypso” from Somnaphon – an artist who has been featured on a handful of IM.net compilation projects.
In another show of the diversity of this compilation, and the collective it represents, Khnum delivers the dark “Zizzard”, a track that echoes vague IDM qualities, hidden beneath swirling layers of synth chaos. “Don’t Be Afraid of Us” becomes something of a sinister directive within the context of the piercing and organic noise of this The Billie Ocean track. Carl Kruger follows with the distinction of having a track whose title takes longer to type than the track’s run time. “John Stanton, Cammeron Batanides, the Super Kiiids” may be one of the shortest tracks on the album, but it holds its own with a creepy gurgling like the dying gasps of a drowning man.
Caucasians add another level of complexity to the depth of this release with their noise rock performance “Scorching Treats”. Then the album takes a turn for the traditional, with the electronica of Subterrene’s “Villian”. As a cranky and haughty purist, I felt this track was a bit more out of place than some of the other excursions into melody or rhythm present on the release. Technoetry spits a blistering diatribe over meandering guitar jams in “April 4 2010 (live)”, providing a strangely psychedelic tangent before moving into the distinctly hypnotic synth and vocal treatment of “Smile It’s Only War” by Steph. Dig It (editor’s note: Best Song Title Ever™)
The album closes with another artist familiar to the faithful IM.net compilation crowd: Mr. Stoneciper. “The Kissing Machine” starts off with a beautiful and subtle drone, that slowly swells as the backdrop for sampled chanting. The pressure of the drone builds until it becomes the focal point of the piece, and then fades back down, becoming a sublime denouement for the album.
Douceur Violente shapes up to be a fantastic compilation, serving well not only the community it showcases, but also the diversity of a region often overlooked by the cosmopolitan crowd. All of this packaged neatly under some of the best cover art I’ve seen in a long time. And while the picture above doesn’t do it nearly the justice it deserves, you can see the full piece here.