Black Leather Jesus + Skullflower – Untitled

3 out of 5

Label: Fantasy 1

Produced by: Black Leather Jesus / Skullflower (?)

Three very noisy tracks from two very noisy artists.

Black Leather Jesus is frankly more on the harsh end of the noise spectrum than I prefer, so I haven’t listened to much of their material beyond this and some other samplings to give it a “fair” review, but I do think ‘Many Men At Once,’ their 20-minute static assault, is interesting. If we assume that Matthew Bower’s contributions are rooted in some kind of instrumentation with manipulations, BLJ is certainly more on the electronic side of the fence; Many Men is like a rocket takeoff as recorded through a broken radio, constantly erupting, and turned up to 11. But amongst the constant crackly barrage, there are some disruptions – maybe distant, distant vocals; some clatter; effects; some feedback blips. The volume goes up and down so that you can’t necessarily relax, but if you’re game, it has its own trancelike effect.

Ears cleaned out, we proceed to Skullflower’s two offerings: Emitting Complex Light and 664 (shown as ‘Scirrocco’ on the artwork). Bower has definitely leaned in to the more disruptive side of SF in order to pair well with BLJ, each track’s overwhelming aural wash the primary element, though again, it’s a bit more “organic” and psychedelic sounding than Many Men. This allows each track to be much more droney, with some generally repeating “wave” of sound and whatever instruments all mishy-mashy and floating along on a vague layer. The songs are fairly similar in texture, with Complex Light being in a higher register than 664, and the latter also a bit more active sounding – slightly more focus on instruments, maybe some background drumming?

Coming at this as a Skullflower / Bower fan, this is something to put on when I’m looking to feel unnerved. It’s fairly limited “range” of tone and mood means it’s not a constant revisit, perhaps also lacking the room for depth some SF entries have, but it’s good to have something in your listening wheelhouse this feral.