Forwind’s Angry Ambient series stays true to its title with this fantastic double header from African Ghost Valley and Billy Roisz. I’ve been a fan of the series ever since Volume 2 – a sparring match between Svetlana Maraš and Bodies Under The Waterfall back in 2016 – and this latest instalment maintains the quality level. But Forwind had me at the title, basically, as anything that attempts to mess up the prescriptions of genre form is good with me.
African Ghost Valley contributes three tracks whose brevity is more than equaled by their oppressive heaviness. There’s always something distinctly tangible, brutal even, about Childé Grangier and Gabriel Ghebrezghi’s recordings, a result possibly of their hardware-based approach (“The computer is only really used for the production and edits”, they explain in an interview with ATTN magazine). Clean tones and smooth surfaces are conspicuous by their absence here, replaced with scarred, blasted textures whose obstinacy is leavened by a subtlety of touch that provides plenty of food for the ears. ‘9732 XE’ wraps our ears in blistered noise, its waves of monochrome fug gradually resolving themselves into blank-eyed synth pulsations. It’s as dense as a collapsed star, emitting corrosive energies that reduce all detection systems to burnt-out junk. ‘MM 152’ surges with jagged, overloaded gristle, blips and waveforms bursting out of the charred shell like a happy hardcore rave swallowed by an avalanche. Even the relative calm of ‘OCT 154 T’, with its irregular gassy wafts and flickering shortwave crackle retains a don’t-fuck-with-me malignancy that’s about as consoling as an abandoned shuttle drifting though deep space.
Roisz’s contribution is even more aggressive. It doesn’t so much extend the boundaries of ambient music as trash them completely, puncturing sheets of metallic electronics with messy blarts of radio noise, like Keith Rowe wired up to a Tesla coil for maximum disruption. The snotty attitude gets dialed down around the halfway mark as Roisz pours a vat full of wobbly digital textures over a prickly base. Glitching plunderphonic-style burbles yowl through a messy cotton-wool haze, before things work themselves back up into a migraine-inducing yammer of aeroplane buzz and piston thump. By the end Roisz has only gone and built a whole bleedin’ sonic edifice that leers out the gloom like a vibrating gothic ruin, before dissolving into ashy molecules that are borne away on the breeze of an early summer afternoon.