Crate Skimmers #30 Burial Hex ‎– Initiations

Owned since: 2009

Genre: Industrial dark ambient noise

Where I bought it: Straight from the label

Year: 2008

Label/pressing: Aurora Borealis

Oh good noise music, or well stuff related to it. I own a lot of noise music, but with the scene’s endless DIY nature and minuscule releases it’s mostly on CD-R’s and tapes. Which include the few releases I did in my late teens which are god-awful and will never be covered here. But this is really the only time that I will cover something in a genre of music I myself have dabbled in and even released output on. It’s weird, but also it’s much needed.

My relationship with noise music is a difficult one. It produced a lot of my favorite music but it is also a hotbed of some prime edgelord behavior and easily falls into just being really lazy. Noise music is pretty much music made by people too lazy to learn an instrument most of the time, me being one of them, and is more about sound setting than playing the right chords. Like ambient music’s deranged teenage son pretty much. How I got into noise music was honestly the way a lot of the people do: hardcore punk and/or metal music. There is loads of crossover between all these groups and tons of hardcore punk/alternative metal bands use noise music in their sound or have members that have got noise music projects themselves. But the biggest part of it all is, of course, the DIY-ness of it all. Beside playing DIY venues, noise music is making music out of garbage pretty much; you can use mass marketed synths, most of the time an array of self-made synthesizers and contact mics running amuck amplifying the weirdest stuff till it sounds like a death rattle. It’s the worst and best kind of music honestly, it is by far the easiest to make but also the hardest to really make good stuff in.

Burial Hex is Clay Ruby’s project since 2004 and is deeply indebted to the more ritualistic side of noise music. Names/bands like Genocide Organ and early-NON come to mind, but minus the edgy politics those two acts trade in and less abrasive. Stuff more based on repetition and dark ambient droning than the more aggressive noise stuff, even if it doesn’t avoid that either. He calls it horror electronics himself and describes it as ‘transcendent ambiance with haunting instrumentation’, which honestly nails it pretty hard. It is clearly indebted to noise music but also to industrial music, black metal and a lot of atmospheric synthesizer lead horror music soundtracks. Since Initiations he has reached a bigger crowd, mostly with 2014’s The Hierophant which slightly leans more to dark-wave then this record.

Initiations came around the time when I was really getting into a lot of black metal and ritual ambient music. I’d already fallen in love with the more abrasive noise coming from Japan and the whole power electronics school years before, but at 17 I mostly just really wanted synthesizers and slow builds. Which boy is something this album has; spread over two LP’s Clay Ruby goes deep into dirge like soundscapes. From the slow burning Will to the Chapel to 8 Pentacles endless humming static, it sets an extremely unsettling mood. There is luckily a lot of variation on this, with the second LP opening with the ritual percussion of River of Los that slowly goes into a mix of repeating synthesizer chords and drum computers. Bo -II- Ne sees the return to more familiar grounds with a quite basic but interesting noise track. Clay wanted to base this around initiatory structure, the Aleister Crowley organization’s mysterious initiation techniques. 8 Pentacles is an obvious reference to the famous tarot card and the rest also dives quite a bit into mysticism.

It might not be the most interesting album to talk about, it’s a problem with a lot of noise music for me honestly, but it’s a very interesting one. It’s a lot more withdrawn than the big noise releases at the time (just take a listen to Prurient’s Arrowhead) and takes a lot more time. It was all recorded on a bunch of consumer electronics, contact mics and an old PAiA synth. Clay said he was influenced a lot by German synth wizards/krautrockers/Werner Herzog scoring Popol Vuh and it shows a lot in Will to The Chapel’s start mostly. A slow burn of ritual before the burning hell of Clay’s distorted vocals burst loose.

Great record, absolute shit one to talk about, listen to noise music it’s pretty rad.

Do What Sloot Wilt: This isn’t boring by any means if you like noise but listening to this, even with the screams, just makes me want to take a nap.