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Altar Of Flies – “Female”


Female, on Peripheral Records, was the first of two LPs released in 2013 by Sweden’s Altar of Flies, the noise/experimental project of Mattias Gustafsson. Both LPs, Female and Rabbit Hole, flew mostly under the radar, but offered up two of the year’s finest noise releases. Playing a style of noise that alternates between harsh and ethereal, Gustafsson’s music sounds like it would be at home on Ultra Eczema. The sounds are comprised from a mixture of tape manipulation, field recordings, and electronics and create an atmosphere of unease. Drones unfold, overlayed with scrapes and screeches and that shift, never leaving a constant feel, simultaneously building and negating tension. The 15-minute closing track “100511” finally gives the listener release, bleeding into a more straight forward noise track that never becomes too harsh while still flirting with HNW, until Gustafsson strips it away and the track degrades into the sounds of a woman moaning and a baby’s cries (can anyone guess the symbolism there?). Female shows Altar of Flies at its most industrial, using its soundscaping much like the Eraserhead soundtrack, while creating an album Gustafsson professes to be deeply personal.

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