Thursday, August 30, 2012

BNNT - _ _ (Qulturap, 2012)

In the dwindling corner of noise rock, Poland's BNNT could be seen as deconstructionists, not in the same sense as how the seminal U.S. Maple once reduced rock to slowly disintegrating rhythms and sporadic guitar interaction, but closer to how Boston performance-art outfit Neptune express rock through homemade instruments that could double as art pieces, rendering every strum a bulky vibration and every drum hit an example of reinforced trash. Like Glenn Branca before them, BNNT use rock-oriented tools to achieve something beyond the music with which they’re associated. Their debut album _ _ isn’t in search of transcendence, though; it avoids the spiritual and takes ahold of the alien.

Formerly named Brown Note and having the wherewithal to sample Harmony Korine’s Trash Humpers, BNNT seem to make noise in the interest of turning stomachs. Member Konrad Smolenski’s weapon of choice is known as a baritone missile that is, as its title delineates, equal parts instrument and weapon: thanks to Michal Kupicz and Weasel Walter’s efforts from behind the boards, you can hear the strings being battered and rattling within the concave neck. When locked into every pummeling quarter note gleaned from the drum kit, it’s awe-inspiring how driving their calibration is. To put it bluntly, the sonic makeup of _ _ is more punishing than just about any compressed metal recording today.

Smolenski’s baritone missile is pivotal to BNNT not unlike how Brian Gibson’s whammy pedal is to Lightning Bolt because it’s not the only contributor to their uncommon set of sounds. Macio Moretti’s mind-numbing vibraphone on “Operation Diesel_ British troops have taken Afghan heroin factory” brings the track’s abusive pulse to disorienting new heights, and the opener “Congolese rebel leader Thomas Lubanga recruiting children” reaches a hellish culmination once Tomasz Duda’s brass contribution swarms over the groove like flies on a corpse. Additions like these may read minor on paper, but when performed they separate descriptors like "noisy" and "cataclysmal".

BNNT are comparable to acts swinging in a rock orbit, but their ambition largely constitutes that of a noise band. Tones over notes, violence over rhythm, what Smolenski and drummer Daniel Szwed conjure gives directness to the effect-laden mania of MoHa! and delivers it with monosyllabic attack. It even remains eye-opening once they relent during the kraut-skronk of “Joseph Kony, a former Catholic altar boy from northern Uganda” served à la Skull Defekts. Embodied by a void title and cover, BNNT handle only achromatic shades, but with heavy contrast and arrangement in mind they prove that tact means everything.

[BNNT Facebook]
[Stream/Buy _ _ from Qulturap]

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