Believe in Hell/ 28042018 - bellies! and EP/64 - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Believe in Hell/ 28042018 - bellies! and EP/64

by Andy Brown Rating:8 Release Date:2018-12-15
Believe in Hell/ 28042018 - bellies! and EP/64
Believe in Hell/ 28042018 - bellies! and EP/64

If you’ve ever wanted to explore Bristol’s ever-fertile musical underground then Believe in Hell/ 28042018, a joint venture by two of the city’s most intriguing acts, could prove to be an excellent starting point. The record is being released by Bristol based, grassroots publisher HammerOn Press. All the more impressive when you realise it’s actually the first record they’ve put out (they’ve published plenty of books though). The artwork has been produced by Meanie Clifford and Laura Phillips, two members of the Bristol Experimental and Expanded film collective. Everything about this release is infused with DIY vigour and independent spirit.

Fronted by vocalist Dali de St Paul, EP/64 is a living, breathing musical experiment. The plan is simple; EP/64 (or the Ephemeral Project 64) formed in 2016 and will perform 64 times. Their music is wild, improvised and constantly changing. I saw them perform as a two-piece back in October at Shipley’s Golden Cabinet, Dali screaming for all she was worth over Dylan Mallet’s highly volatile take on electronica. 28042018 captures the collective on a different night and the results are significantly different yet no less invigorating.

A strange, somewhat alien and disconcerting loop leads the way. Drums are introduced and the ritualistic, hypnotic nature of the piece is revealed. Without sounding like them the music here manages to recall the distorted, discombobulating soundscapes of Throbbing Gristle. An unintelligible voice fights to be heard as the noises are layered on top of each other, the drums providing a sense of forward motion to the unfolding chaos.

The dial is firmly set to uneasy listening but I can’t help going back for more. A little like 1970’s certified madmen Chrome, there’s something highly appealing about the band's thirst for experimentation. The two pieces here present us with a sonic collage and a glimpse into an interesting, ongoing, creative process.

bellies! present us with something entirely different. Where 28042018 centres around pedals, loops, drums, and electronica, Believe in Hell communicates through drums, vocals and guitar. Natalie J Brown and D-M Withers have been making inventive noise together since 2010 and on their side of this split release offer up 6 twisted and arrestingly powerful slices of post-punk.

The recordings are sparse in their arrangements, letting the vocals and lyrics come through loud and clear. “Conversation is predictable” sings Brown “conversation with the same rules”. Thankfully, there’s nothing predictable about bellies! Like all the best post-punk the band seems to take great pride in catching you off guard.

The brief yet brilliant title track begins with some mesmerising, surprisingly soothing, vocals before descending into mclusky-esque noise-rock. Most of the songs last around 2 minutes and it’s impressive to hear just how many ideas they can fit in. A real sense of fun and creativity filters through every track. Taking feminism and the “horrors of the present” as its inspiration Believe in Hell is a short yet incredibly focussed mission statement. bellies! are expecting war but have come prepared. Just under 15 minutes of anger, intelligence and inventiveness.

Here’s hoping HammerOn Press put out some more records in the new year.

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