Saturday, November 10, 2012

Sete Star Sept- Vinyl Collection 2010-2012

"I remembered a friend who'd died of a bad liver, and what he'd always said. Yeah, he'd said, maybe it's just my idea, but really it always hurts, the times it don't hurt is when we just forget, we just forget it hurts, you know, it's not because my belly's all rotten, everybody always hurts. So when it really starts stabbing me, somehow I feel sort of peaceful, like I'm myself again. It's hard to take, sure, but I feel sort of peaceful. Because it's always hurt ever since I was born." - Ryū Murakami, Almost Transparent Blue (1976)

If you thought explaining the appeal of grindcore to the uninitiated was a headache, try it with noisegrind some time: "Well, everyone tries to play as fast and as loudly as possible, like last time, only now everything's as shrill and as blown-out as possible and the recording quality is terrible. It's great!"

In struggling time and again to sheepishly explain why I love this garbage, I've stumbled into a rough sort of theory that comes close to defining exactly what it is that's so exciting about noisegrind, grindcore and extreme music in general.

Life seems to vibrate at a certain speed, and music in general is pleasant because it matches that vibration. Melodic music is pleasurable because it mimics elements of that vibration in simple, emotionally-resonant figures and recycles them in equally pleasurable variations. However, the beauty of extreme music is that it eschews the derivative qualities of melodic music and seeks to purely mimic the speed and intensity at which our lives operate. The inspiration for grindcore is all around us, just waiting to be tapped into.

That purity of focus is exactly what drives this record, a collection of Japanese bass-and-drums noisegrind band Sete Star Sept's vinyl output from the last two years.

A few months ago, I reviewed Sete Star Sept’s Revision of Noise LP (which, interestingly enough, continues to be one of the most popular sources of traffic to the blog). While the tracks on that record were certainly noisy, those songs were downright mannered compared to the violent, freeform output collected here. The tracks on this collection are of a splintered, grinding avant-noise character that makes it a for-noisegrind-heads-only affair, excepting grinders who enjoyed Revision of Noise and are willing to branch farther afield into a truly alienating space.

The sonic disconnect that traditionally occurs between material from multiple releases is softened by the fact that, while differences in approach and recording technique are evident upon repeat listens, everything is so mercilessly blown-out that nothing sounds incongruous or polished to the point of conspicuousness.

Still, the noisiest section of the collection is easily (and appropriately enough) the split with Noise. Sequenced from tracks 26 to 38, these songs are little more than bubbling geysers of drums, overlaid with a constantly vibrating and barely intelligible low-end and shot through with an occasional vein of vocals. While certainly not unlistenable as noisegrind music, it lacks the punch of much of the other music collected here, and is immediately upstaged by the release sequenced after it.

The split with Penis Geyser, which occupies tracks 39 to 46, contains some of the best material on the album. From the opening blast of "Big Issue," the sheer focus of these tracks is evident: no "exploding song structures," no improvisational hiccups, only sweet, aggressive grinding. While still wonderfully abrasive and dirty, it's mixed well enough that no elements bleed over onto any other, and the structures are tight to the point that the only feedback present is at the end of songs. Of all the releases collected here, this is the one that I most wish that I had picked up on vinyl, and a great starting point for those daunted by the massive volume of music on this collection.

Sete Star Sept are at their most unrestrained on the 50-song Gero Me EP, sequenced here from tracks 64 to 93. A number of these are specks of single-digit blipcore, and many of them have been bundled into omnibus tracks with anywhere from two to eight micro-eruptions contained in a single shot. Songs from Gero Me burst and re-form, splinter and fade, tumbling with the drums into buzzing masses that roll into one another. These songs especially carry with them a sense of free jazz experimentation, and make a case for noisegrind as an extreme music cousin of the improvisational free psychedelia of bands like Sunburned Hand of the Man and Jackie-O Motherfucker.

In many ways, this record sounds like a marriage of two of noisegrind's original classics, Sore Throat's Disgrace to the Corpse of Sid and Fear of God's Pneumatic Slaughter, delivered with a twisted avant character that counts coughs and feedback as elements as integral to the music as drums, bass and vocals.

As a 100-song, 76-minute noisegrind collection, Vinyl Collection 2010-2012 inevitably has its daunting moments, but those who delight in extreme music's experimental tendencies will find a lot to love here. Anyone with more noisegrind than one Gore Beyond Necropsy record in their music collections is going to need this.

Vinyl Collection 2010-2012 (FY40) can be ordered from Fuck Yoga. Sample tracks from the collection can be found on Soundcloud here, here and here, and some of the releases collected here, as well as other Sete Star Sept material, can be found on their Bandcamp.


  1. you're guilty of making me listen to Sete star sept once again!
    Gero me is indeed inspirationnal...and that cover art for Gero me is genius!

    I like your try at theorising why we like music like noisegrind.
    I have in mind to try writing something about it myself (not only about the music but about the meaning behind the more extreme development of the punk movement.)

    Sete star sept is also one of the most seen band in my blog! second after Dephosphorus. yes there is a lot of crazy people on this planet...

    ps : people interested in reading an interview with Kyasu Ryosuke, the drummer of Sete star sept can check the one I did on my blog Blasting days :

  2. ha. you found a use for murakami at last!

    i love the that this collection just feels physically overpowering. i feel sweaty and wrung out by the time i get to the end of it.

    1. That's definitely part of its draw. You feel as if it's best to just let it overpower you and wash over you, like an ambient album or drone or noise music.

  3. Hmm, you've written a very clear and understandable, influential too, piece about a band that makes you want to give up writing. congrats.

    You have a tendency to make me rethink my feelings about noisegrind. But, like a little kid, i need it diluted with other things, so i really prefer thedownging and stuff like that as opposed to this feast of a mess.

    Almost feel like I'm missing out on something- almost.

    1. Noisegrind is something that is much easier, initially, to approach from angles than straight on--that's what bands like thedowngoing are so great for, offering those in-roads to more unforgiving records like this one. I would suggest that you try the Sore Throat and Fear of God records I mentioned in the review--I linked both of them to full streams on YouTube, and they're definitely worth checking out. You should also give a listen to my favorite noisegrind record, Arsedestroyer's Teenass Revolt. Despite the title and cover art, it's a pretty good introduction to more abrasive stuff--check that out in a full YouTube stream, too:

  4. from a grind wise point of view maybe yes Thedowngoing is stronger, but what Sete Star Sept has that tdg has not is the free jazz element (in the drumming). not saying that it makes it better, my point is that each of these bands are good for different reasons.

  5. Saw this band in Minneapolis, it was brilliant! Really knew how to make a sick atmosphere! Drumming was fascinating to observe.