EE10: XIPHOID DEMENTIA – MIGHT IS BLIGHT CD
Might is Blight is a massive conceptual work that deals with a range of subjects from the socio-political to the personal and philosophical, focusing on my attempt to deal with this fucked up world. The album features 6 new obsessively composed tracks spanning over 70 minutes in length and explores the depths of death industrial, neo-classical, ambient, musique concrete, and power electronics.
- Might Is Blight [Full Track]
- Never Power Ocean [Excerpt]
- Dead Hunter
- Your City Crumbles
- Mechanized Salvation
- None Shall Inherit The Earth [Excerpt]
- Over 70 minutes of sound on pro-pressed CD.
- 6 panel full-color artwork printed on heavy stock.
- Limited to 500 individually numbered copies.
From Special Interests #2:
Comparing this to past CDR works I have heard from this American project, and most of all comments I have heard from less open-minded noise crowd, I must say I was taken by surprise. Progression has been great. And even steps towards originality and more ambitious fields of creation. Xiphoid Dementia is known for rejecting almost everything what is “old school” or “filthy”, and aim towards high production values, high fidelity, cinematic mix of sound effects and electronics, combined with modern visual design. It is guaranteed that all these things are major turn-off for many people who prefer crude or analogue approach, but you simply can’t ignore the undeniable talent and unique approach what CD presents.
1st two tracks set the standards high. Combination of modern day martial industrial and highly layered sound of 2000s neo-power electronics and crispy noise is simply good. Opening piece is almost like putting together Karjalan Sissit and Control with noise effects. Symphonic classical tones, militaristic drum beats, synthesizer noise and clashing metal sounds all blend in perfectly. And despite song clocks for lengths what many could expect to become boring, Xiphoid Dementia doesn’t let same thing go on for too long. It’s merely 4 first minutes before track takes new turns, which makes whole composition more than typical method of just sampling few loops from classical music albums.
I think what has turned off people are examples such as track #3 and 4. Third track shows bands most mediocre face with droning modern day power electronics with unusually weak vocal performance. Fourth track begins with movie sampled car break screeching/crushing/collision/helicopter/tanks rolling type of atmosphere, what rather gives impression of digitally treated movie soundtracks, than something you’d associate with art for actual listening purposes? But even it progresses much further, turning enjoyable in the end. Best tracks are constantly on the move. They won’t go into route of simply looping or monotonic repetition, but song can actually surprise or at least progress into completely new sounds during its time.
Album is half hit/half miss. The best tracks are simply something one must here to be able to witness how far genre has gone, even from days of Propergol or such, which must be obvious influences for XD. In other hand, there are weaker tracks including long beginning of last track, where melodic new age synth works are on background and digitally clear distorted squealing vocals are on front. Nearly like more recent Prurient tracks. With more innovative actually composed keyboard tones BUT much much weaker vocal performance. You have to wait about 6 minutes until track reaches its highlights, and it is nearly enough to ruin the atmosphere of the album.
74 minutes is indeed FULL LENGTH. With couple tracks removed and perhaps 45 minutes long playingtime, it would be much better. Allowing few times album to play from beginning to end, it becomes more audible how it would benefit from being less in length, since nevertheless you will be bombarded with details and sonic substance. – Mikko Aspa
From Musique Machine.
‘Might is Blight’ offers up quite a varied, original and often bleakly epic mixture of: electronic and junk based industrial textures, powerful and avant grade tinged neo-classical elements, animal and environmental field recordings, power electronics and cinematic tinged noise.
Each of the six ten minute plus tracks that make up the album seem to tell their own distinctive sound story and tale which all links nicely together to make this epic, yet never over indulgent record. To give you idea of the scope and variation on offer here I’ll give you a run down of a few my favourite moments; ‘Never Power Ocean’ starts out with lapping and slowing crashing field recordings of the sea and sea gull calling, which is soon joined by ominous & looming hunting horn calls. As the track progresses brooding drums and deep synthetic bass horn textures are added as the sea recordings start to get more active and manic. But just when you think it’s going to suddenly explode the field recordings drop into lulling & errier underwater field recordings; and the drums and deep brass elements are stripped and replaced with whale like calls and drifting, soothing and subtle synth textured bobbing. Around the seven minute mark the peaceful yet growing uneasy atmosphere is suddenly fired with brooding electronic pulses and groaning and clanging steel textures. And pretty soon afterwards slow-monition feedback and echo burnt slamming beat punchers are added to the mix, then things turn very nightmarish as the track starts to get more seared and violent as it nears it’s end.
Later on we have the track ‘None shall inherit the Earth’ which for the first half of the track mixtures: building and epic synthetic string sound tracking and grace, with sudden, loud and very jarring power electronic bellows and feedback engulfed grunts. In the second half it kicks in with brooding and feedback stretched synth dramatics that are burnt and atmospherically slice by high pitched to huge rumbling noise textures which soon get underfeed by stuck neo classical rhythmic attacks.
All told a very impressive, dramatic and epic work that flirts between grandeur, atmosphere , building and nasty noise attacks, highly creative mood setting and sonic creativity. Its all the more impressive when you find out that the whole things done by one person; namely Boston based Egan Budd who’s been creating music and noise under the Xiphoid Dementia banner since 2002. So if you enjoy dramatic, bleak and end of the world type mix of industrial, neo-classic, noise and soundtrack music this is defiantly for you.
From Terror Zine.
This is one of the weirder albums that I’ve had a chance to listen to lately. I cannot decide how to evaluate it because everytime I listen to this album, I get absolutely different emotions and thoughts. One thing is clear – it is best to listen to it when it’s dark or growing dark outside or when it’s not quite ok with your mind. During a full moon, let’s say. Maybe it’s personal, but quite often I was left asking myself why the album looked so good just yesterday and now it seemed absolutely colorless. Time of a day, state of mind…
This release is very strong from the technical side. Clear, multilayered and precisive sound, rich and varied compositions, continuously evolving and convincing. But it is impossible to describe the full album in just a few words. I haven’t heard creations of Xiphoid Dementia before, but in this album, it seems that the most important of all is the main goal/thought of the album, regardless of tools or style. From elements of musique concrete through dark ambient to neo classical, noise and even touch of power electronics. Album starts with majestic title piece where martial rhythms, synth melodies, squeaking foundations of reality and woman voice forms one strange and frightening creature. It sounds like it would be a soundtrack for a final massive scene in the movie. The following song smells of a sea. “Never Power Ocean” transforms from calm and meditative to curiously exploring song. I’ve lived by the sea for the last several weeks so I can tell without a doubt that these sounds convince me. It is true, sea and ports in there differ from the ones I’ve seen. This piece is more like exploring the ships that’d sunk long time ago and now rests here, covered in rust and absolutely still in silt. Gradually you move there and become the part of the world, existing there. From careful touching of sound textures, this piece transforms into fierce attack of noise, which, after 20 minutes of rather calm album is a rather unexpected cold shower. By the way, it is worth mentioning that all the pieces in the album plays more than 10 minutes and the whole length of it is well more than one hour. The next big picture of Xiphoid Dementia – Dead Hunter. This track continues the active noise of the last one – siren, synth sounds and voice. Vocal that appears in the middle of the album surprises once more, but I cannot get myself to like it. It seems that it does not fit in there and I cannot glue the voice and music into one picture anyhow. Next station – by the strange highway. Creaks of constructions, squeals of brakes, sounds of broken glass and finally the sound develops into rhythmic noise. It seems that in these two tracks, the culmination of the album was reached. Mechanized Salvation – anxious and full of strain, but not openly aggressive track. It sounds more like a futuristic model of the world. Penetrating metallic darkness when you try to see what’s in front of you and not realize that the real danger is behind you. Xiphoid Dementia plays one more game in the last track. None Shall Inherit The Earth seems like a calm and dismal landscape from the first seconds. So you prepare yourself for happy ending, but after a few seconds this insipid and tender vision is teared apart by fierce vocal (in here I like how it goes) and this piece is raising the strain till it explodes and soft sounds are covered with a layer of noises and effects. The sight becomes different than it seemed from the beginning. It feels like Xiphoid Dementia specially tortures you and doesn’t let you breathe easily. Album stops and ends.
This is really one interesting and not ordinary release, full of colors, consonances and moods. The pieces themselves (the artwork hints that too where every separate page is dedicated to separate song) works as if they would be separate pictures, visions, stories. Long, complex and versatile… I like this work of Xiphoid Dementia tonight. I like the suggestiveness of it when the first snow falls and they greyness is here.
From Heathen Harvest.
Xiphoid Dementia is Egan Budd’s noise project based in Boston, Massachusetts. Mr. Budd has been active in the noise underground since about 2002 and creates a powerful sort of ambient-noise music. His latest release is a numbered, limited edition CD titled “Might Is Blight” and therein begins a bleak journey through the possible end times of life as we know it, the ruination of Earth, and the death of illusion. This noise artist has in his artistic grasp the means of creating sound structures that are metaphors for such ideas even though to find those places requires certain lengths to be gone to.
As apocalyptic as all this may sound, Budd creates his soundscape testament with refreshing lack of pretentiousness. In his own words via a MySpace blog post titled ‘I Want To Live A Life Of Insignificance’, he states: “I don’t lust for money, fame, power, fancy clothes, cars or whatever the fuck seems like the majority of the assholes in this world worship. I will illustrate that the people who mean something to me are the ones who haven’t forgotten what it means to have something authentic and honest. I want to affect my friends and family and loved ones in a positive and intense way, to be there for them when they need a hand, or some good words, or something more. The only legacy I wish to leave behind me is a fire in the hearts and minds of those I’ve loved who have lived and felt my presence as something more than an attempt to impress them, take advantage of them, one-up them or tear them down for being different then me.” Wise words from a young man, and this wisdom can be palpably felt in his unique noise music.
What Budd has accomplished here is impressive, not too many noise artists are attempting something so ambitious, a hybrid style of composing that incorporates modern classical avant garde, droning electronic noise and atmospheric ambience to create a strong, cinematic music. Whether this is done self-consciously, or intuitively, it genuinely expresses his compelling search for reality. Each composition here clocks in at over ten minutes, giving Budd the space to really explore his metaphors, fleshing out every concept and making every track a feast for the noise lover’s ears! From the orchestral title track opener to the lilting, tossing, aptly titled ‘Your City Crumbles’ to the profoundly disturbing final composition, ‘None Shall Inherit The Earth’, every one of these soundscapes moves in fascinating ways, morphing from powerful Penderecki-style string sections that teeter on the brink of collapse, then break down giving way to noisier electronics, heavy (metallic) droning, or screeching, anguished vocals, each sound texture seemingly always moving in a constant state of flux.
As grim a look into the present/future as this album presents, and however these potential scenarios may eventually play out, there is still a sense, in the end, of redemption. As the recently deceased Jim Carroll once said “a writer has to use evil to illuminate goodness…”. Egan Budd utilizes his disturbing evocations in sound to enlighten us to the possibilities inherent in our own trivialities. He has presented to us a work of art that is both “authentic and honest”. Xiphoid Dementia’s ‘Might Is Blight’ is a superb album and I recommend it highly.
From Plague Haus.
Xiphoid Dementia is the project of the man behind the Existence Establishment label. Pigeon-holing the genre here is a bit difficult as he seems to incorporate several styles. This is my first exposure to the progress, so I’m not sure of earlier work, but here there are elements of Martial, Dark Ambient and even a bit of Noise. “Industrial” is a nice multi-functional label.
The disc begins with “Might Is Blight”, heavy martial percussion drives this one along accompanied by epic Puissance synth lines, the occasional blast of high frequency noise and sampled strains of operatic female vocals. It’s bombastic and loud. “Never Power Ocean” is next and one of my favorites on the disc. Sampled sea sounds, the breaking of the shore, the distant moan of a fog horn give way to bubbling submersion and ambience. Then out of nowhere you’re assaulted by sizzling tendrils of synth-noise over the subtle bleeps of orca pods. Next up is “Dead Hunter”, completely chaotic overblown synth and the first one to feature proper vocals.
“Your City Crumbles” begins with sampled city sounds as the synth buzz begins to take control. What sounds like looped, and delayed subway noise and scrap yard bashing give way to a strange rhythmic section that reminds me a bit of early 90s Gabber and then the whole thing crashes back in on itself. “Mechanized Salvation” sounds like it was recorded in an abandoned subway tunnel. For me this project works best with a more minimal approach like this track. A couple of synth lines battling it out, one bottom heavy and the other shrill, over an ominous low-end hum. The disc ends with “None Shall Inherit The Earth”. This track begins as a beautiful, symphonic piece. Airy strings ebb and flow and then everything is shattered by un-fucking-godly screaming. It’s downhill from there as the track devolves into a blown out mess of sound and militant industrial rhythms. I understand the point, but frankly I would have preferred the classical sounds alone. That and a few of the songs being a little long for my tastes, none of the six are less than ten minutes, are my only real criticisms.
The disc is housed in and amazing 6 panel heavy stock cover with each track represented by different artwork on each of the panels. Limited to 500 numbered copies.
From Idwal Fisher.
I must admit I’ve grown to quite hate Might is Blight over the last week or so. From its weak pun of a title to its formulaic song structure to its role playing game soundtrack like qualities. At last, I really do have a CD with which to drive dinner guests away with. Never mind John Cage, The Shaggs or the Dylan boot of him stoned out of his head singing Lay Lady Lay. No, for in future when I have people here who wont shift its to Might is Blight that I shall turn. For here are the workings of a mind brought up on a mixture of computer games and industrial pap. A healthy diet of Nine Inch Nails and Tomb Raider has brought us to this: six tracks running to an hour and ten minutes that are as cliched a bunch of tracks as you are ever likely to hear, and that includes anything by Peter Andersson. Imagine the soundtrack to whichever roll playing game it is thats got the kids hitting on their parents for and you have Might is Blight. Accompanying a montage of Industrial cliches the samples come thick and fast; military drums, ringing phones, car crashes, crashing waves, approaching storms, seagulls, underwater bubbles, machine gun fire, traffic, passing trains … And dig those cerayzeee end of the world lets welcome the apocalypse titles; Dead Hunter [another weak pun], Your City Crumbles, Mechanized Salvation and None Shall Inherit The Earth. Don’t forget the fold out digi pak with art work depicting a jumbled mess of dead WWII soldiers, crumbling cities and rusting ship hulls either. And of course Its a numbered limited edition, oh natrulich. But who cares.
If I were an analyst I’d wager that Xiphod Dementia is an American male in his early 20’s who has [what he considers to be] healthy fixations on Columbine, cheer leader porn and the work of David Lynch. He spends his spare time buying Industrial records, going to gigs all over the mid west and categorising his atrocity clips on his computer [folder image Bud Dwyer blowing his head off].
It sounds as if Xiphod Dimentia has tried to capture the end of the world with the Might is Blight but has instead lumped in with the ‘Apocalyptic Ambient Power Electronics’ gang and boy do I not like them. Its summed up in the last track where a gloopy ambient refrain is abruptly interrupted by distorted anguished vocals before disappearing into cloud of radiated fall out and a short Geiger counter burp.
Please, no mas.