Zeitkratzer - Whitehouse
Noise is not a genre, it’s an intention. At its finest, it represents the unbounded willingness to incorporate and utilise any instrumentation, stratagem or sonic effect to achieve human response. Sheer openness, however, is disturbing - like being the only person on a night-time road lit only by occasional orange streetlights. So, while noise now underpins much hip hop and dance music, it usually requires that rigid beat structure to be palatable to most.
Whitehouse are perhaps the apotheosis of unpalatability and best represent ‘noise’ as the playground of the perverse. Here, William Bennett contributes vocals - ranging from occasional gurgles to howls - to the forensically descriptive 'Daddo', like a private tape of Jimmy Savile appraising a victim. He then cedes the foreground, sinking into the shadows and allowing himself to exist as a murmured voice over the listener’s shoulder, too close for comfort.
This leaves the instrumental prowess of Zeitkratzer starkly spot-lit and they excel as the centre of attention. This is a fine release, a horror story barely requiring Bennett’s verbal embellishments to create tension. Rather than attempt to reproduce the gabbled spark and slicing electrics of many Whitehouse performances, they tread forward at a steadily unflinching pace. Acoustic instrumentation (clarinet, French horn) take a slow walk into darkness as the creaks and screeches of strings and wind pierce thudding percussion and growling bass.
The band displays a superb understanding of Bennett’s methodology. On the afore mentioned 'Daddo', his lyrics trap the listener in a moment without cathartic release – there’s no action, merely a clinically explicit set of observations, a grotesque licking of lips. Zeitkratzer match that timing, the listener is plunged into that moment and suspended there with no resolution permitted. Anticipation is where imaginings seize the heart and squeeze horror into one’s veins. These artists toy with your innards until the final moment when it all cuts to black.