While Yasutoshi Yoshida is not nearly as prolific as he was in the early days of Government Alpha, the result has been a "quality over quantity" approach, much like the Incapacitants, and the opposite extreme from the likes of Merzbow and Dissecting Table. This not only makes each new release something I look forward to, but also seems to ensure what he does put out stays of exceptional quality. Exemplified by this single: no shtick, no pretense, just a great 7" from one of the masters.
In a noise world filled with poorly dubbed but ultra limited tapes and a multitude of sloppy CDRs thrown together almost as an afterthought, there is a nostalgic charm about this single, reminding me of my earliest forays into the genre. Back then an Aube or Pain Jerk 7" was something special. Due to the cost of pressing, it was a release that both the artist and label took very seriously. Altars of Precogs has that same feeling to it, albeit with full color art of Yoshida's collage work rather than those older Xeroxed sleeves.
The wet, sloppy undulating noise of "Flux" has a kinetic feel to it, not going for the stagnant wall noise thing, but at the same time being a bit more consistent than the jumpy quick edits of a Pain Jerk track. Acidic sheets of noise, slowed down dental drills, and cosmic flanged tones cluster together in complex, intermingling layers.
On the flip side, "Purge" sounds like screeching tires and sine wave drones, slowly rising and falling over chirpy noise bursts. It has a relentless push, but has a more stuttering and erratic feeling compared to the expansive waves of "Flux". Towards its end it comes across like an engine that is ready to die at any moment, but continues chugging on a bit longer until it comes to its inevitable end.
This may sound like a backhanded compliment, and by no way do I mean it to, but Altar of Precogs is simply a great noise single, nothing more. It does not need to be anything else. Yoshida continues his streak of making compelling noise that sounds like him, but never becomes lost in a cloud of monotony. Highly recommended for any fan of noise, old school or new…just a solid, respectable slab of harsh noise by one of the best practitioners.
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