CD-R, self-released, 2003
The self-released “Thin Bony Scour” is the result of the work by Straiph, a Scottish experimental/ambient music one-man project that has been gathering some notoriety in the noise and experimental scenes. Straiph’s debut CD is also scheduled to be released some time this year although “Thin Bony Scour” may already be obtained from the author in CD-R form.
Straiph’s compositions are not particularly easy to classify, but may nevertheless be described as being essentially noise ambient soundscapes. These compositions range from very melancholic and introspective to rhythmic-oriented and extremely aggressive tracks, but also include a couple of tracks which can be considered as somewhat more conventional and accessible. Some of the particularly violent compositions in this album, like “Self harm” and “Chtonian”, might be adequate in power noise dance-floors.
The one thing that definitely makes Straiph interesting, and sets him apart from other noise projects, is the use of the human voice as material to create complex sound collages in his compositions. These sound collages are made with samples obtained at a zoological field station, the sounds being recorded mostly during daily ‘real life’ activities of the station personnel and then subjected to splicing, distortion, assembling and incorporated into a larger sound structure, not unlike the process of creating a graphical collage. In some tracks, the sound collages become chaotic, although with a definite underlying order to them so that one might even consider the term ‘fractal cacophony’.
In general, Straiph’s music can be said to be quite tense and oppressive. Paradoxically, some of the more ambient tracks, despite those characteristics, are also remarkably soothing despite the underlying tension. Almost as if one would be free of it after the more intense tracks.
Straiph’s sonorities might not be easy to apprehend (especially for the casual listener) and a certain degree of attention is surely required if one is to grasp all the subtle intricacies of his sound constructions. In any case, this is definitely a project which is worth checking out and discovering.
— Miguel de Sousa