CD-R, Some Place Else, 2007
Reptiljan makes noise. Proper noise. Not rhythmic industrial or hard distorted techno but real noise. While the term has been increasingly misappropriated by the industrial, techno and breakcore scenes to refer to the harshest examples of those styles it should be clear that real noise has no rhythm, structure or repetition. Noise is noise, not music! If it has a beat it’s not noise.
Having established which is noise (harsh arrhythmic soundscapes) and which is not (music) there are then really just two simple questions to be asked of a particular recording. Is it powerful? Yes. Is it interesting? And that’s possibly what makes noise something more suitable for live performance, provided that the artist tends towards the more visual and confrontational appearances. Luckily, the Finnish artist Reptiljan makes noise which is as powerful as can be hoped for and maintains the listener’s interest with a varied output of constantly changing sounds and textures.
“Archaeodermophagia” is the latest release from Reptiljan and the most striking feature is definitely the unique hand made packaging, which contains materials pertaining to be hair and blood, and comes in a limited edition run of 104 copies. The long-winded title refers to the eating of old skin and is thought to allude to Reptiljan’s return to the pure noise of his 2002 debut album after a temporary diversion into more beat driven territory. The main progression here is the conversion from working with digital means to completely analogue sound sources, and the dilution of noise with some surprisingly musical elements is the principal way in which this album stands out from the noise crowd.
The overall tone of the CD is a perversely pleasurable mixture of disturbing and exciting, at times the sounds really forcing themselves into your skull and causing real physical responses from the rest of the body. But there are plenty of quieter moments, from the opening, dread inducing minutes of “Qliphothic Hollow”, to the welcome pause for breath during the surprisingly titled “Cheerleaders Untied”. “Day Before Fire” contains a curious mixture of noise, malfunctioning computer sounds and cheeky wee jazz interludes, while classical music lovers can enjoy the operatic strains of “Metsänpeittoon”. “Fireflies” I and II test patience to the maximum with the most painful high-end noise and the most random stop start patterns, while the award for best song name has to go to the jagged and tortuous “Never Let Go (Rock & Roll)”, which really is rather inspired on an album containing nothing resembling that most popular of musical forms!
— Nathan Clemence