Nils Quak is an artist possessing several identities and, with them, styles. On Aether, under his own name, his style is to grind away at you with dark, noise-based spaces. His sounds gnash, snarl and rasp in a fairly relentless onslaught against the listener. At times the work borders on unwelcoming, exhibiting a harshness that dares you to stay attached to it. What helps you hang on is when Quak drops in sounds that feel like he’s making a spontaneous, improvised decision. Unexpected glurgs of electronic sound get thrown into his established mosh of aggressive sonic mutations to get batted around. The fact that these decisions always seem correct is what makes you understand that Quak isn’t just reaching blindly or randomly. Aether is decidedly not about music; it’s about sound creation and manipulation in the moment, of muscling a response out of the listener by pushing their tolerance. Quak’s drones show a chord structure, but it’s clear they exist only as the floor around which his wilder elements careen and crash. This release is only 40 minutes long, but as it’s an endurance test, it feels longer. Hardy experimental-music and noise fans will find this to their liking. Others might be hard pressed to find a way in.
Available from Nomadic Kids Republic.