Machine Gun Nest: Cassette Works, Vol. 0 acts as the perfect primer for the Hospital Productions artist and sound engineer, showing off his varied styles, evolutions and influences, says Daniel Jones.
Last year I wrote an article about how I learned to appreciate techno through the lens of its harsher cousin industrial electronics, as injected by Hospital Productions. There’s a rare and special joy in discovering a new musical genre that you don’t often get as an adult, especially as one who listens to music for a job, and since the time of publishing I’ve discovered plenty of names to immerse myself in—Monolith, Huerco S., and G.H. to name a few. But Hospital Productions has a sort of saucy, fuck-off rawness in its artist roster that makes it my prime source of inspiration in this field, and no name has peaked my interest more lately then Alberich.
One of a variety of projects from Hospital’s sound engineer Kris Lapke, Alberich first caught my attention due to his beautiful synth contributions on HP boss Dominick Fernow’s 2011 Prurient masterpiece Bermuda Drain. This subsequently led to me purchasing Psychology of Love, playing it until I knew it backwards and forwards, and then promptly forgetting about it for some reason. It was the release of Machine Gun Nest: Cassette Works, Vol. 0 that drew him back into my ears. As the title implies, you could previously only hear these tracks on short-run cassette tapes, or if some kind soul happened to upload a rip. Now they’re available to those of us who missed these limited editions, and to those whose beloved cassette decks are still locked in a storage unit in New Jersey. (I miss you, Cassettey Betty.)
For those who’ve yet to discover Lapke, Machine Gun Nest is an excellent starting point in his punishing world. In fact, it acts as a primer for the artist himself, showing off his varied styles, evolutions and influences. Pummeling power electronic bruisers like “Rumbala” and “Snow Is Falling In The Ruins Of Stalingrad” (off the White Eye of Winter Watching compilation, highly recommended) sit side by side with the sleazy synthpunk of “Panerial” and “Open Warfare” and the dub-haunted techno beast “Image of Progress“; mutant relations declaring ordered destruction upon the ears and soul. Lapke’s engineering shines most, however, in his heartbreakingly beautiful and haunting synth constructions. “Gold” hearkens back to Bermuda Drain‘s Carpenter-esque terrors, while “No Mistake” suffocates with the sound of slow, roiling gray eternity—empty but for the echo of the Void. It’s the towering, pulsating “Virgins“, however, that stands as one of his finest pieces of work. The searing synths roil like a wall of flame, building steadily beneath the pulse of a god and a might of a military drumbeat to close the album like a tomb for humanity.
The pleasures I’ve reaped from Lapke, Fernow and Co. have influenced me as a musician, a DJ and a clubgoer, and continue to do so. There’s a feeling in the air lately that more and more young musicians are discovering the harsher and shadier sides of electronic music. To any reading, I say keep it up, and if you ever feel your inspiration dipping I recommend lying in a cold, dark room with this on. Lose yourself in the power of noise—and to the beauty beneath it.˜
Machine Gun Nest: Cassette Works, Vol. 0 is out now on Hospital Productions.