Various - _Needlepoint_
(Varicocele Records, 1999)
by: Gabriel Sanchez (7.5 out of 10)
_Needlepoint_ proves to be another in a long line of noise compilations which features tracks of sheer brilliance that make you want to stand up and shout to the world, "I'm a noise fan, and I'm damn proud of it!" while delivering others that send you on a mad dash to hit the fast-forward button. In the case of _Needlepoint_, however, they have wisely divided up their compilation. The first side features the sultans of swat themselves with artists such as Kazumoto Endo, Stimbox and Skin Crime topping off the list, while the second dives straight down (way down... keep going... hit the bottom? There you go...) into the realm of ambient-esque, atmospheric noise. So basically one is left knowing that side 1 equates out to "Good, Great, Wonderful!" and side 2 is sitting somewhere between "Turn This Shit Off" and "Johnny Fetch My Gun". Some may state that atmospheric noise has its place and I tend to agree it does have its place... in the dumpster out back. When one is treated to such masterful work such as that of a Kazumoto Endo or Skin Crime (who I should note win extra Brownie Points (tm) for titling their track "Mountain Dew Is My Life's Blood"), it is hard to stomach the works of artists who revolve their entire overly drawn out tracks around just a handful of sounds. While the compilation certainly doesn't feature the worst atmospheric styled noise I have ever heard, even the well executed style falls short in long run. It is by the good graces of some divine force that the first half of this compilation delivers on such a high level that those artists who are collected together for the second half are easily laid to the wayside and forgotten about. The compilation as a whole is well worth purchasing for the first side alone, which leaves an entire back side to be used for dubbing your friend's Sugar Ray CD or getting a nice static infested version of Pearl Jam's rip-off of "Last Kiss" from your local Top 40 station. In that sense, I suppose it's not all that bad after all.

Contact: Varicocele Records, 503 E St., Davis, CA 95616, USA

(article published 12/8/1999)


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