Review from The Quietus

In a recent, characteristically combative interview in The Wire, Dylan Nyoukis was keen to champion the exploration of a diverse range of noises and textures in opposition to the all too often one-dimensional monolith of Noise as a codified genre. Hardly a surprise, then, that his own work scuttles around in its own singular sound world with an organic contentment. Never one to chase after the ritualized mirage of the crescendo, on Carrion Hut the erstwhile Blood Stereo man infuses his pieces with prickly, invasive gurgles and rumblings. Originally a limited run CD-R found ensconced inside early editions of 2009’s Inside Wino Lodge, Carrion Hut now sees a deserved stand alone release under the auspices of the joyously consistent Singing Knives label.

The five tracks on this vinyl re-issue were recorded over four years from 2003 onward, lending the release a pleasing variety. ‘The Frosted Growth’ is an exercise in muddy barbarism; Nyoukis non-verbal snarls multitracked into a paranoid ooze that revels in its own ugliness. It’s a gleeful incantation that recalls the genuinely unsettling soundtrack work of Blood Stereo collaborator and Fluxus-inspired multidisciplinary artist Ludo Mich. Like Mich, there is something of the eternal prankster about Nyoukis vocal manipulations and rackety anti-percussive creaks, which can sometimes distract from his wider thematic preoccupations, namely a brutally realist approach to psychedelia through ritual. This is best captured on ‘Late Night Vocal Gravy’, a side long experiment in the rendering of hallucination through sound in which Nyoukis patiently channels psychological dysfunction through bodily suffering and blurts it out into his tape deck.

Yet amid the cantankerous bluster and fondness for sounds that mainstream convention dictates to be somehow “ugly”, Carrion Hut’s greatest achievement is in making the undesirable fun. ‘Strange New Ache’ retains an intense empathy. A text-based piece recited by a selection of alternate male and female voices, it’s a Kafkaesque whirligig that emphasizes the timbral individuality of the vocalist even as they garble and malform each and every syllable. You get the feeling Nyoukis might have stumbled upon his forte here. In the past some of his collaborative work has tended (probably deliberately) to carpet bomb his co-conspirators into some form of submission, yet when engaging with the more authorial possibilities offered up by composition, he is oddly adept. “These strange new muscles have started to ache, these new muscles won’t stop aching…” is the mantra in question and its hard not to come away with the feeling that this is a pretty apt distillation of the Nyoukis modus operandi. Like an animalistic satire of a society that has gorged itself silly on everything from junk food to credit ratings there is vulgarity in abundance on Carrion Hut, but that isn’t even half the story. Dig a little deeper, and you’ll be rewarded with a record that manages to humanize discomfort in the least pretentious way possible.

Daniel Baker, The Quietus, January 2011