It’s pretty easy to fall for an artist with a name like Rene Hell. That his new album is really good feels almost like an incidental point.
On May 31, Type Recordings – the tireless experimental music label that’s acted as home for artists such as City Center, Peter Broderick, Grouper and Richard Skelton – will release Hell’s new album Porcelain Opera on CD and limited edition vinyl.
Rene Hell is an alter ego of Jeffrey D. Witscher, a cult figure within the US noise underground. Releasing mainly on cassette, Witscher has made music under a range of aliases including Marble Sky, Secret Abuse and Impregnable. With his work as Rene Hell he focusses on minimal synth and kosmische sketches, somehow managing to combine a grainy, shop-worn feel with the pertness and polish of techno. Less fluffy and redolent of the “new age” than the work of Witscher’s contemporaries Emeralds and Oneohtrix Point Never, Porcelain Opera has an agreeably gloomy, industrial sensibility about it, but one which is exerted through spacious, intuitively dub-wise sound design – listening to it puts us in mind of Monoton, Bernard Szajner, Pan Sonic or Prurient and Cold Cave in ambient mode.
Those who buy the vinyl edition of Porcelain Opera (which features leggy photographic cover art by Sasha Wiseman) will also receive a bonus 9-track CD album entitled Rogue Camera. The analogue electronics are really foregrounded on this excellent album, with a warm, pulsating John Carpenter vibe to tracks like ‘Coat Check Pen’ and ‘Club Outing (Version)’. Top stuff all round.
1. Razor. P+
2. Prize Mischief Hold
3. iV 18:54
4. C.G. Mask
5. L. Minx