Russell Haswell’s stock and trade has been in the physicality of sound. Whether it has been part of his “Live Salvage” albums or his field recordings it has been an essential part of his work. Due to his increasingly prolific release schedule coupled with his more recent exploration of beat-centric pieces it was perhaps inevitable that at some point he’d release something like “As Sure As Night Follows Day”. By far his most accessible outing it still has all the qualities that have defined his sound: electro-acoustic experimentation, sonic shrapnel, and a flagrant disregard for convention. Yet by giving his songs a sense of structure, however chaotic and noisy, he ultimately adds to their charm.
A few of the pieces on “As Sure As Night Follows Day” are reminiscent of EVOL’s fondness for rave deconstruction. Unlike EVOL Russell Haswell’s album opts for a greater level of accessibility providing such guidance like beats, discernible rhythms, even handclaps and other rave standards. In order to show that he remains committed to noise the pieces continually mess with listener expectations, at times flirting with a sense of rhythm while at the same time subverting it. This means that his work has the spirit of rave culture, opting out of the easy smoothed out nostalgic lens that permeated Jamie XX’s “In Color” release. Going for the hard sounds that have defined his work help to give these songs an edge that would make even Powell’s hard techno approach seem tame in comparison.
For the first two tracks Russell Haswell teases, refusing to settle into any sort of coherent structure. The hinting at it shows his work at a crossroads avoiding outright noise yet not quite easy listening. “Wholly Unaware” rears its ugly, distorted, volume-centric head and provides a rather cathartic release, helping the previous two tracks to make more sense in context. A true testament to his impressive skill at using every possible frequency at his disposal (courtesy of his long-standing work in the noise community both as a solo singular artist and in various collaborations with artists like Yasunao Tone, Merzbow, Pain Jerk, etc.).
“Rave Splurge nO!se FM” sees him in his familiar role as noise monger going for the harshest possible textures. Self-explanatory is the almost in real time feel of “Improvisation #1” with its near-martial beat alongside its rather loose feel. One of the biggest surprises of the album is the seemingly straightforward “Gas Attack” whose synthesis reveals that sometimes he uses a subtle touch. On “Interlude” Russell Haswell employs grating textures that would not be out of place on a Hecker album, pushing the sounds to the absolute maximum threshold of discomfortable listening.
Towards the latter half of the album the embrace of a peculiar form of rave music becomes noticeably more prominent. Certainly this is true for the elastic sounds of “Drive (Minimal)” and the industrial-tinged metallic beats of “Heavy Handed Sunset”. By far the best tracks are the last few where Russell Haswell reveals a deft hand at creating absolute overbearing and dominating sounds, whether it is the pummeling rhythms of “Confirmation Of Our Worst Fears” and the satisfyingly giddy work of “Extended Industry Knowledge (For Oscar)”. Ensuring that his prowess as a master of pure uncut sonic chaos remains untouched he ends the album with the maelstrom that is “nO!se Rave”.
Released on the increasingly adventurous noise-dance hybrid Diagonal this is by far Russell Haswell’s most visceral and satisfying release. With “As Sure As Night Follows Day” Russell Haswell joins a growing number of experimental artists capturing the sheer intensity of rave culture through relentless aural assault.