Boomkat Product Review:
Corrosive concréte noise fug from Estonian alchemist Mihkel Kleis, who splays ugly close-mic'd vox, horror movie synths and white noise bursts over screwed 'n damaged drum machine malfunctions and hard-edited squeals. Properly spannered material and not for the faint of heart - RIYL John Wiese, Aaron Dilloway, Pharmakon or Lussuria.
It's almost a slur to refer to Ratkiller's music as simply noise, but "Leather Squeaking Softly" is noisy as fuck. The Estonian producer - who moonlights as a museum security guard - adopts the aesthetic of industrial noise music, but augments it with the surrealist blur of sound collage as he haphazardly chops together angular jazz drums, melting ice recordings and filtered analog synth wails. It's like hearing a particularly adept DJ crack their fingers and take some risks on four decks, or like pushing yer head into a room while a band soundchecks, a radio is left on, a fridge is wide open and a CRT TV is flickering in the corner playing VHS tapes endlessly. Kleis describes the tape as a "rare glimpse into visions of being stuck in a whirlpool of forgotten debris and plastic remains, discarded non-recyclable objects and broken hi-fi equipment,".
The first side lurches thru soundscapes with conviction, cut-and-pasting garbled moans over ritual rhythms, and electrified car-crash/glass smash sounds over looped electronic pops and doomed FM drones. This isn't anonymous noise tape meandering: there's a palpable signature to Kleis's dense collages, harnessing the binary crunch of Mego's early catalog and drainpipe groan of a 1980s industrial tape simultaneously. But it's his carnivalesque, mischievous sense of excitement that makes "Leather Squeaking Softly" stand head and shoulders over the litany of noise albums. There's no self-satisfied posturing here, Kleis appears to be having fun challenging our expectations, inserting unanticipated blasts of sound and then removing them just as quickly as they appear
The second side is noticeably more psychedelic than the first, descending deeper into Kleis's sonic volcano with synthesized factory clangs, throaty gurgles, baby screams and tormented music box jangles. If this sounds nightmarish, it definitely is - but Kleis's sense of humor prevents it from feeling self-consciously dark. It's moody music, but produced with an awareness (and unique skill) that ends up fitting more snugly alongside the most delirious Aaron Dilloway jams, or John Wiese's hardcore-influenced concréte inversions. If you listen close enough, there's even a faint air of Fonal records' mystical forest psychedelia. Exactly our kinda shit, basically.