Boomkat Product Review:
A must-have Early Industrial V-O-D: Steve Hitchcock’s Sheet Tape Registered Black 1977 - 1979 documents the pre-NON Boyd Rice collaborator grinding out uncompromising tape loops and avant-garde noise during his first year at university in San Diego. Alongside the 5xLP NON boxset and the archival Robert Turman LP also out this week, you can basically own the birth of West Coast US industrial music in your mucky mitts.
Steve Hitchcock was clearly that guy at university, the one with his own mail art ‘zine, Cabaret Voltaire, and a most unhealthy stack of outsider, free improvisation, krautrock, early punk and classical avant-garde LPs in his collection. It was through his ‘zine that Hitchcock established correspondence with COUM Transmissions (the proto-TG unit) and became heavily involved with the nascent industrial music movement .
The 16 tracks inside Sheet Tape Registered Black 1977 - 1979 are some of the most feral, atonal examples of this era and sound that we’ve ever encountered beyond COUM or TG, even making the NON stuff seem pretty and playful by comparison.
On the A-side each piece seems to be constructed around jagged, sawn-off loops and intersected by stray radio waves at oblique angles, never ever resolving as a melody or stable rhythm in thee most primitive yet innovative early industrial style. However, he does alter the palette on the B-side, allowing some life in via recordings of kids screaming, yowling in the final parts of Sheet Tape…, and committing one of the record’s biggest highlights with ten minutes of angular rhythmic noise in Coal Hoist Winch Room that’s almost worth the price of entry alone (if you’re into that kind of thing!).