Nic Endo — White Heat (1998; reissue 2013, Digital Hardcore)
One of the least “accessible” records on the Digital Hardcore label (which is saying something!) yet also one of the most impressive. An earth and eardrum shattering release by Nic Endo from 1998, White Heat is not only a superb solo debut, this release also proved that the DHR label was capable of exploring the extremities of sonic art and wasn’t solely committed to the electro-punk and hardcore trappings of the Berlin scene in the 1990s. Cascading sheets of pure, unadulterated sounds blister your speakers for 35 minutes. Hip-hop samples aren’t just buried in the mix, they’re absolutely decimated by it. Shards of white noise, computer glitches, and microphonic feedback rage like a tempest, guaranteed to nail you square in the nose. In a fleeting moment of respite, “Don’t Interrupt” hears a brief bit of tape hiss followed by 10 seconds of deafening silence. When the sonic tumult resume, it hits twice as hard. The 2013 reissue of this LP is finds itself supplemented with “Walking, Dancing, Falling.” The addition takes the record to the next level. Endo ventures into Cluster territory — if Cluster were born in a divided city and embodied the disillusionment and despair of late-capitalism in place of their pastoral experimentalism and the hope ubiquitous with the Wirtschaftswunder. If the first five tracks are the flurry of punches that leave the listener on the mat, this is the sound of said listener’s head swirling. A great addition to an already superlative release that surely ranks among the finest harsh noise release ever.