I’ve a thing for 1990s noise-tape comps, and here is one of my favorites, only partly so for the fact that I’m on it. Shroud, like the Zyon label itself, focused on ambient noise rather than noisecore, and was also one of the best-produced examples of its genre; the copies were home-dubbed but still cleaner than usual due to some semi-professional production work, and the inserts were color photocopies! Zyon was run by a guy known as Moth, based in Spokane, WA, and put this thing out in 1996.
There’s a disproportionate amount of material by some outfit called Hun-Tun (two tracks, one of them 12 minutes), I presume this is because the guy behind Hun-Tun was also responsible for the aforementioned production help, but it’s good stuff, sort of tribal electronic drums interwoven with ambient industrial sounds. Besides Moth himself there three other Zyon acts which for all I know might just be alter-egos of Moth. Not Breathing also gets an unusually large chunk of tape time on two tracks totaling near 16 minutes.
There are plenty of other notables, as well. The opening track is by Stone Breath, and is allegedly also the very first Stone Breath recording, and there are are also tracks by E H I, The Gynger Effect (an alter-project of Charlie Alien, better known for The Earwigs), Sonic Disorder and Aeons Of Agony (which was possibly also Sonic Disorder’s Erik Adams, at least the contact info is the same), Nosklplakia (a collaboration of Texas noise artist Richard Ramirez, better known for Black Leather Jesus, and Donna Mikli), and, representing Wheelchair Full Of Old Men is Dog Jovula.
And then, inexplicably, there’s me, a relative nobody from nowhere, otherwise known as Flight Attendants, represented by a five-minute excerpt of a very lo-fi twelve-minute track I submitted that was built around a jam I recorded on a karaoke machine with drum pads and a guitar at my friend Tim’s apartment at 4 AM while we were both coming down off some acid and Tim was sleeping, to which I later added some droney Casio keyboards on a 4-track. I received a very complimentary letter from Moth about it, in which he said it reminded him of multi-colored interlocking legos.
Another innovative aspect of Shroud for the time and scene it came out of is the way the tracks are cross-faded with each other so that the sound is continuous with no breaks or pause-button noises. This made for a cool listening experience, but was a bit of a challenge for me in digitizing it since I wanted to break it into separate tracks, and also because there is a lot of volume fluctuation from one track to another that I felt the need to address with some normalizing. I think overall, however, the results hold up well if you stick them in a playlist.