Secret Thirteen Mix 206 - Silk Saw

Silk Saw of Sub Rosa, Kota and Ant Zen record labels

Photo by Lukas Vangheluwe

Gabriel and Marc of Silk Saw (Kotä, Ant-Zen, Sub Rosa) have made a feverish mix of noise, drone, free improvisation and much more (listen/download now)

Silk Saw is one of the shiniest jewels within Belgium’s splendid industrial crown. The duo of Gabriel Séverin and Marc Mœdea has been active since the early 90’s, pushing out completely unorthodox music under a number of different guises. Both have been busy over the years, building on their joint and separate artistic endeavors, such as Gabriel’s Rob(u)Rang project and Marc’s Individual project, to name a few of the many. Silk Saw itself began as a “toned down”, more concrete (less concrète) version of Jardin D’Usure - a guise the pair released music under on Sub Rosa. Nevertheless, it seems neither of the two were cut out to make music that was particularly well defined or followed an accepted formula for success. Silk Saw’s output is difficult to categorize and is probably best-described by naming its attributes: it’s noisy; it often has fast-paced, intricate and broken rhythm patterns; it is cinematic, disorienting and occasionally cacophonous. Some of Silk Saw’s tracks feel like collages due to the unexpected and plentiful use of field recordings or the high number of diverse ideas within the space of a single track. After 8 years since their 2006 8 Reports LP on Ant-Zen, the project emerged in 2015 with the Imaginary Landscapes LP (Kotä Records), mainly built on old material. If anything, this mix screams the truth that there are still tons of ideas and inspirations in Silk Saw - hopefully we will hear at least a fraction soon.

Secret Thirteen Mix 206 is a cleansing ritual. Silk Saw have created an almost two-hour long collection of tracks that is as varied as it is raw and unnerving. We start with the dissonant strings of Giacinto Scelsi that morph through the screeching noise of Organum into the deep drones of Sunn O))) - a beginning to illustrate a point about sticking to one theme. Before the mix ends on the grind metal classic of Carcass’ Reek of Putrefaction (oh, how I have missed you!), we are subjected to a myriad of sudden sonic U-turns and sinkholes, all in the name of making forced marriages of sound to sound violently happy if not harmonious. Needless to say, Nurse With Wound, M.E.S.H., Pan Sonic, Autechre and other perpetrators of music on this list are in tune with Silk Saw’s fascinating agonistic vision. There is much bravery and optimism to be learned from a collage where musique concrète classics, such as Michael Snow’s Falling Starts, and William Bennet’s Whitehouse live in such seemingly-uncomfortable proximity. If we had to pick just one moment of genius out of the many on here, it would be the point where Silk Saw make the Virgin Prunes sound like a possessed Föllakzoid.

A visual equivalent for Silk Saw’s mix might be John Ferren’s The Witch Doctor, which shows a unity that is rather an assemblage of parts invading each other and reaching outside with all their might - even if it kills them.


01. Giacinto Scelsi - Vincent Royer, Séverine Ballon - The Viola Works - Xnoybis I-III [Mode, 2011]
02. Organum - Volume 2 - Valley of Worms [Robot Records, 2000]
03. Sunn O))) - Monoliths & Dimensions – Big Church [megszentségteleníthetetlenségeskedéseitekért] [Southern Lord, 2009]
04. Earth - A Bureaucratic Desire for Extra-Capsular Extraction - Ouroboros is Broken [Southern Lord, 2010]
05. Nurse With Wound - Für Ilse Koch (compilation) - Fashioned To A Device Behind A Tree [Come Organisation, 1982]
06. Nurse With Wound - The Sylvie And Babs Hi-Fi Companion - Great Balls of Fur [L.A.Y.L.A.H. Antirecords, 1985]
07. Michael Snow - Musics For Piano, Whistling, Microphone And Tape Recorder - Falling Starts [Chatham Square Production, 1975]
08. Delia Derbyshire and Elsa Stansfield - Circle of Light, Pt. 1 [Trunk Records, 2016]
09. Krzysztof Penderecki - Dies Irae - Polymorphia [Polskie Nagrania Muza,1968]
10. Tanzania Instruments Tanganyika 1950 - Kikobele Kiluba [Historical Recordings By Hugh Tracey, 2003]
11. D/P/I - Composer - Escape [Shelter Press, 2016]
12. Autechre - elseq 1–5 - TBM2 [Warp Records, 2016]
13. Gyorgy Ligeti - 2001: A Space Odyssey (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) - Overture:Atmospheres [Rhino Movie Music, 1996]
14. Emptyset - Medium - Mirror [Subtext, 2012]
15. Silk Saw - Rehearsal 09 11 2016 [unreleased, 2016]
16. Mother Tongue - Open In Obscurity - Words [Touch, 1988]
17. Hugh Tracey - The Music of Africa Series - Musical Instruments 3 - Drums - Ganda - Kyuma [Kaleidophone, 1972]
18. M.E.S.H. - Piteous Gate - Methy Imbiß [Pan, 2015]
19. My Disco - Severe - 1991 [Temporary Residence Limited, 2015]
20. Föllakzoid ‎– Föllakzoid EP - III [Sacred Bones Records, 2011]
21. Virgin Prunes - Hérésie – Rhetoric [L'Invitation au Suicide, 1982]
22. Khanate - Things Viral - To Close Enough to Touch [Southern Lord, 2003]
23. Whitehouse - Cream of the Second Coming - Thank Your Lucky Stars [Susan Lawly, 1990]
24. Panasonic - Osasto EP – Uranokemia [Blast First, 1996]
25. Russell Haswell - As Sure As Night Follows Day - Wholly Unaware [Diagonal, 2015]
26. Ike Yard - Ike Yard - NCR [Factory America, 1982]
27. Bronze Teeth - O Unilateralis - Glass Tooth [Diagonal, 2014]
28. Container - Vegetation EP – Soak [Diagonal, 2016]
29. Krzysztof Penderecki - Music Excerpts From The Motion Picture The Exorcist -Kanon for Orchestra and Tape [Warner Bros. Records, 1974]
30. Consumer Electronics - Dollhouse Songs - Condition of a Hole [Harbinger Sound, 2015]
31. Henri Pousseur - 8 Études Paraboliques – Liebesduett [Sub Rosa, 2001]
32. Nurse With Wound - Second Pirate Session - Rock'N Roll Station Special Edition- Sugarbush Vs. The Swinging Snares [United Dairies, 1998]
33. Individual – Shrapnel [unreleased, 2016]
34. Carcass - Reek of Putrefaction - Genital Grinder [Earache, 1988]

About Author

Tadas Švenčionis is a Secret Thirteen editor and journalist. He organizes the occasional event in Lithuania and is obsessed with the harsh, the sad, the delirious, and the political.

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