Zaft 011   Various Artists   Merry Christmas

Track Listing:

  1. Ovum: Santa Goes AWOL
  2. V.L.A.D. the Impaling Machine: I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
  3. CAT: Hoo-Ray For Santy Claus
  4. Free Death: Little Drummer Boy
  5. R4: Christmas Eve: Bullet Train to Polar North
  6. DJ Doll: nowtruoygninnociswalcatnasw/berafnafgniffutssamtsirhc
  7. Lefthandeddecision: H.A.M.F.C.
  8. Stolen Light: Carol of the Drones
  9. Christmas Trees: Xmesstrees
  10. Free Death: Sleigh Ride
  11. V.L.A.D. the Impaling Machine: Frosty the Snowman
  12. Goose: I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

I was sitting in class one day discussing noise with one of the other graduate students. He asked if I had released a Christmas album yet, since everyone did a Christmas album at one point or another. Christmas was fast approaching, and it sounded like a good idea, but rather than do it on my own, I decided that I would have other artists help me out. With this, the first compilation on Zaftig Research was born.

Here is a review from Grinding into Emptiness:

It was a frigid winter night. The cold was biting my toes and Christmas was fast approaching. I was sitting at the computer reading emails when a surprisingly festive proposition was posted to a noise mailing list I'm on. Brett Lunceford, Zaftig Research labelhead, was attempting to instigate a Christmas noise comp on a whim -- there were only two weeks left before the 25th. "Imagine a noise Christmas CD as a stocking stuffer," he wrote, hoping the noisicians on the list would gather 'round like children at a camp fire and join him in a carol. Some people thought it was a great opportunity to incite a holiday riot: "Electrocute Santa! Burn wrapping paper! Smash ornaments!" Others simply adapted holiday favorites to their own demented musical aesthetic. It turned out great. Sweden's Ovum kicks off the festivities with the gritty "Santa Goes AWOL." It sounds like a mic was placed inside of someone's stomach after ingesting rotten eggnog. Curdled churns squirm around as the acid eats away the microphone, reducing it to squealing feedback. The first two minutes of CAT's track are hijacked by a sampled and manipulated kids quire performing a swingin' rendition of "Hoo-Ray For Santy Claus." In the last half a noisey recovery is made, however, with mechanical percussion and a growly bassline stewed up with some great vocal clips. V.L.A.D. the Impaling Machine is the only project on this CD that I wasn't familiar with, and his two tracks were a great introduction. "I Saw Mommy Kiss Santa Claus" is a rough around the edges, drummachine-driven track all cuddled up under a fuzzy blanket of distortion. Harsh vocals lacerate the tunes with a viscous angst. V.L.A.D.'s take on "Frosty the Snowman" tones down the aggression to deliver one of the few authentic cover songs of a well-known carol. The same drummachine pummels and looped samples repeat from start to finish. DJ Doll cooks up a spastic yet happy sounding holiday diddley, which sounds like a swarm of chipmunks parading around on amphetamines. It's really just a hyper-active "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" cover... at least I think that's the chorus I'm hearing over and over. This track also has the most radio-friendly title on the disk, "nowtruoygninnociswalcatnasw/ berafnafgniffutssamtsirhc." Now seriously, what the fuck does that mean? At least Lefthandeddecision's HAMFC acronym is decipherable into a short and sweet "Have A Merry Fucking Christmas". This is LHD at its finest. The sampled vocal melody near the end of the track is an alien element to Phil Blank's distortion-based sound, and it works really well. Free Death sent in a laid back droning piece with yet more chipmunkified vocal samples, this time used sparingly. R4's "Christmas Eve: Bullet Train to Polar North" resembles more of the "Little Drummer Boy" than Free Death's actual cover, with a sampled line or two sneaking it's way into the mix. Christmas Trees take the holiday riot approach- it sounds like a room full of people screaming, yelling, talking and, above all, making a hell of a lot of noise. Lunceford is pretending he's in a marching band of sorts with Stolen Light's "Carol of the Drones," a simple repetition of heavily distorted percussion. Brett's other project, Goose, ends the disc on a lighter ambient note. He recites some poetry, manipulated of course, over soft, foggy drones that have a very cold, winter-like quality. "We're sure that this will become one of your holiday favorites," the disc's liner notes boast. The fact that it's the only Christmas CD I own doesn't matter, it's number one with a bullet!