The project People In The Walls, release some of the most visceral, jarring, and candid songs the world has ever heard. Throughout his latest album, “What Noise Do They Make” he’s pushed boundaries and tested limits wherever he could, whether it is by mutating synth-pop and darkwave into heavy industrial sounds or by simply trying to discover the limits of electronic music. We’ve combed over all of the album’s 14 tracks to hear what this project has to offer, picking out the treasures, best grooves, dynamic moods, and even those moments that mirror People In The Walls’ experimental work, until we were left with the best representation of what makes this artist so menacingly interesting. It’s clear that artist is answering to his own impulses here, and his search to place himself in a constantly changing music landscape occasionally yield thrilling results.
The music on “What Noise Do They Make” channels competing impulses of urgency and ambivalence. Powered by insistent beats and seesawing bass riffs, the tracks strips away much of the electronic excess apparent elsewhere in today’s music market and aims for a more visceral, raw sound.
Track by track the album becomes more arresting as you spend time with it, a testament to People In The Walls’ ability to squeeze incredible mileage from a well-defined sonic palette. Right from the opening track – “My Hammer” – the ringing synthesizers and raw percussive elements evoke the atmosphere of a post-apocalyptic bonfire.
“Mushroom King” is the perfect drug. A grinding bass line is the backbone of the groove, but it’s the airy keyboard motifs and thumping drums that lands this one somewhere between the sawmill and the strip club hedged in the echoes of your mind.
Things get even more ominous on the sinister sounding “Carnival of Chaos”. In steering away from mainstream sounds and toward more uncompromising soundscapes, People In The Walls seems to be seeking to shape a sustainable creative blueprint for his career.
The tracks dwell in rhythmically powerful ambience, where gnashing synths and tidal waves of percussion all but suck the air out of the sulfuric atmosphere. Within moments, you know this is not in the same universe that breeds the pop-adjacent electronic dance music.
Although there are more expansive outward-looking beats, like “Tentacle Bells” or “The Girl Who Died Twice” which has an almost playful melody and whistle motif, notwithstanding – or maybe because of – the song title. It’s not long however before the earth-shuddering bass and slow burn beat returns on “Skeleton Dance”.
To listen to this album is to engage in the sonic equivalent of a 14-round boxing match, where People In The Walls provides his listeners with only a few fleeting chances to back up for air. “What Noise Do They Make”, contains glints of exploration tempered by maturity and consistency. Standouts come fast and furiously, like “Starship”, “Paranoid Martian”, “Amazed By Nothing” and “Electric Composition”.
With or without any predetermined context, this instrumental album stands as a most unexpected and challenging work. I would imagine that People In The Walls’ sonic vision is perfectly realized with the release of this album, completing his intense, mind-warping creativity that refuses to fit any shape or mold. This is electronic music in its rawest form, an expression from deep within, without any care for convention or crowd-pleasing – and it is excellent in that sense.