ATWAR185REGLER - Regel #9 (Blues) LP

Released: Jun '17

The latest release from this power duo (I've just made up some music terminology there) is their best yet, and one I felt had to be on vinyl!

On their previous two records on At War, Regler have tackled harsh noise and heavy metal. Now I'm a big fan of both of these genres, and something I love equally is the blues. Regler doing the blues? What the fuck is that gonna sound like? Well, it doesn't sound like Howlin' Wolf, that's for sure! But then, Anders and Mattin are less about representing a sound and more about getting to the bottom of a genre, usually by taking it apart, or getting to the fulcrum of the style....or in this case, aggressively smashing the shit out of it until it surrenders.

On one long track over two sides of an LP, Regler haven't produced a deconstruction of the blues; rather a horrid bastardisation of the blues: playing an open riff and caveman drum beat over and over.....and over........and over.......and over again, post-produced with samples representing the multitude of fucked up things going on in the world in the past year. It's nearly an hour of unrelentingly bleak vibes. Is that not what the blues, in essence, is all about? The blues is - at root - reality, and this is what's shown bare here. Is it more horrible to hear a seemingly endless, turgid cacophony of guitar and drums with little variation or finesse, or to hear the death, pain and suffering that we're casually subject to at six o'clock every night with our egg and chips? Well, this record unsubtly asks that question!

The sound of the record is MASSIVE, and has been mastered beautifully to vinyl. Utterly heavy and taking no prisoners, it's like the first track on FETO by Napalm Death just kept going for the whole album. This isn't for the casual listener, but I guess if you're a casual listener of anything you a) won't be reading about a new REGLER record and b) won't be on this website.

Unjoy! (anti-copyright)

250 copies, pro sleeve, shrinkwrapped.

Radio plays:


brainwashed (USA, October 2017)

The latest installment in this duo’s quest to pervert well known forms of music may be its most difficult album yet.  On the surface it seems the most conventional:  a live performance of Anders Bryngelsson on drums and Mattin on guitar with the assistance of some backing tapes, but the way in which these two interpret the blues is anything but.   It is one of those records that is rather unpleasant to listen to, and that is exactly the point of it.

At War With False Noise

First of all, Regler's interpretation of the blues is a very loose one, but is still faithful to the basic nature of the style.  Latching on to the genre’s cyclic repetition, the main musical portion of the album is a plodding, repetitious blast of distorted guitars, primitive rhythms, and the occasional guttural growl.  The resemblance to Swans’ earliest recordings is undeniable, and fitting, given that Michael Gira himself has discussed numerous times the influence of Howlin’ Wolf and the like had on his band.

The second blues connection is, however, more thematic.  This record was captured live just over a year ago (September 23, 2016, in Berlin), foreshadowing the political turmoil that was soon to plague Western Civilization as we know it(hence the title).  Accompanying the music are multiple recordings from the news, European and American, and even when the language may not be familiar to these ears, the anger and frustration conveyed is universal.

Over the doomy throb the two create with their instruments, the aftermaths of terrorist attacks, police shootings in the United States, and pre-Brexit, pre-Trump protests are all captured here.  Besides just chanting, yelling, and speaking, there is more than a few instances of emergency sirens, police radios, and gunfire to really ramp up the tension and hammer home the unsettling nature of the music.  At times (and surely intentionally), the tapes are distinctly louder than the music being played, making the intent painfully apparent.

All the while, Bryngelsson and Mattin pound away, a dull throb that shifts and evolves as the performance goes on, but never loses focus.  On the second half the rhythm shifts up a bit, and the guitar alternates from low end sludge to shrill, metallic and feedback-laden.  Towards the end of the performance, the playing gets even more unhinged, fitting the tension that builds to a head, before collapsing on loops of sirens and an abrupt conclusion.

Regler #9 is admittedly a very unpleasant record.  Throughout I was definitely feeling the tension that was constructed as the performance went on, both from the tapes played and the music itself.  At this point though I feel as if performance has an even stronger impact, since those worst-case scenarios that are channeled via the protests and television news broadcasts have largely come to pass.  It is rhythmic, repetitive, and depressing as all hell, and I cannot think of a more fitting interpretation of the blues on such a macro scale.


yellowgreenred (Philadelphia September 2017)

My heart sank as I opened the box that this Regler LP came in the moment I saw the Regler name at the top. The last Regler release that came through here was one of my least-favorite Mattin projects, a big empty 12″ with the lingering sense of disappointment, but I did my duty and dropped Regel #9 (Blues) on my turntable anyway, maintaining my impressive dedication to properly informing my readership. And wouldn’t you know, it turns out that this newest “Regel” is pretty intense and discomfiting and raw, a concept that really delivers. The music consists of bass-guitar and drums, maintaining a monotonous two-note dirge beat (across both sides of the LP) while Mattin layers various recordings of social and political discontent: street riots, protest violence, loud arguing, people screaming over each other. These samples are slowly dispersed throughout, occasionally coming together in a deluge that truly recreates the panicked, fearful state of the first world, one guided by anger and resentment and hopelessness. Certain samples really stress me out, probably because this isn’t some sort of dystopian fantasy but all too real, and being reminded of it via Regler’s oppressive repetition can be a bit too much. I get the impression that “a bit too much” is exactly what Mattin was going for with this iteration of his Regler project, though. It’s the sort of audio document that stings right now but will be a valuable document for future generations to unearth and evaluate.

Quemada Records (New York, July 2017)
With Regel 9, Mattin (Billy Bao, etc) and Anders Bryngelsson from (Brainbombs, etc) present their take on the Blues. And it’s as heavy and brooding a take on the Blues as you’re going to hear. It’s also their most, ummm, engaging offering to date. You’ll catch yourself bobbing your head through most of it, even if you have a snarl on your face and your fists are clenched. It lurches with menacing lethargy across two sides of slow burn tension. The record provides an nice soundtrack to that moment when time slows to halt at the moment before catastrophe. A clarifying moment when it’s clear it was going to happen and you should have known.... That’s the blues.

collective-zine (August 2017)

My first brush with Regler, and on the basis of this I'm pretty sure it won't be my last. Things are painful. Incredibly painful. A slow, monotonous drum beat keeps pace while a primitive riff is repeated ad nauseam. This is the basis for the entire record, which clocks in at just under 30 minutes. It goes and it goes and it goes, seemingly because there is nothing much else for it to do. Variation is kept to a bare minimum, and while Swans and Legion Of Andromeda are ready touchpoints, I could also see this being 12 sax-free seconds of a God recorded looped until the ashes of the world slowly cool. Just in case the torpid churn of it all wasn't disheartening and enervating enough, things have been overlaid with soundbites and samples that remind you – as if you actually needed reminding – just what a truly awful species we truly are. Thanks, guys – thanks a lot.

Vital Weekly (August 2017)

With Regler exploring per release a whole musical genre, such as free jazz (see Vital Weekly 957),
dub (see Vital Weekly 966), harsh noise wall (see Vital Weekly 983), classical music (see Vital
Weekly 1015), Metal (see Vital Weekly 1034) it is now time for blues. I am not sure if Regler do
what I do if I don't know the answer, which asking the oracle, also known as Wikipedia; "Blues as
a genre is also characterized by its lyrics, bass lines, and instrumentation. Early traditional blues
verses consisted of a single line repeated four times. It was only in the first decades of the 20th
century that the most common current structure became standard: the AAB pattern, consisting
of a line sung over the four first bars, its repetition over the next four, and then a longer
concluding line over the last bars. Early blues frequently took the form of a loose narrative, often
relating the troubles experienced in African-American society." On September 23, 2016 the duo
of Mattin (on guitar) and Anders Bryngelsson (on drums) played at Urban Spree in Berlin, and
perhaps this is AAB pattern; how I do know, not being musical at all in that respect, with some
taped spoken word, audience interference and brutal approach to drums and guitar. I am not sure,
but to me it hardly seems like conventional blues music, which of course is totally fine. I do like the
rough and punky approach of these players very much though; there is a fine sense of urgency in
this concert, whether one calls this blues or not. I wonder which genre they will examine next. (FdW)