To this day, Nicholas Bullen is best known as a founding member of arguably grindcore’s most important act: Napalm Death. Although he decided to call it a day before the band slipped into the mainstream circuit, his sonic fingerprints were all over their influential debut Scum, and he’s been breaking boundaries ever since. A key figure in Birmingham’s experimental scene, Bullen was also a founder member of Scorn and has been involved in a variety of projects since.
Over thirty years later we arrive to ‘Component Fixations’, an album that Bullen has been contemplating, working and reworking for some time. It is after all his solo debut proper, and as such is a work that absolutely represents him as an artist both visually and aurally. Taking influence from the early electronic artists of the 1960s Bullen has fused this passion with his own musically explorative past, resulting in an album of beguiling tape-manipulations, drones and noise. Component Fixations is far more than a simple exercise in academic sound, and Bullen has injected his long-form pieces with a rare mortal sense of corruption and failure. Every single sound on the album was taken from field recordings captured in the confines of Bullen’s house and garden, and this only serves to confirm the unshakable humanity of the record.
Component Fixations might be a long way from ‘Scum’, but dig deep and you’ll find the same curious mind, desperate to pull apart sounds and give them a brand new meaning. Extreme doesn’t have to mean loud, after all.