Aichi prefecture’s Noiseconcrete has appeared on this site a few times as one half of the duo Noiseconcrete x 3chi5, setting his abrasive inclinations at the nexus of noise, hardcore and industrial off against vocalist 3chi5’s otherworldly vocal wanderings. On this EP we find him unfettered by the soft/harsh dynamic of his other project and diving straight into the pandemic chaos of 2020 with explosive vigour. There have been a few tracks emerging from the Japanese underground that touch on the COVID-19 crisis, especially as more artists adapt to life making music under the radically changed circumstances the scene and its infrastructure finds itself in, but none tackle it as relentlessly and head-on as this EP, which weaves samples of news reports and political statements blandly announcing the creeping disintegration of normal life with short, intense bursts of apocalyptic machine hardcore and tortured electronic noise. The only track that pushes past 90 seconds or so is 3-mitsu, devoted to Japan’s “three Cs” catchphrase of avoiding closed spaces, crowded spaces and close contact — three rules that essentially shut down the entire punk and hardcore scene, which makes it perhaps telling that it’s the only track that really diverges from a hardcore sonic dynamic, instead building through a menacing crescendo of drone as a cacophony of overlapping voices builds in the background. Released at the beginning of May at the peak of Japan’s initial state of emergency, this EP is an eerie and atmospheric reflection of the creeping panic of the pandemic’s early days, infused with its own dry and occasionally goofy sense of situationist wit.