A few years ago the world was awash in rumors that Russia was preparing for nuclear war. You may have missed the impending apocalypse – it was an internet thing, spread via anonymous message boards, and the central character in this drama was an automated buzzing sound that pipped every 1.2 seconds over a shortwave radio frequency for decades. Nobody really knows for sure what UVB-76 was for (it seems like if there was an innocent explanation one would have been confirmed rather than rumored), but at some point the buzzing stopped, which lead to crazy stories about UVB-76 being a tripwire or a “dead hand” and the buzzing indicated that irrevocable, ominous decisions had been made – potentially even triggering a Russian “retaliatory” strike. It was a bit of X-Files and a bit of hysteria and fun if you forgot we were discussing nuclear holocaust, which is quite easy to do when you’re searching for signs and markers broadcast over the open air.
The apocalypse didn’t happen, which is p. nice, and the station is back on the air now albeit broadcasting a regular buzz with a much different sounding tone. But among the folklore that grew around the story is Session Extend, a new EP from a duo that take the callsign of the dead hand station as their own and blow up the buzzer’s regular pip as their art. “Extend” is properly brutal and ominous, setting a stylized homage to UVB-76’s original buzzer to a rhythm of hammered steel and exhaust pipes blowing off pressure. Tracks like “Extend” and “Rust” (which like several of the tracks use fast shuffling, distorted breakbeats as a beat matrix) are highly cinematic and when UVB are at their most dystopian and aggressive is when they’re at their best.
UVB76: Session Extend / Tabernacle Records
A1. UVB76: “Extend” (5:11)
A2. UVB76: “Ckahep” (4:52)
B1. UVB76: “Rust” (5:33)
B2. UVB76: “Helm” (4:05)
B3. UVB76: “Citizen” (4:48)