Birchville Cat Motel and Yellow Swans (Important) 2006 / Birchville Cat Motel – Chi Vampires (C.Psi.P)


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I fucking love the Yellow Swans. They were the first noise band I dabbled with after I consumated my flirtation with Wolf Eyes. Rather than the brutal skull fuckery of Wolf Eyes, Yellow Swans use frequency and atmospherics to conjure up their unique brand of noise demons. They revel more in crackle, throb and hiss than shock and awe.

Birchville Cat Motel is a one man band from New Zealand. I haven’t heard much of what he’s done which may be because most of his back catalogue has been deleted and, well, how the fuck to you hear it when you can’t buy it. I did however manage to pick up his Chi Vampires record in Sydney recently. Chi Vampires is almost organic when you hold it up to the rest of the noise scene. It’s pastoral, ambient, black metal or maybe even soft, ethereal, brutal noise. The closest comparison I can think of is a experimental, electronic Earth circa Hex. It’s great and I highly recommend it.

I don’t know what it is, but once Yellow Swans decide to team up with other noise artists the results are certainly a mixed bag. I recently came into possession of their outing with The Cherry Point, Live at Camp Blood. Now that is the most horrendous thing I’ve heard in quite a while. There is no light just an unrelenting maw of the most extreme noise. It’s a sadistic slice of ear-buggery.

Likewise there is little light in their outing with BCM. It consists of two tracks which were recorded during Yellow Swans tour of New Zealand. Terminal Saints clocks in at over 27 minutes and starts promising enough. An incessant mid- frequency throb gets proceedings underway. Found sounds are added as the tension slowly builds and then …. nothing. This is pure BCM in many ways. The track does not build to a crescendo. It merely exists. Perhaps the point is the tension. The electronic throb stays constant but the intensity of the track slowly builds as layer upon layer is added, before each new noise is thrown aside for the next. When it seems the track will collapse under its own weight, it teeters on the edge before retreating  and continues …. incessantly. There is no relief. There is only noise.

The second track is Marble Carcass which comes in at a sprightly 22 minutes. This track is a very different beast from the first. At times it is an extreme ugly chaotic mess but at least there is relief. The noise does what is supposed to do. It cannibalises itself in a self indulgent, aural orgy of bastardry.

In the end the collaboration works but it never trumps their individual output.

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2 Responses to “Birchville Cat Motel and Yellow Swans (Important) 2006 / Birchville Cat Motel – Chi Vampires (C.Psi.P)”

  1. boldray Says:

    Thanks for the review. I must try and track down this album. I love Yellow Swans too – so sad to hear they are calling it a day in June.

  2. noisenoisenoise Says:

    Oh No. I had no idea they are breaking up. Crap!

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