Mike Shiflet & Joe Panzner – Split (Rubber City Noise) 2012


This year Mike Shiflet has turned up on my noise radar in a serious way. I had no idea the guy even existed until he teamed up with Daniel Menche on the mighty Stalemate. I’ve now become a bit obsessed. Shiflet’s bandcamp site is a treasure trove and if you haven’t heard his record of last year, Llanos, then you are missing out of something very special indeed.

I was pretty happy when Rubber City Noise (the label that released the fantastic Cane Swords record last year that would have easily been in my top three releases of last year 2011) sent me a copy of Shiflet’s split release with Joe Panzner, a fellow mid-western noise guy. Each artist contributes a 22 minute track. Shiflet’s is titled Recollect and may in fact be the most accessible thing he has done. It is a stunning piece of ambient drone work which begins as a beautifully meditative composition until the comforting tones are stripped away to reveal its desolate heart. An amazingly emotional track from Shiflet which abandons the austere distance of some of his earlier work.

Joe Panzner’s track is titled Reconstruct and begins as a jittering, stuttering noise track that recalls Jazkamer at their Merzbow like best.  Yet lurking under the barrage of fuzz, feedback and static is a Stars of the Lid style drone. It takes a fair bit of active listening to hear it but as the barrage dies down and brief glimpses of calm return the drone shrinks away. It is one of those tracks which combines everything that is wonderful in drone, noise, experimental weirdness. It is a remarkable composition. Utterly amazing.

Both of these tracks contain some of the finest experimental sound you will hear all year.  Rubber City Noise is in danger of becoming one of the best labels around right now and you’d be mad not to get a copy of this. Another absolute winner.

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