For me, this is an almost perfect record. Originally released in 2005 as a limited edition CD-R , Hospital Records have had the good sense to re-release it to a wider audience. C.Spencer Yeh is part of my holy trinity of amazing drone artists (Kevin Drumm and Daniel Menche make up the three) and this is another extraordinary example of his craft. It is probably a little easier to get into than this years “proper release” Papercuts Theatre, but it is just as gobsmackingly fantastic. There are three tracks in all. The first Inside the Shadow (w Metals) is a drone track which is never allowed to become truly transcendent through the addition of a steady stream of restrained clanging, clinking and tinkling of various objects through out its 15 minutes. The second track Now United showcases Yeh at his best – a processed violin, that when not descending into chaos, comes across as some elegiac, celtic jig. It is one of my favourite Burning Star Core tracks. Things are rounded off with the final track Inside the Shadow which is a much more straight forward drone track that switches between tones before creeping into sorrowful and at times more threatening territory as extra layers are added. It’s a little anti-climatic compared with the first two tracks but is still a great example of the emotional impact great drone can have on the listener. I know its five years old but it is still one of the records of the year
Archive for the Burning Star Core Category
C. Spencer Yeh is back with his all mighty psych/drone/noise vehicle Burning Star Core. On his latest “proper” record he sifts through recordings of 60 concerts from the band that span continents and years to come up with one large piece of music which he helpfully splits into four parts. It is everything that I could want from a Burning Star Core record and more. It somehow straddles psychedelic krautrock, with exquisite drone, free improv spazzfests and full-on noise assaults. It’s in some ways like distilling my whole record collection into 60 minutes of aural pleasure. At times the music takes off like late-Boredoms on a mushroom binge before morphing into PITA-esque brooding drone. Yet for all it’s variety If I hadn’t read the press release I wouldn’t have know that this is ultimately a meticulously put together sound collage of everything that is good in experimental music and noise right now. It’s challenging, exciting and awesome. It’s even better than Challenger and may have tipped Yellow Swans for album of the year.
I love Burning Star Core and I still stand by my opinion of last year that the best album released in 2008 was the all mighty Challenger and if you have any interest in noise, drone, experimental or left field music then you really need to buy that record. Since hearing Challenger I’ve managed to track down a bit more of C. Spencer Yeh’s work and each time I do the sounds just blow me away. I haven’t posted on them because to paraphrase Kung Fu Panda I am blinded by their sheer awesomeness. But I thought I’d have a crack at writing about this two track masterpeice from the preceding year. Lets Play Wild Like Wildcats Do is extraordinary for a variety of reasons. The first track Mes Sodats Stupides (Demo) begins as a drug soaked krautrock groove before bringing the funk with a jazzy horn section whilst a thin wash of drone colours the whole thing. It then descends in to a gentle tide of drone based noise. This is the Burning Star Core record is play in the car with the family. It is sheer pleasure. The second track Clouds in my Coffee resorts to the same inspired drone forms that you’d hear on Challenger. It’s transcendent and blissful but doesn’t do a whole lot over its 12 or so minutes.
Lets Play …. is all over in 30 minutes but it may be one of the finest 30 minutes you’ll spend with a record this year even if it is two years old..
Somebody last week emailed me and asked me what my favourite record of 2008 was. This is it. Burning Star Core’s Challenger. A simply extraordinary record that I haven’t until now posted on because I can not do it justice. C Spencer Yeh has fast become one of my favourite artists. If you have any interest in finding out why, buy this record before it goes out of print. In fact if you are a regular visitor to this blog and like the stuff I post on I’m telling you, you need to buy this. It’s drone, it’s noise, it’s ambient but it’s not, it’s modern composition, it’s fucking amazing.