Archive for the Double Leopards Category

Zaimph – La Nuit Electrique (Utech) 2007

Posted in Double Leopards, hototogisu, Music, noise, Zaimph with tags , , on December 29, 2010 by noisenoisenoise

Maybe we need to figure out a better word for noise to describe some of these records because the deeper and deeper I go into noise I get the feeling that the term is for the most part redundant. Take a well known “noise”  group such as Jazkamer. Their recent series of records are all completely different and very few approach noise in a Merzbow sense. I suppose even called Merzbow noise is getting a bit silly – I own 70+ Merzbow records (80+ if I include Merzbient) – given the variety of sound he produces. Maybe that bloke from Choclate Monk has it right when he demanded the use of the term “noises” instead of noise.

You see Marcia Basset (Double Leopards, Hototogisu) is a pretty important artist in the field of “noise” except the sound that she produces is not the same as the brutal Japanese stuff, or the Rust-belt decay of Wolf Eyes of even the playfulness of the Scandanavians. The sound she produces on La Nuit Electrique is both haunting, sinister and at times uncompromising. The first track is like a broken pianola which plays all by itself whilst an AM radio broadcast of the sound of fireworks bubbles underneath. In the last third I get the hint of disembodied voice floating through the track. It demands close listening and a fair bit of volume to tease out all of its hidden gems. The third track is my favourite. Lets just say this afternoon whilst dealing with back pain through the liberal use of codeine and muscle relaxants, I had the distinct feeling of entering a cavern in the middle of an ancient religious ritual. Pimmon used similar vocal effects in his recent show and that just blew me away. This is my first exposure to Basset as a solo artist. This record is certainly not noise in the way most of us define it but it is just as creepy and much more unsettling. I might need to hear more of Zaimph-  this records works for me pretty well.

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Hototogisu – Chimarendammerung (De Stijl) 2006

Posted in Double Leopards, hototogisu, Music, noise, Skullflower, Sunroof! on September 19, 2009 by noisenoisenoise

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Chimarendammerung is basically a drone record. A very busy, noisy drone record but a drone record none the less. Hototogisu is a duo of  Matthew Bowers when he’s not playing in either Sunroof! or Skullflower and  Double Leopard’s Marcia Bassett. If you know Matt Bower’s other work you know what your going to get basically improvised noise jams filled with feedback  and other tricks of the trade. The din created on this record is pretty powerful and the first time I played it I was pretty underwelmed. I had a chance to concentrate later and it was only then that the full palate of the tracks was revealed. The metal-infused, guitar-based drone is flecked with other noise and instruments the most readily discernable being a bow being used on some type of string instrument. But this never quite reaches the  transcendent  beauty of Burning Star Core – Hototogisu play a much more visceral form of drone. I like this record more than the other Hototoguisu record I own, Some Blood Will Stick and I thought that was pretty good. Although that record was a much more claustrophobic and darker set of tracks,  it’s not like Chimarendammerung lets the light in. The sounds used are merely different and it doesn’t come close to creating the same mood of Some Blood… which had some genuinely creepy moments. In all there are five Untitled tracks. I particularly liked the second one especially in the  final third where a vaguely doomy lost souls effect bubbled to the  surface every now and then but for most of time the enjoyment in this record is the slight shifts in tone and variation as the tracks progress. I’m more of a fan of Skullflower and Double Leopards than this band but every now and then I give it a listen when I’m in that whole white noise coming through headphones kind of mood. If you watch the short clip I’ve included, they manage to achieve that whole transcendence through noise thing yet on this record that might give it a red hot go but they never quite get there.

Double Leopards – Halve Maen (Eclipse) 2003

Posted in Double Leopards, Drone, Music, noise, Religious Knives, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on March 24, 2009 by noisenoisenoise

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I don’t know why I hadn’t got hold of this until a couple of weeks ago. A Hole is True, Double Leopards last CD from recollection, is one of my favourite drone/noise CD’s of all time. I suppose every copy I’d seen until recently has been prohibitively expensive.

Double Leopards were a quartet when they recorded this (Chris Gray, Marcia bassett, Mike Bernstein and Maya Miller). Marcia Bassett also records as Zaimph and with Matthew Bowers as Hototogisu, Miller and Bernstein are now half of the awesome Religious Knives and I suppose Gray is off doing his own thing as well.  Halve Maen was originally a vinyl only release on the vinyl only Eclipse Records. In 2005 they re-released it on CD and I don’t often comment on packaging on this blog but the packaging here is a replica of the gatefold 2 LP vinyl. It is really well done. Lovely stuff indeed.

So what of the actual music? Well I think this record is actually a bit easier on the ears than A Hole is True. They concentrate on drone with a psychedelic twist. It doesn’t have the obvious rock influences of Religious Knives but if you love that band you can hear a link between the two groups most easily on this. I’ve read some comparisons to Stars of the Lid, a band which I’ve only started listening to this year and in some senses the comparisons are justified. They both specialise in drone but Halve Maen is a much darker and less achingly beautiful variant than Stars. It’s also a less visceral and industrial feel than A Hole is True. It’s certainly Dark but not as evil as their final album. In many ways I prefer Halve Maen to A Hole is True but if you like your noise/drone you should  really track down both. 

This is them live and being scary from the Fun for None DVD. more representative of Hole is True than Halve Maen but great none the less. 

Live at ATP 2006. Probably a bit closer to Halve Maen.

Religious Knives – Resin (No Fun) 2007

Posted in Double Leopards, Mouthus, Music, noise, Religious Knives with tags on July 30, 2008 by noisenoisenoise

It feels like even half-way through 2008 I’m still getting up to speed with what got released last year. In the last couple weeks I’ve been listening to Gudrun Gut’s I Put a Record On, Pole’s excellent Steingarten remixes, Magik Markers Boss, any Sightings record I can get hold of and this. I have no idea why Resin flew under my radar especially when you consider that  Religious Knives are a group comprised of members of two of my favourite bands, Double Leopards and Mouthus. 

Resin is a compilation of sorts. Like most of these Brooklyn noise bands the majority of their output is coming  out as singles, limited and split releases and recorded live sets. Blink and you miss them stuff if you know what I mean. Helpfully Resin comprises many of these releases and If I hadn’t read that somewhere I’d have been none the wiser. This is a much more accessible band than it’s component parts would indicate.  Forget the creepy-noise drone of Double Leopards and Mouthus’s elliptical and abstract take on alt rock is nowhere to be seen. Resin for the most part shows Religious Knives getting their late 1960’s psychedelic groove on. Sure it’s a pretty dark and at times noisy take on psych rock but for all it’s no-fi “production” it is no different to Pussy Galore’s attempts to reinterpret the blues. Despite their obvious influences (kraut rock, psych, sweet lord even the Door’s get a look in) Religious Knives are producing music which sits at the  periphery of the noise rock scene. I’m certainly going o try to track down some more of their releases.

Double Leopards – A Hole is True (Troubleman Unlimited) 2005

Posted in Double Leopards, Music, noise, Sunn, Woods on July 28, 2007 by noisenoisenoise

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There are records that I am nervous about posting on and this is one of them. Now I love A Hole is True. It is one of my favourite tuneless noise records of the moment. My nervousness stems from the fact that I really don’t know how describe just what makes Double Leopards so special. I suppose a Hole Is True is similar to modern art and like the best art there should be no preconceived ideas to what the consumer brings takes away from their experience with it.

As noise records go it is somewhere east of Sunn O)))) and somewhere west of Yellow Swans. The forboding sense of doom is all there but there is little harshness to Double Leopard’s approach. It’s almost as if the constant drone of this record has existed for a millennia and the listener is experiencing a snapshot. It’s almost like a short student documentary of life down at the demon factory. There are constant mechanical sounds thrown in to break up the drone and I can’t help wonder is this a new genre of industrial music. One that forgoes the intensity and faux fascism of its 1980’s brethren for a distillation of the purity of an industrial soundscape. I once read a fellow posting on Earth who described their music as Heavy Metal with only the good bits left. It’s a concise way of how I feel about Double Leopards. All that is left behind is the essence of the machines and the futility of hope.

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