Archive for the Drone Category

Ben Frost – By The Throat (Bedroom Community) 2009

Posted in Ben Frost, Drone, Music, noise, Uncategorized with tags , , , on May 6, 2010 by noisenoisenoise

“The difficult third album has been replaced with the undifferentiated 14th CD-R. What happened to the thrill of the new? Hearing something you never conceived might exist and knowing it’s exactly what you always needed to hear.”

I love this bit of writing by Nick Southgate in the Wire because it neatly sums up how I often feel. The thing about continuing this blog and trying new things and expanding musical and sound horizons is that ever now and then I hit absolute fucking gold. A record that worked like a sonic ear syringe. In fact one of the best releases in the last couple of years. It’s a droning, post rock, field recording, distortion,noise fest. Equally terrifying and beautiful. Just listen to these two clips and tell me I’m wrong.

Chris Rehm – Salivary Stones (Chinquapin Records) 2010

Posted in Chris Rehm, Drone, noise with tags , , , on March 29, 2010 by noisenoisenoise

Chris Rehms is a musician from currently based in New Orleans (originally from Texas) who has created one  of my favourite records this year. The tracks themselves are single track songs on which effects are later added. It’s a short release of only six tracks but for lovers of bands like Yellow Swans it’s worth tracking down. I have this overwelming urge to label it hypnagogic drone because the predominant impression is one of maximalist drone where the tone splits at the seems to created a distorted but oddly lovely sound. A minimalist maximalism if you will (or should  that be a maximalism minimalism).  In fact the spirit of minimalists like Tim Hecker are here and in the vein of Hecker there is music here. Quite lovely, moving music. If you like your drone to have an emotional core then Salivary Stones may be just your thing.

Sonic Youth – Silver Session for Jason Knuth (SKR) 1998

Posted in Drone, Music, noise, sonic youth with tags , , , on March 21, 2010 by noisenoisenoise

I’ve never been entirely convinced of the more Avant Garde side of Sonic Youth. I’ve followed them through most of their periods, faithfully buying each new release. For some reason I never dabbled with the SYR series until I picked up the thing they did with Merzbow at the Rokslide festival. Maybe the reason for my lack of adventure when it comes to experimental  Sonic youth is because I don’t think I’ve ever read a review that does anything but treat these releases with stark indifference.

Jason Knuth was a Sonic Youth fan who committed suicide in 1997. The proceeds of this record went to a San Franscisco suicide prevention hotline. The music itself was created when the band were in a recording studio and were being troubled by the music of one of the other bands recording at the time. To get their own back, they rested every guitar and bass they could find against the speakers which had been turned up to maximum and recorded what happened. A beatbox was added to create some “horrendously distorted pulsations”. On the liner notes Thurston Moore states that in a way this is his favourite Sonic Youth record. I’m not quite there but it would be in my top five.  In the end after the mixing and processing that created the eight tracks of Silver Session, this is half an hour of great drone. Like a Metal Machine Menche if you will. Excellent.

Daniel Menche – Bleeding Heavens (Blossoming Noise) 2007

Posted in Daniel Menche, Drone, Music, noise with tags , , , on January 6, 2010 by noisenoisenoise

One of my resolutions for this year (read my only resolution)  is to start reading the booklets in records I buy. For instance I had no idea until I was having a bit of a cruise through Discogs that Menche made an appearance on Monoliths and Dimensions. DBS was never meant to be a fan site of any sort, it started as a way of trying to articulate noise and experimental records without getting too pompous about it all. But if you hadn’t picked it up by now, I am a fan of many of the bands that I post on here. Being a fan is different from being a band tragic because I think the latter term indicates someone who is passing a less than critical ear over the records they listen to. For instance I’m a bit of a Merzbow fan but to be fair his  output for 2009 was patchy at best and downright dull at worst. There is Prurient I love and some, you know, not so much. In the case of Daniel Menche I have yet to encounter a record I think is anything less than brilliant. I think the same way of Kevin Drumm but I’ll leave that for a later post. Menche has a wonderful drone quality to his pieces of experimental sound that are rich and rewarding. You know when you have really good wine and you get that amazing mouth feel. Well Menche is kind of like that for your ears. Take for instance this record from 2007 (which is a very fine vintage  for Menche indeed). The only hint as to  what you are listening too is a line on the rear of the digipak that says: Daniel Menche: Organ and trumpet deconstruction. If you can hear any trumpet over the four tracks of Bleeding Heavens then you’re either high or lying. I discovered a smattering of organ on the second track but that too was a bit elusive.What happens on a great Menche record is that his deconstructions become an electronic drone with static under notes, the drone evolves and changes not so much through the use of pitch but more through volume and intensity. Sometimes it evolves through the use of oscillations to produce that noise being blasted through a ceiling fan vibe. His sound is almost like layering sound on top of one another until the ones at the bottom are taken away over the course of a track  until it collapses. Although , its fairer to say that these tracks don’t actually collapse per se, they just cease to exist, no explosion, just an intensification of sound and then  … nothing. At times it is simply breathtaking. The first untitled track on Bleeding Heavens may be one of my favourite noise/drone tracks because it show just how amazing this sort of sound becomes when drone is so malevolent that it cuts a gash through the Earth’s crust. The second is a stunner that evolves in to powerful oscillations. The third is probably the least successful and doesn’t quite have the momentum of the other tracks but the final piece is a tremendous trip into  semi-dark ambient territory before gently sliding into the void. Amazing. This is as good as any place to get into Menche and I recommend that you do.

Oneohtrix Point Never – Rifts (No Fun Productions) 2009

Posted in Drone, Music with tags , on January 2, 2010 by noisenoisenoise

Oh My. There is a very good reason why Rifts is getting as much press as it is. In 2009’s dying breath Oneohtrix Point Never may have produced the finest record of the year. This record is a compilation of a couple of records released on No Fun Productions and other labels. Importantly it features Betrayed in the octagon, Zones Without People and Russian Mind along  with various tracks from limited run cassette releases. As a starting point you may never do better than the 27 tracks contained here. There are moments of beautiful drone which recall some of Menche’s best work, synth lullabies, experimental electronica, eighties influenced new age. Indeed Laser to Laser feels like the work of someone wearing a purple leather fringed jacket in a cloud of dry ice.

So many of the best records of 2009 have reinterpreted memories of music past that I think that David Keenan was right  in pronouncing a new genre of music. And if that genre does exist then Rifts may be one it’s defining moments.

Lloyd Barrett – Mise En Scene (Room 40) 2007

Posted in Australian underground, Drone, Lloyd Barrett, Music, noise with tags , , , , on December 12, 2009 by noisenoisenoise


This  blog has been running for over two years now and finally on post 264 I get around to posting on a home town Brisbane noise/sound artist. My friend M bought me Mise En Scene for my birthday this year. This is the woman who introduced me to Nurse With Wound so her taste in most things is pretty sound but for some reason I hadn’t actually got around to listening to this record until four months later. This is one of those exquisitely put together experimental/ambient/electronic/drone records that every now and then some out of the woodwork. At times it sounds like Peter Rehberg accompanying The Necks (Exhale) but the rest is much harder to describe. It’s certainly ambient in places with interjections of harsh electronics. I think field recordings might be involved because many tracks have a sound that reminds me of insects in the tropics. If you’re  looking for some comparisons then I’d suggest that  there is some Fennesz influence at work and some of it reminds me of KK Null’s Fertile in places. Stunning – you can track it down here and listen to some samples.

Kevin Drumm – Sheer Hellish Miasma (Editions Mego) 2002/2009

Posted in Drone, Kevin Drumm, Music, noise with tags , , , on December 11, 2009 by noisenoisenoise

You see, if this had been released this year it would have been my album of the year but it wasn’t so you know, whatever. I love this but I am a little afraid of it. Now that may sound totally lame and it is but there is something really intimidating about Sheer Hellish Miasma. This is noise and drone in the hands of a master. The sound moves around like sand in a storm and from what I can make out is made from layers of tightly woven static which for the most part is pitched very low. The longest piece is The Inferno which is a fat slab of greasy drone punctuated with Merzbow-light electronic trickery. The opener Impotent Hummer is where my fear comes from. On the surface the tracks is a slowly moving, volume boosted drone track but when I concentrate I’m sure I can hear the sound of some sort of life under the impenetrable fog. Well at least I think I can because just when I think I can hear them they disappear. They’re either there, it’s a trick to the ears caused by the dense layers of drone or I have may a mild psychosis. Take your pick. The most fun track is the very short Turning Point which is what hard house sounds like played by John Wiese at 400 beats per minute. The whole thing is rounded out by the calm and beautiful Cloudy, which considering the power of what precedes it, is like having a nice sorbet after chewing through a raw piece of venison, well at lest until the track  eats itself whole in the last 20 seconds. Utterly compelling.

Daniel Menche – Kataract (Editions Mego) 2009

Posted in Daniel Menche, Drone, Music, noise with tags , , , on December 11, 2009 by noisenoisenoise

Yay! Menche is back. As a devoted  follower of all things Menche, it’s nice to see him back in his solo guise. At the beginning of 2008 he released a statement about how he wasn’t going to release any more solo work and instead focus on visual arts etc blah blah blah . Don’t know what changed his mind – don’t care either. The important thing is he is back. Back!!!  As an aside you should go read his blog over at Menche may be the coolest high school librarian ever. Now to Kataract. Those bastards at Mego are releasing only 500 of these because noise music is so far up in own arse that only 500 people deserve to listen to this or it could be an economy of scale thing with the view that this stuff has a small market and 500 copies all they can shift. Whatever the reason I tracked this down from those nice people at Cold Spring and fucking la di da I’m one of the  lucky 500 so you know … worship me as a god.

So what’s it all about then. Kataract is one 40 minute track of processed field recordings and water falls  and electronic loveliness. I love it.  It’s harsh and droney and dreamlike and awesome and if you don’t buy this you suck. Seriously.  You know you want to hear what processed waterfalls sound like. You’re kidding no one. One of the albums of the year.

Locrian – Rain of Ashes (Basses Frequences) 2009

Posted in Drone, Music, noise with tags , , , on November 29, 2009 by noisenoisenoise

I get a lot of people contacting me through this site asking me to review their records. The emails always go a little something like – I notice you like Band x – you might like us etc. And this might seem a bit lame but 9 times out of 10 I really do enjoy the record they’re spruiking. Without this site I might never have hear four of my favourite artists this year – Golden Sores, Chord, TODD and Derek Rogers. Now I can add Locrian to that list because this record is simply fantastic. Take the vibe of Black Metal, mix in some drone and post-metal and you might have something close to what this sounds like. The record itself has two tracks, the first, Rain of Ashes is a mournful, bleak piece which might be the best thing to listen to when you read Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. It’s almost like a cross between Black Boned Angel and Pelican. There are muscial themes at play rather than simply noise and dark ambience (not that there is anything wrong with that). The guitar which at first seems blissful becomes sadder and more claustrophobic as the track progresses. The second track is Sehsa Fo Niar which is oddly enough the entire first track played backwards and it is just as bleak only the creep factor pumps up to 11.

This was originally released on Fan Death as a c60 cassette. It’s still for sale for about $4.00 from the Fan Death site. This CD has been released by the French label Basses Frequences and the artwork and sound quality are excellent. It might be worth your while checking out their site because besides picking up Rain of Ashes, their web shop is amazing.

Ilios – Love Is My Motor (Antifrost) 2008

Posted in Drone, Ilios, Music, noise on October 2, 2009 by noisenoisenoise


Last night for the first time in a very long time I actually left the house to see some live music. Room 40 a Brisbane experimental music label has been hosting the Open Frame festival for the  last couple of years and this year I decided to get myself along to The Brisbane Powerhouse for a bit of a look. What a fucking night. There were four artists in all – Pumice and Rosy Parlane form New Zealand, Ducktailss from New Jersey and my pick of the evening Ilios from Greece. Now before I headed to this festival I knew about was Pumice but the rest of them were a bit of a mystery. Two hours later I had a couple of Ilios CD’s and a CD by Rosy Parlane in my hot little hand (bless those merchandise tables). All of them were great and I’ll post on how great Rosy Parlane was at a later time.

Ilios was simply incredible. His set consisted of a slowly evolving noise track accompanying a video installation. The video started off as a couple of dots of light and as the set continued more and more of the what was on the screen was revealed. As the music built in intensity and finally climaxed the picture is finally revealed, a rather lovely photo of a corpse with it’s head and arm blown off in a puddle of blood. It’s difficult to describe the sound itself except to say that it had an actual physical presence. At one point all of the air of the room was sucked out and waves of sickening pulses pressurised the room. I actually had difficulty breathing at one point  but that may be because the cockhead in front of me took of his shoes for some reason. It has a similar effect to some of Giffoni’s best work. Extraordinary set and if you live in Newcastle I think he’s playing there on Saturday and at the Toff in Melbourne on Sunday.

Love is My Motor is his latest CD released last year. Essentially it is one long track divided in to eight pieces all with titles of cheesy love declarations. Ilios straddles a line between drone and noise. With the textures kept simple, he uses volume incrementally to create something rather special. There is no rapid rate of change in his sound. The noise changes with great precision and purpose. this is minimalist noise for drone heads and if you liked those last couple of Carlos Giffoni records on No Fun then you might just like this. I sure as shit did. I have no idea how easy this is to track down but you may be able to get it form

Burning Star Core – Lets Play Wild Like WildCats Do (C3R) 2007

Posted in Burning Star Core, Drone, Music, noise on August 8, 2009 by noisenoisenoise


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..

Emeralds – Solar Bridge (Hanson) 2008

Posted in Drone, Emeralds, Music with tags , , on July 4, 2009 by noisenoisenoise


Here’s another excellent review from Miles.

I got into Emeralds a little bit after the release of the overwhelmingly beautiful What Happened. Its ambient buzzing and shimmering synths made me a fan just as I realized they were playing a festival 2 hours away from me in New York that had just sold out. After kicking myself in the ass I decided to check out some more of their catalog. These 3 guys realized their potential on What Happened, but it’s on the earlier album Solar Bridge you can hear a band with a tremendous amount of potential building towards something grand.     For anyone wanting to look further into Emeralds, looking back on their discography can be daunting considering how prolific they’ve been, but this is a great place to start. It is difficult to describe such formless music, but the best way I can describe Solar Bridge is it is an album that sounds exactly like the images its title brings to mind. It’s the musical equivalent of staring at the sun. It consists of two tracks that are some of the best and most absorbing drone pieces I’ve heard. It is an album that completely envelopes you in its blurry warmth, and its brevity keeps the album concise and strong, there is not a wasted moment to be found.    The earliest albums I’ve heard by Emeralds such as Allegory of Allergies tend to be more ambient, but this album is where they begin adding more dynamics to create a more ambitious sound that expanded even more onWhat Happened. The second half of “Magic” is wonderful with its synths bubbling away over the drone. “The Quaking Mess” is my favorite track of the two beginning innocently as the gentle guitar wafts through the gorgeous haze; it eventually builds and builds into a blissful blast of noise. Solar Bridge is a tremendous album, and with a pair of headphones one that you can get lost in.

Derek Rogers – Color Shield (Last Exit Recordings) 2009

Posted in Derek Rogers, Drone, Music, noise, The Dead C with tags , on June 19, 2009 by noisenoisenoise


Today I’ve noticed that the Dead C fans are hitting this blog more than they have for some time. I look back on the posts I’ve done on that band and I think many of them really don’t do the band justice but hey this isn’t really a review blog, it’s more a “holy crap you need to hear this” type of thing. So in that vein I introduce you to the mighty Derek Rogers an avant garde musician from that hot bed of conservatism Austin, Texas. Derek has an excellent myspace page that you should check out and while you’re there throw him a couple of bucks for Color Shield because it, quite simply, is on my favourite records I’m playing right now. Although the music of the  Dead C might be difficult to explain to someone who hasn’t heard it, once you do you know instantly what a unique  and defining racket they make. Derek certainly hearlds the Dead C as an influence which is awesome to hear because the only other band that gives me that Dead C vibe is late period Mouthus. But Derek also manages to squeeze  a bit of a Vibracathedral Orchestra vibe into Color Shield’s amalgam  of  drones, lo-fi antipodean punk, noise and  kitchen sink-improv clatter. My listening preferences seem to have solidified on drone and Merzbow in recent months and Derek’s work has slapped me back into getting those Dead C records back out for another play. If I was writing for the Wire I might try to make parallels between the social conservatism of Austin and Dunedin but it’s late and frankly I’m drunk. If you’re lucky enough to live in California, Derek is touring and you’d be silly to miss it.

The Golden Sores – A Peaceable Kingdom (Bloodlust!) 2009

Posted in Drone, Music with tags , , on June 19, 2009 by noisenoisenoise


Sometimes the problem with many drone records is that there can be a lack of, well, much at all really. Take Birchville Cat Motel’s Seventh ruined Hex. That CD almost stood still there was so little going on. When drone is done right it is a pretty awesome thing to behold. So here I introduce you to the Golden Sores, a duo of Chicago drone scenesters and mates of the better known Locrian. What The Golden Sores have done on A Peaceable Kingdom is to make drone not only transcendent but also remarkably interesting. There is a fair bit crammed into the repetitive drone landscapes that the duo create. My particular favourite is the awesome We’ll Wield Fire which is founded on a bedrock of droning noise much akin to a cello being played by a robot but made somehow beautiful. But is is also the top layer of the music which sets Golden Sores apart from many thinking they do this stuff well. There is texture in the sound created by several layers of drone effects and compositional tweaks. I mean this is just awesome and if you have been a sucker for Kevin Drumm’s unbelievably majestic Imperial Distortion (I’ll post on that soon) then I suggest that you would  be wise to track this down. We all need beauty in our lives and although the Golden Sores may be the most inappropriately named band I’ve heard of in some time, they certainly create beuatiful music. I’m not sure if it is readily available yet but A Peaceable Kingdom can be ordered  from Bloodlust!.

Emeralds – What Happened (No Fun Productions) 2009

Posted in Drone, Emeralds, Music, noise with tags , , , on May 10, 2009 by noisenoisenoise


There were a few records in The Wire’s Top 50 of 2008 that I really wanted to check out. One of them was Emeralds Solar Bridge. By the time I knew it existed the fucking thing seemed to have been deleted and it was only last week that hat I managed to track down a copy. In the interim I noticed that Mr Giffoni’s No Fun Productions released a new Emeralds record and although I held off for a while, I ordered it off the No Fun website and it arrived a couple of weeks ago. When I went back to buy the new John Wiese record I noticed that this one has now sold out as well. You should still be able to track down copies of What Happened around the place but I wouldn’t fuck about because if you miss hearing this then you might just miss hearing an important record from a very young but amazing talented band. Emeralds produce waves and waves of transcendent, celestial drone. I kind of wasn’t expecting to hear something so beautiful. When you release records on labels like Aaron Dilloway’s Hanson and No Fun it’s fair to say that many in noise-land would be expecting something a little more noisy and visceral. There are some great drone records being released at he moment and you would be smart to put this at the top of the list. Best album of 2009 so far?

Chord – Flora (Neurot) 2009

Posted in Doom, Drone, Music with tags , , , on May 8, 2009 by noisenoisenoise


One of the  strange things about having this blog is that from time to time people send me stuff to listen to. Some of the records I get are OK, some mind bendingly awful and some absolutely rock my world. I don’t post on the ones I think suck or are OK because this blog is mainly about records I like and I’m sure people don’t send me crap so I can slag off their hard work. If I’m not a fan of a record that’s been sent to me I usually  send a note to the person telling them it just wasn’t my thing. 99% of the records I post on here I’ve paid for. I don’t believe in downloading because quite frankly I think artists and musicians deserve to be paid for their efforts. 

So anyway a couple of weeks ago a bloke called Phil emailed me and said that he’d like to send me a copy of his new record and hey, I’m keen to hear different things so gladly accepted his offer. From past experience I’m never particularly hopeful I’m going to like what’s being sent but fuck me if this record hasn’t floored me. Flora is absolute fucking godhead. Chord are a quartet of musicians floating around the Chicago scene. Probably the best know of them is Trevor de Brauw of doom metal/postrock powerhouses Pelican. To explain what Chord does I lifted this from the Neurot website:

CHORD performances consist of each player being assigned one note from a pre-selected chord. They are then expected to consider all ranges of flexibility concerning octave, rhythm, playing style and effect treatments. The overall effect CHORD generates is that of a single note being rendered into an unsolvable riddle – a harmonic Gordian knot that creates an almost pastoral feel of being blinded by the sun. The rejection of melody and structure in favor of sweeping and epic tones inspires a sense of rousing apprehension. Shrouded in the individual tunings of each player the pieces never become diluted, instead finding resolution in collective dissonance and consonance. To be in the presence of chord achieved is transcendent.  

So there you go. I might add that Chord is every drone nerd’s wet dream. Not simply because of that transcendent buzz we all get off on, but because Chord seem to have developed a graceful tension between Doom metal, drone and a more ambient space without ever descending into the cheese that defines most current post-rock. Every time I listen to this I’m kind of sad that it has to end.  Beautiful, sad, blissful and at times, menacing. If you’ve enjoyed Emeralds,  Daniel Menche  or the more ambient ends of doom, Chord may well be your new favourite band. 

KTL – IV (Editions Mego) 2009

Posted in Drone, KTL, Music, Sunn on April 26, 2009 by noisenoisenoise


KTL are the duo of Steven O’Malley from SunnO))) and Peter Rehberg (Pita). They originally formed to create music for a theatre piece called Kindertotenlieder  which I think means Place of Dead Children or something like that. I own all three KTL records available  on CD and I think they may have surpased themselves with this one. One of the slight criticisms I have of their previous records is that their quest for minimalism could sometimes be a bit too minimalist for my taste. IV amps up the creep factor that was present on the previous records. O’Malley’s doom riffs are more out front and centre and Rehberg’s tense electro-fuckery make the atmosphere of IV chillingly bleak. The frightening and dark Paratrooper is my favourite track. As the longest track here at over 20 minutes, Rehberg allows his laptop to create a disturbing Dystopia not quite matched on KTL’s other records.  IV is proving to be an expensive purchase at the moment given the strength of the Euro but shell out for this if you can, it may be one of the best things produced this year and a fitting soundtrack for the current GFC. 

Hototogisu – Some Blood Will Stick (Important) 2006

Posted in Drone, Music, noise with tags , , , , , , on April 19, 2009 by noisenoisenoise


What a nasty bit of work this is. This is Matthew Bowers other band when he is not playing in Skullflower or Sunroof!. He is joined by Marcia Bassett from Double Leopards and Zaimph. Some Blood Will Stick is a compilation of two very limited EP’s that came our on their own label in limited editions of 100. For this release on Important. the tracks have been edited and generally fiddled with and a sixth, previously unreleased track, added.  The first track comes across like a Black Mass at a Birchville Cat Motel show. Dark, visceral, malevolent and just generally nasty are the reactions I had when I first heard it and now that I’ve listened to this a few times that opinion has not changed. If you like your drone blacker than black then this just might be the record for you. It’s a bigger genre than you think this drone stuff. I like this record because sometimes I just want to wallow in something this black. Yet like so many of these drone/ noiserock records there is some transcendence to be had here but very little beauty. This is one of the densest noise records I own. In fact it takes some commitment to listen to because like any good noise record it removes the listener to an isolated space for a very personal experience. 

Double Leopards – Halve Maen (Eclipse) 2003

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


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.

Birchville Cat Motel – Gunpowder Temple of Heaven (Pica Disk) 2008

Posted in Birchville Cat Motel, Drone, Music, New Zealand Bands, noise with tags , , , on March 2, 2009 by noisenoisenoise


Now this is a treat for the Birchville Cat Motel and/or drone fan. In term so of the  music what you get  is one 40 minute track of sublime drone/noise. I’ve always migrated towards Campbell Kneales more rock base noise projects rather than his forays into a pure, minimalist drone. Gunpowder Temple of Heaven may have finally converted me and over the next couple of weeks I’m going to re-listen to all of the BCM recods that I already own to get a sense of where this fits in. Another treat for fans of BCM and New Zealand underground music in general, is  the essay by the Dead C’s Bruce Russell that accompanies the beautiful and thoughtful packaging of this record. I’ll quote:

” Thus for me, Gunpowder Temple of Heaven is a complex cluster of metaphors: linguistic, historical and musical. the proof, however, is in the pudding. It is the psychotropic effects of listening to this carefully laminated composition which makes it clear that there is in fact more than accidental confluence of image and sound. What you see and hear is , remarkably, exactly what you get – a consciousness-capturing dose of sounds that grips your skull like an abductor’s taped-on mask. I personally recommend it.”

%d bloggers like this: