I’m trying to end the year on a high note and do my best to focus on records released in 2008 because if you are a regular reader of this site you probably are a bit like me and need to write lists of CD’s for family to get you just in case you end up with that new Bloc Party record. The problem with French Record is that it mightbe a bit hard to find in your local chain record shop so it may be best just to ask for the cash this Xmas. If I look back at the 150 or so CD’s I’ve bought this year the focus has been away from pure (harsh) noise CD’s (although there have been a few exceptions) and towards stunning drone CD’s by Daniel Menche and the sheer joyous sound of anything released on Rune Grammofon. There’s been a lot less Merzbow and a greater focus on expanding my horizons in relation to music that at least attempts to breath some life into rock during the long terminal illness that has afflicted it during the past few years. Some records are kind of what I expected or match comparisons to what I had read but few records have genuinely blown me away this year more than French Record.
I think it may be time to acknowledge John Wiese as the new generation noise pioneer. His solo work on Soft Punk was extraodinary but challenging. In fact I have never sat through Soft Punk all the way through in one sitting. It’s something which if played all at once becomes just too overstimulating and may be the first record that should come with an epilepsy warning. French Record takes the sound collage approach that he perfected on Soft Punk but instead of chucking all of the ideas together, he allows some of them to grow and through repetition (something any Wiese fan know has never been high on his agenda) create something both challenging but extremely listenable. The first Sissy Spacek record I bought had 77 tracks none were longer than 90 seconds and some were only 4 seconds. French Record is much more conservative. It still has short vignettes of noise (like the sound of glass being smashed filtered through some studio fuckery) but the crowning achievement is the longer tracks of pure noise genius. I can’t do justice to what he produces on French Record but I will say that the opener, Scorpion Whip, his take on heavy metal, can be added to the small sub-genre of fun noise tracks. If your having trouble tracking this down you can order it straight from the Dualplover website and I recommend you do that as a matter of urgency. In a genre that suffers from small print runs and limited editions you just can’t afford to fuck about. I won’t go out on a limb and say that it is the best noise record released this year, the collaboration he did with C. Spencer Yeh is absolutely mindblowing and Burning Star Core’s Challenger happens to be the most played record on my ipod, but good lord it just might be.
Really into the Haters