Archive for the yellow swans Category

Pete Swanson – Man With Potential (Type) 2011

Posted in Drone, Music, Pete Swanson, yellow swans with tags , , on July 31, 2012 by noisenoisenoise

Sorry I haven’t been around. Life has kind of gotten in the way of updating this site as much as I would like to. That doesn’t mean that I haven’t been listening to a shit-ton of great music but in between the impending arrival of my third son, selling our house and a fucking horrible bout of Influenza A, the desire to type out my thoughts on records kind of collapsed. I even had to miss Keith Fullertom-Whitman’s recent show at the IMA because of the evil flu. One show I won’t be missing no matter whether I get sick, my kid gets born early or some other life issue is Pete Swanson’s gig at the Judith Wright Centre in August. The Yellow Swans are my favourite band –  period. I think for the last Yellow Swans record I reviewed here, Going Places, I said that the band just kept going from strength to strength wit this continual ability to make a better record that their last. I think Pete Swanson has managed to continue this quality into his solo work.

There are records of the past few years that i call my “Holy Shit” record. Albums that are just so flawlessly fantastic that  they attain the right to be called instant classics. In that group I place Black To Comm’s Alphabet 1968. Burning Star Core’s Challenger, Yellow Swans Going Places, Mike Shiflet’s Llanos, Daniel Menche and Kevin Drumm’s Gauntlet, Cane Swords’ Big Warmup In The Mouth Of Eternity. I also think that Man With Potential is up there with those records. Man With Potential sees Swanson embrace electronica and variations of techno, dub and minimalist beats and inject it with a giant dose of melancholia to replicate the rave at the end of the world. It’s stunning stuff. An album that is such a leap to the left of the  tremendous guitar  drones of the  I Don’t Rock At All. This is vinyl only but for a couple of bucks boomkat will sell you the mp3. One of the best records you’ll ever buy.

Pete Swanson – I Don’t Rock At All (Three Lobed) 2011

Posted in Drone, Music, Pete Swanson, yellow swans on May 15, 2012 by noisenoisenoise

This short album by former Yellow Swan, Pete Swanson, came out as a bonus disc for those who bought a 4 x LP Three Lobed compilation. There were only 500 copies of this made and I was lucky enough to snaffle this on Discogs. As many regular readers may know, Yellow Swans were one of my favourite bands. I loved the shit out of them whether they were in their nasty noise mode or their cascading emotional drone guise.  I’m being honest when I say that that I was a little depressed when I found out a few years ago that they were splitting up. Yet Peter Swanson has been releasing some fine records since his former band’s swan song, the majority of them coming out on vinyl. For those of us who don’t own record players, I Don’t Rock At All is one of the few releases that  have come out on CD. The three tracks on this record are slices of shimmering guitar drone which expand, in a much simpler form, the emotional experimentalism of the last few Yellow Swans records. Swanson’s music is warm and moving without ever descending into sentimentality. This record is absolutely fantastic. I checked Discogs just now and there are copies available. It is worth your money buying a copy of this. Experimental guitar music doesn’t get much better than this.

Dove Yellow Swans – Live During War Crimes 3 (Release the Bats) 2009

Posted in Drone, Music, noise, yellow swans with tags , , , on April 17, 2011 by noisenoisenoise

After the Yellow Swans broke up they released the final chapter in the excellent Live During War Crimes series. Like the first two records, Live During War Crimes 3 captures the band in full frontal assault, harsh drone territory. The four untitled tracks on display here are almost overwhelming. They each churn away as if the shimmering transcendencies of their later work got taken over by the forces of evil. The first track in particular is something so brutally oppressive listening through the full 25 minutes seems foolish in retrospect.

It is only on the fourth track that light and oxygen are allowed to filter through the noise and its 25 minutes strikes a fantastic balance between noise, experimentalism and drone. In many ways it is closer to the tracks on Burning Star Core’s Papercuts Theater – a record that is undoubtably heavy going but ultimately  rewarding …. once my ears were able to tease out the subtlety.

Live During War Crimes 3 is not a place to start if you’ve never heard the band before but for Yellow Swans tragics, this tricky to track down, final hurrah is worthwhile getting. Track 4 especially made me miss them all over again.

Yellow Swans – Bring The Neon War Home (Narnuck) 2005

Posted in Drone, Music, noise, yellow swans with tags , , , on February 10, 2011 by noisenoisenoise

I miss Yellow Swans. Their last two albums were some of the finest noise/experimental/drone/whatever records you’ll ever hope to hear. They were particularly stunning in their ability to move from their more noisier incarnation to some truly beautiful sound moments. They were my favourite “noise” band. I suppose part of that bias is that the Yellow Swans were one of the first noise bands that I’d heard and when I began  my explorations of tuneless music, those Live During War Crimes records on Sweden’s Release the Bats were my soundtrack.

For those of us who are into the band the releases of Yellow Swans fall into two broad categories: The proper albums like At All Ends and Going PLaces and the albums where they became D.Yellow Swans (Dreamer, Drowned, Dove, Drift, Descension). Yet, stylistically, whether I listen to the “D” records or their proper releases, the progression of the Yellow Swans sound is quite linear.

Take their proper release from 2005, Bring The Neon War Home. I’ve been meaning to get this for the past four years and it was only last week that I saw it sitting in my local indie rip-off store. On this record the band sound like they are having a crap load of fun. In some ways it reminds me of a classier, noisier, more fully realised version of Hospital’s Hairdryer Peace. That comaprison comes not only from the scope of the ideas that each record contains but also the heavy use of dub underneath all the squall. The use of electronica and are I say it, minimalist techno beats under the soaring and quite majestic noise rock, makes me think of Black Dice but that said Bring The Neon War Home is a much more “together” affair. In the final track the beats are abandoned and instead we get a sign post of the calm, yet noisy beauty which would mark their later work.

It is an excellent record. It gives me  the same buzz I got from heating Burning Star Core’s Challenger for the first time.

Yellow Swans with John Wiese – Portable Dunes (Helicopter) 2009

Posted in Drone, John Wiese, Music, noise, yellow swans with tags , , , , on June 4, 2010 by noisenoisenoise

As each new Yellow Swans record has been released the band has drifted away from their extreme noise roots to embrace the more avant garde end of drone. Their recent career closer, Going Places, is a testament to just how good the band became in riding the whole beauty/nasty axis. This collaboration between two giants of noise, was released by Wiese’s Helicopter label last year. There are enough other reviews out there is you want a blow by blow description of the tracks (the first one is noisy, the second droney with silence etc) but my overwhelming impression  with this record is one of extreme sadness. The thing I never expected about noise when I first started listening a few years ago is the depth of emotion that some of these records contain. A record label blurb described Yellow Swans Live During War Crimes  as 42 black minutes of creepy soundscapes painting a depressive picture of a world going down in dust and ashes. Portable Dunes is what remains after the dust settles. Essential.

Birchville Cat Motel & Yellow Swans (Important) 2006

Posted in Birchville Cat Motel, noise, yellow swans with tags , , , , on March 30, 2010 by noisenoisenoise

(If you think you’ve read this before it is probably because you have. This is a review I did in 2006 that was combined with BCM’s Chi Vampires – I hate my review for that record so decided to have another go and post them separately)

I don’t know what it is, but once Yellow Swans decide to team up with other noise artists the results are certainly a mixed bag. I recently came into possession of their outing with The Cherry Point, Live at Camp Blood. Now that is the most horrendous thing I’ve heard in quite a while. There is no light just an unrelenting maw of the most extreme noise. It’s a sadistic slice of ear-buggery.

Likewise there is little light in their outing with BCM. It consists of two tracks which were recorded during Yellow Swans tour of New Zealand. Terminal Saints clocks in at over 27 minutes and starts promising enough. An incessant mid- frequency throb gets proceedings underway. Found sounds are added as the tension slowly builds and then …. nothing. This is pure BCM in many ways. The track does not build to a crescendo. It merely exists. Perhaps the point is the tension. The electronic throb stays constant but the intensity of the track slowly builds as layer upon layer is added, before each new noise is thrown aside for the next. When it seems the track will collapse under its own weight, it teeters on the edge before retreating  and continues …. incessantly. There is no relief. There is only noise.

The second track is Marble Carcass which comes in at a sprightly 22 minutes. This track is a very different beast from the first. At times it is an extreme ugly chaotic mess but at least there is relief. The noise does what is supposed to do. It cannibalises itself in a self indulgent, aural orgy of bastardry.

In the end the collaboration works but it never trumps their individual output.

Yellow Swans – Going Places (Type) 2010

Posted in Music, noise, yellow swans with tags , , , on March 29, 2010 by noisenoisenoise

Yellow Swans split  up some time ago yet there have been a cascade of new release over the last couple of years. My geeky fandom for this band is well documented on this site. I love this band but I assure you that I can be objective. Going Places is the best thing they have ever done.  In fact Yellow Swans were one of those bands that just got better and better with each new release. I love my noise and if you listen to those early Yellow Swans records, they certainly were a noise band but they slowly morphed into something which used toned down noise elements and instruments to create colour in what could have been standard drone. Going Places is extraordinary, a treat for noise and drone nerds everywhere. The most extraordinary track on an extraordinary record is Opt Out. This is drone and noise-ambience on an epic scale. Layer open layer of bubbling fuzz, drone and hiss provides a foundation for ethereal ambience and strings to float over  a core of hostile noise which at times attempts to breakout but is never actually released.  Maybe Yellow Swans have posthumously created a new genre of “post-noise”?

I’m calling it now – If this isn’t album of the year in December  I’ll burn those old copies of The Wire in protest.

Mudsuckers – Mudsuckers (Important) 2005

Posted in Mudsuckers, Music, noise, yellow swans with tags , , , , on February 8, 2010 by noisenoisenoise

The Mudsuckers were  a collaboration between The Charlambide’s Tom Carter, experimental musician Robert Horton and GMS of Yellow Swans. I’ve owned this for a couple of years and bought it primarily on the Yellow Swans collection because I am a Yellow Swans nerd – end of story. For the most part this is on the same noise dimension as a Yellow Swans record but have you ever wondered what Sonic Youth’s Death Valley 69 would have sounded like if Mouthus and Yellow Swans covered it and removed all the tune. I hadn’t,  but when listening to the extremely fine  opening track Endocrine Disrupters, that whole desert gothic, no wave vibe gurgles under the layers of distortion and drone to produce something very special indeed. Although nothing else quite reaches magnificent heights of the opener, the remaining four tracks are great examples of improvised noise and processed field recordings. Mudsuckers is one of those great noise records that rewards with repeated listens because I guarantee that every time you listen to this you’ll hear something new. Remarkable.

(Dove) Yellow Swans – Live During War Crimes (Release the Bats) 2006

Posted in Music, noise, yellow swans with tags , , on October 31, 2009 by noisenoisenoise

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I’m pretty sure that this is the first Yellow Swans record I heard and listening to it again after a break of about two years, I am in awe of just how good Yellow Swans were. Although they broke up over a year ago I still miss them. They took noise as a genre and it made it into something far more powerful and wonderful than most of their contemporaries. They were, and I hesitate to use the word, producing a sophisticated, multi-textured sound that I still don’t think anyone else has matched. Mouthus and Burning Star Core probably come closest to the just how sublime Yellow Swans were and if you have any love of noise then I can’t stress how much you need to get this. Live During War Crimes is a compilation  which brings together previously released tracks that appeared on limited run CDr’s and cassettes.  For their majority of their releases Yellow Swans added a word beginning with D in front of their name  which changed with each new release. The tracks on this were originally performed by Drill, Demonic and Dusk Yellow Swans and appeared on labels like Scratch and Sniff, Hung Like a Horse and Collective Jyrk but is is a mystery as to which of the six untitled tracks relate to which release. All of the tracks date from 2004 which is probably why the record works better than your average compilation.
It’s hard to describe the racket Yellow Swans make. On this record they manage to combine drone, visceral noise, rhythm, texture, guitars and electro-fuckery to create an improvised “something” which at times is almost beautiful. In fact, for those really looking for  noise nirvana then this may be the record for you. They got lumped in with bands like Wolf Eyes but I’ not sure that comparison was ever particularly sensible. Although there are moments of noise mayhem, the Yellow Swans were always a couple of steps removed those more visceral bands. When I listen to this I realise that along with Burning Star Core, Yellow Swans were (are) probably my favorite noise band. If you find a copy of this just buy it.

Yellow Swans – Deterioration (Modern Radio) 2008

Posted in Music, noise, yellow swans with tags on June 23, 2008 by noisenoisenoise

 

 

In a couple of days time The Yellow Swans will be no more. Deterioration will not be their last record (there should be an “official” release in 2009) but if it had been then good lord what a way to go out. I had no idea that this had even been released and it was only by accident that I found it last week. This record is nearly a perfect distillation of how good the  Yellow Swans can be. In fact, I like this better than At All Ends (and boy did I love that record). It’s a thrilling ride through drone, noise and experimental rock. In fact it is an important reminder of just how vital avant garde, experimental music can be.  As I was listening to Deterioration again today it struck me how it sounds like a noise version of the  aural dynamics pioneered by God Speed You Black Emperor.  I can’t recommend this highly enough. 

The thing I find sad about this release is that it is clear from Deterioration that Yellow Swans were only getting better and better and I wonder just how far they could have gone. I have no idea whether this is in wide release and I urge you to track it down. This is the  first truly great record of 2008 (and it only took until June!)

Sunroof! – Panzer Division Lou Reed (VHF) 2007

Posted in Music, noise, Sunroof!, yellow swans with tags , , , on May 18, 2008 by noisenoisenoise

A couple of weeks ago a reader left a comment on this blog alerting me to the imminent demise of Yellow Swans. On June 30 of this year they will be no more. Now I fucking love the Yellow Swans and after the excellent At All Ends I was really looking forward to where they were going next. So I again look to greener pastures on my journey through experimental music. One of the bands that I’d heard of but hadn’t heard was Sunroof!. Sunroof ! is the band of Matthew Bowers, the veteran experimental artist that was also behind Skullflower (another band I’ve heard of but haven’t heard). I thought it was time to give them a go and I started with Panzer Division Lou Reed because firstly it is their latest and secondly because it was the only Sunroof record I could find in my local rip-off record store.

I’ve read a couple of other reviews and they all seemed to mention that his is one of the more aggressive and dense recordings that Sunroof! have produced and is a swerve to the left from their usual drone based recordings. I have no idea whether that is true. This is the only Sunroof! record I’ve listened to, so I have nothing to compare it to. What I will say though, is that this is one of the most challenging yet interesting noise records I currently own. It’s a big slice of improvised rock-noise that certainly took me aback when I first listened to it. I’ve wrestled with it now for couple of weeks and I’m pretty happy with the journey it took me on. This sounds similar to those Yellow Swans records when they preface their name with a word beginning with D. In particular I though that this sounded a lot like Dreamed Yellow Swans which is now sadly out of print. I’m a sucker for this type of noise and although the reviews I read weren’t exactly positive, having no knowledge of what their other records sound like allows me to approach it with an independent mind. This record is great and if you are a Yellow Swans freak like myself then Panzer Division Lou Reed is well worth tracking down.

Sunroof Live 2007!

(Doubled) Yellow Swans – Global Cone (PacRec/Jyrk) 2006

Posted in Music, noise, yellow swans on December 1, 2007 by noisenoisenoise

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I admit it. There are sometimes records I own that defy description. And by “defying description” I actually mean that I doubt I am bright enough to really post on a record that is (to me at least) as profound as Global Cone. I’ve posted before about my love of the Yellow Swans and yet when I look back through this blog there are fuck all posts about their records.
Global Cone came out as a limited release on Pacrec last year. It compiled a number of tracks from previous releases on to one helpful disc. Essentially it’s a bevy of untitled tracks that have been previously released under their constantly changing D Yellow Swans moniker. Track 1 is from the Declawed Yellow Swans cassette that originally came out on Tonefilth. Track 2 is from a split cassette they did with the Skaters. Track 3 originally appeared on the Deathbombbarc Tape Club split cassette that they did with Sex with Girls (you can imagine the search terms I’m going to get now!) and the final two tracks come form the Damaged Yellow Swans cassette that was released by 23 Productions.

This record was my introduction to the Yellow Swans and as such I admit that I am totally biased and declare that this is my personal favourite. As a document for experimental electronic noise it’s pretty hard to beat. The first track is a truly sinister slice of noise. It’s creepy atmosphere moves it almost into the dark ambient sphere. The second track is the true behemoth of proceedings. At over 22 minutes it’s an example of the fantastic journey experimental noise can take you. It’s a track that continually evolves, devolves, explodes and whispers. Anyone who owns a Yellow Swans record knows what this can sound like. Electronic fuckery, extreme fuzz, distant hiss, layered ear-piercing frequencies, vocals so distorted you doubt yourself that they were even there and the odd doomy nay gothic blast. One minute it’s a world of ambient peace, the next  pain is  induced by a high pitched tone.

I suppose it is this tension thing that lowers me to the status of dribbling fanboy for the Yellow Swans. How a band keeps making what they do so different and vital is completely beyond me. Every Yellow Swans record I own is as essential as the next. A smarter man once wrote that every time the Yellow Swans release a record it’s like their best one yet. Couldn’t have said it any fucking better. One question though: Why the limited release? More people should hear this and the fact they can’t is a fucking outrage.

Yellow Swans – At All Ends (Load) 2007

Posted in Music, noise, yellow swans on October 7, 2007 by noisenoisenoise

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Anyone who has been reading this blog knows I have a thing for the Yellow Swans. I started with Live During War Crimes 2 or it might have been Global Cone. I can’t remember but I do remember how fucking fantastic I thought those records were. Since then I’ve come to own Psychic Secession, Live at Camp Blood (with Cherry Point), the BCM collaboration, Dreamed Yellow Swans and Live During War Crimes 1. They’re all very fine records and if I was trying to get a mate onto this band I’d send them a copy of Psychic Secession or perhaps Global Cone if I could track a copy down.

Anyway this here is the new Yellow Swans record, those nice people at Missing Link sent it to me this morning and I’ve listened to it pretty solidly since then. It’s a great record and anyone who knows their Yellow Swans is not going to be disappointed. You pretty much know what your going to get with a Yellow Swans record. Droning looped noise, static, hiss, and fizz and that strange distant church bells on speed effect that they do so well. In other words: transcendence through noise. But with every new release they expand on the theme and At All Ends is another fine example. On most of their records GMS is listed as the guitar player but this is certainly heavier in guitars than anything I’ve heard of their’s before. There are great slabs of guitar on this record and call me lead-eared but there is this haunting guitar tune at the end of the title track which sounds remarkably like a bastardised version of Auld Lang Syne. It’s lovely (and I thought I’d never use that word for this band!) and you’d have to be impressed that a record with noise as harsh as this can achieve something so … oh fuck it ….. beautiful.

Birchville Cat Motel – Birds Call Home Their Dead ( C Psi P) 2007

Posted in Birchville Cat Motel, Music, New Zealand Bands, noise, The Dead C, yellow swans on September 30, 2007 by noisenoisenoise

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New Zealand is producing some of the most important music right now. A case in point is this latest offering from Birchville Cat Motel aka Campbell Kneale. This is a wonderful example of just how beautiful noise can become. It’s trance like, ambient, droning electronic squall. It’s strangely psychedelic. Imagine Panda Bear if he skipped the tunes and melody and embraced his inner Yellow Swan. The title track is pure fucking noise pleasure. The pastoral sounds that I like so much on Chi Vampires are back again. Birds chirp and tweet as the electronics slowly fade. Its a long bugger too 26 and a half minutes. The second track is Kissing Dragon and comes in a spritely eight minutes. Again we revisit a previous theme – experimental church organ that descends into the gentlest electronic squall you’ll ever hear. The final track ( again over the 26 minute mark) is pure Birchville, trance-like droning noise that hypnotises. In the liner notes Dianna Thomson-Kneale is credited with electric sander. How come my DIY never sounds this great?

Yellow Swans – I Woke Up

Posted in Music, noise, yellow swans on September 19, 2007 by noisenoisenoise

This is the third track of Psychic Secession. You really should go buy that record.

The Dead C – Harsh 70’s Reality (Siltbreeze) 1992

Posted in The Dead C, Uncategorized, yellow swans on September 3, 2007 by noisenoisenoise

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So, last week I’m out for a meeting with one of my colleagues and I decide on the way back to the office to stop by my post office box to see if the international postman has bestowed blessings on me. He had and as I opened the parcel the following conversation occurred.

Colleague: Oh Goody now we can listen to a CD on the way back to the office

Me: Umm … You’re not going to like this.

Colleague: I like all sorts of music. It is alternative?

Me: More underground I think

Colleague: Well lets put it on (she unwrapped the CD and put it in the very tasteful Toyota’s CD player. She politely listens for ten seconds). Dave there’s no tune.

Me: Yup I think that’s the point. It’s pretty cool isn’t it?

Colleague: (Becoming uncomfortable) You actually like this?

Me: Yep

Colleague: Why.

Me: Well Its great to test the boundaries of music; to listen to sound as opposed to tune. To hear what artists do to sound. To hear how sounds collide, intermingle and stand alone against silence. Umm, sometimes I just need a record to bring me the noise. Don’t you notice how hypnotic and ambient the noise becomes. It creates its own music.

Colleague: Perhaps it’s easier to appreciate through headphones.

And there the conversation ended. I don’t plan to post in any length about this until I digest the other four Dead C CD’s that should arrive soon. In a previous The Dead C post I said that I couldn’t hear the Dead C in what the Yellow Swans do. Well after listening to this for the last week I fucking do now. Thanks for the tip Mr Swanson.

The Dead C – Future Artists (Ba Da Bing) 2007

Posted in Music, noise, The Dead C, yellow swans on August 23, 2007 by noisenoisenoise

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Oh baby this is good.

Now as anyone who has read this shitty little blog knows (and I’m fucking surprised at how many of you are out there), I’m quite fond of this whole current noise scene. I don’t for a minute pretend to know my avant garde/ experimental music history. I know my Throbbing Gristle, I know my no-wave, I know my Glen Branca, I’ve dabbled with some Zorn but that’s about as far as my historical knowledge goes. I’m not an expert, and I’m sure as shit not going to put myself out there as someone who can wax lyrical in an essay about the importance of the Dead C in the context of the current noise/experimental scene. All I can do is listen and try to somehow put into words my experience of the music. I am alone on a sea of noise.

What I can tell you is that this is fucking great. Five tracks of noise that have made me a very happy man indeed. If you read my post on Vain, Euridite ….. you will know that I didn’t really get the whole Dead C – Yellow Swans connection. If you go a step further and read the comments you’ll see that Mr Pete Swanson himself calls me out. Which is kind of cool but I’ve revisited that compilation and tried to hear the influence and well ….. call me a fucking luddite … but I struggle. Mr Swanson tells me that the four Siltbreeze releases are essential so I bought them. They haven’t arrived in Brisbane yet but hey I’ll let you know what I think at a later date. What I’m trying to get at I suppose, is that I finally get the connection when I listen to the first track on Future Artists and by the way thank you Dead C for actually having the fucking time to give these tracks titles. The AMM of Punk Rock is great. Apparently it is some sort of in joke but I don’t know who AMM are so it’s all a bit lost on me. It’s a nice warm pool of drone electronics, with drums and the odd glitch. Experimental ambient heaven. The second track The Magicians is a fucking cracker and reminds me of their previous output. Its an indie punk track with someone interrupting proceedings by doing something very cruel to a guitar which I don’t think is entirely legal. Its the last time you hear vocals on Future Artists before we’re back in experimental composition land with the third track Macoute. If you like your Mouthus, Double Leopards and Yellow Swans albums then you’re really going to like this. It’s less fierce than those other bands’ respective records and sometimes that’s not an entirely bad thing. The final two tracks have a great improv feel to them. Eternity has a great rock vibe and there are some tiny shard of guitar noise on it that make me think of Sonic Youth’s Sister. The final track Garage is a lengthy beast and sounds the most improvised thing here. It sounds to me like a twenty minute experimental jam session. There a bit of blues guitar, electronic fuckery and a big fat mellow vibe.

I know I have not done this record justice and I’m not in the position to tell you how it compares to their previous output and let’s face it if you liked those records you’ve bought Future Artists already. I know this though, Future Artists is one of the best, most original records you’ll hear all year.

Mouthus – For the Great Slave Lakes (Threelobed) 2006

Posted in Mouthus, Music, noise, The Dead C, yellow swans on August 18, 2007 by noisenoisenoise

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This one of my favourite recent additions to “the Special”. I don’t know much about the band. All I know is that they’re a two piece from Brooklyn. One fellow drums and the other plays the guitar. They have a couple of official releases out there which are pretty easy to pick up but this is the first and only thing I have heard from them. This record was a bonus disc given to subscribers of Threelobed’s Modern Containment series (it featured discs by Hush Arbours, Wooden Wand and Bardo Pond to name a few.)

This is a a slight step back form the pure, harsh noise groups doing the rounds at the moment. Somewhere under the hellish mire is a drummer. A real drummer as opposed to some incessant drum loop churning out wave on wave of sickening aural horror. Mouthus have a real rock vibe happening here. A heavily de-constructed industrial, free-noise, rock vibe but I guarantee you, it is there. It may not be apparent at first but for a couple of tracks it’s almost a garage, swamp rock feel happening under the noise. The first track The Final Tribes has a couple of bass style noises ( I mean it might be a bass or some digital thing … who knows?) but to me it sound like Tracey Pew from the Birthday Party grinding his bass from the third circle of Hell.

There is something fantastically organic and human about For the Great Slave Lakes. Pete Swanson is right, it reeks of The Dead C and although Mouthus are a very different beast this record also made me think of Birchville Cat Motel. There is something approachable about it, its not all machines and death. Sure the metal machine music is all here. Bits of metal clank and clang but When We Were Graves has something which sounds oddly like maracas. There is oxygen in the noise. There are humans behind the racket. Even at their most machine like, the loop heavy track, Where Was I When I Laid to Rest There, is grounded by the intermitent smashing of cymbals. Many will disagree, but the frenetic drumming grounding the whole track (somewhere under the distorted fart of the electronics) reminds me of a de-constructed George Hurley doing Nuff that Shit George from Firehose’s “fromOhio.”

If you’re new to noise you need to track this down and perhaps also get yourself a copy of Yellow Swans “Global Cone” while you’re at it.

Birchville Cat Motel and Yellow Swans (Important) 2006 / Birchville Cat Motel – Chi Vampires (C.Psi.P)

Posted in Birchville Cat Motel, Music, noise, yellow swans on July 29, 2007 by noisenoisenoise

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I fucking love the Yellow Swans. They were the first noise band I dabbled with after I consumated my flirtation with Wolf Eyes. Rather than the brutal skull fuckery of Wolf Eyes, Yellow Swans use frequency and atmospherics to conjure up their unique brand of noise demons. They revel more in crackle, throb and hiss than shock and awe.

Birchville Cat Motel is a one man band from New Zealand. I haven’t heard much of what he’s done which may be because most of his back catalogue has been deleted and, well, how the fuck to you hear it when you can’t buy it. I did however manage to pick up his Chi Vampires record in Sydney recently. Chi Vampires is almost organic when you hold it up to the rest of the noise scene. It’s pastoral, ambient, black metal or maybe even soft, ethereal, brutal noise. The closest comparison I can think of is a experimental, electronic Earth circa Hex. It’s great and I highly recommend it.

I don’t know what it is, but once Yellow Swans decide to team up with other noise artists the results are certainly a mixed bag. I recently came into possession of their outing with The Cherry Point, Live at Camp Blood. Now that is the most horrendous thing I’ve heard in quite a while. There is no light just an unrelenting maw of the most extreme noise. It’s a sadistic slice of ear-buggery.

Likewise there is little light in their outing with BCM. It consists of two tracks which were recorded during Yellow Swans tour of New Zealand. Terminal Saints clocks in at over 27 minutes and starts promising enough. An incessant mid- frequency throb gets proceedings underway. Found sounds are added as the tension slowly builds and then …. nothing. This is pure BCM in many ways. The track does not build to a crescendo. It merely exists. Perhaps the point is the tension. The electronic throb stays constant but the intensity of the track slowly builds as layer upon layer is added, before each new noise is thrown aside for the next. When it seems the track will collapse under its own weight, it teeters on the edge before retreating  and continues …. incessantly. There is no relief. There is only noise.

The second track is Marble Carcass which comes in at a sprightly 22 minutes. This track is a very different beast from the first. At times it is an extreme ugly chaotic mess but at least there is relief. The noise does what is supposed to do. It cannibalises itself in a self indulgent, aural orgy of bastardry.

In the end the collaboration works but it never trumps their individual output.

John Wiese – Soft Punk (Troubleman Unlimited) 2007

Posted in noise, wiese, yellow swans on July 13, 2007 by noisenoisenoise

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Soft Punk is the latest edition to “the Special” (see my Wolf Eyes post) and I’ll be fucked, if it isn’t the best noise album I’ve heard in a while. There are many fine bands that that are doing the whole ooga-booga sado-horror-movie raise-the-demons incidental music thing that I enjoy so much, but let me tell you why John Wiese is different to the others.

Wolf Eyes? Evil. Double Leopards? Evil. Mouthus? Kinda evil. Dead Machines? Evil. Aaron Dilloway? Don’t even get me started. John Wiese? Fun with a capital, fucking F. That’s right, fun. Now you may say to yourself how can you have fun when there is blood coming from your ear canal and I’ll reply because John Wiese is a fucking, clever bugger.

John Wiese has been doing this noise thing for some time. I first stumbled across him in his guise as Sissy Spacek and later as a Wolf Eye’s collaborator. Soft Punk is his first full length record under his own name.

Soft Punk is simply fantastic. It is the meticulous work of a sound collagist at the height of his game. Wiese has given me everything I want in a noise album. No Tune? Check. Harsh noise? Check. Wild Ride? Oh yeah baby. Samples that shouldn’t be together are merged and somehow make sense. Sounds last a mere second, sometimes less before they are destroyed by the next. On Sad Psychic harsh noise gives away to eerie silence. On Recorded Hologram he gives us shards of music samples which are treated so poorly it’s like he’s beaten them because they owe him money. Trapped in a Spell is the closest Wiese gets to a drone track. It is a progressive atonal loop of what sounds suspiciously like swiss cowbells. Soft Punk’s strength is its ability to constantly surprise. I might add that the surprise is in a “sneak-up-behind-you-and-punch-you-in-the-head sense rather than I-bought-you-flowers-just-to-say-I-love-you sense.

Did I take codeine after listening to this the first time? Yep. Was it worth it? Fuck yes.

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