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.

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