Archive for Religious Knives

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 – The Door (Ecstatic Peace) 2008

Posted in Drone, Music, noise with tags on October 26, 2008 by noisenoisenoise

There is an irony in Religious Knives calling their latest album The Door because the ghost of Jim Morrison can certainly be found in its neo-psychedilc drones. When I first saw that this had been released last week I almost wasn’t going to bother. Although the two collections of Religious Knives bits and pieces that I own, Remains and Resin, are mighty fine, I doubted that I needed more of their no-fi, dirge-like take on droning psychedilia. But hey it was cheap and over the weekend I deceided to wrestle with it.

As you might know Religious Knives are the avant-rock supergroup of the duo of Double Leopards along with two thirds of Mouthus. They’ve been pretty busy over the last couple of years and if you ignore the compilations of bits and bobs, The Door is the second proper album of their career. In an interview I read, Religious Knives dude Mike Bernstein said that his new band was to translate the expressionistic aspects of Double Leopards into something a bit more musical and song-like. On Resin and Remains their sound was hampered (or enhanced depending on your taste) by sludgy, no-fi production. At time it almost felt like it was recorded underwater in layers of murk and filth. On The Door, Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore, takes over production duties and the resultant tracks are clean and very “song-like”. To me ears this is actually progression. The cleanness of the production reveals a band with one foot firmly in the past and another one in the future. Their sinister take on psychedilia is refreshing, compelling and if you’ve never heard Religious Knives before I doubt hat you can get a better introduction than this.

The Door track “Downstairs” live

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.

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