Sunday, March 05, 2006


Caught the Wolf Eyes / Pig Destroyer / Whitehouse tour last Weds at DC9 courtesy of the ever-mighty Clavius. The whole night was great, though I missed about 95% of Pig Destoyer due to getting schooled outside by Connelly and Olson (if a new society arose in which musical knowledge was political currency, Olson would be its only possible king). Best suprise was the unannounced opening set by Secret Diary, the duo of Jessica Rylan and Donna Parker. Been wanting to see Rylan for a while, and the duo's quick injection of voice stretching and sound dissecting went straight to my veins.

Talked to Rylan afterwards (who told me Secret Diary had been drafted into Pig Destroyer for the next night's show, despite never having heard each other until the D.C. gig) and bought two 20-minute cassettes from her, Long Slow Changes on Far Gone, and Wiped Away on Durable Stimuli. Both are great, and pretty different. The former has two ambient side-long pieces: one offers eerie waves of oscillating tone that curve hypnotically, somehow reminding me of the undulating sections in Jim O'Rourke's underrated I'm Happy, and I'm Singing, and a 1, 2, 3, 4, while the other is a robotic loop that retreats and jumps forward in unpredicatble spurts created by Rylan's volume and tone manipulations. I like how Rylan isolates and varies the loop rather than burying it under other noises or blurring it into oblivion.

The newer Wiped Away holds five pieces of more aggressive but still subtle noise. Lots of tactile, granulated sound on this one, with small, pebbly noises piled up into masses. Unlike on Long Slow Changes, Rylan's voice is a noise-source here, and it's always amazing. On one cut there's a cycle of squawking chirps and distended screams that sound like Yamatanka Eye if his vocal chords were stretched on a rack into infinity.

Best thing about Rylan's work is the way her noises become mini-themes, revisited and revised in patterns that require multiple listens. Maybe it's cause I've watched it a bunch lately, but I feel like the vibe of my favorite Kenneth Anger film, Invocation of My Demon Brother, is caught in the track linked below. There's an obvious resemblance to the engine-rev noise of Mick Jagger's amazing moog soundtrack, but there's a deeper connection: Anger's film uses a dense series of visual patterns to build a trance ritual, and whether or not Rylan intended it, the effect of her brain-freezing music is definitely the same.

JESSICA RYLAN - track one from Wiped Away


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