Sunday, April 02, 2006


Got a nice compilation this week from Senor G. Chen via his Zum imprint. Zum Audio Vol. 3 comes 8 years after the rock-centric Vol. 2 , and the shift to noise works mightily. I dig comps but most elude me analysis-wise due to general lack of coherence (exceptions are usually label-specific like Fflint Central's great Malpractice, or heavily thematic like the Last Visible Dog 6CD set Invisible Pyramid: Elegy Box). Not that that's bad, just makes comps kinda thought-resistant. Like, I love Deerhoof, and they're not totally out of place here, but hearing them next to Can't is a bit too schizoid for me to wrap words around. My problem and not the comp's of course, as Zum3 is clearly a fine document of left-field sound wider than any human-made paragraph could properly encaspule. I'm just not equipped to tackle it on anything other than grocery-list level. Which would include the grinding wrath of Can't, the multi-tiered drilling of John Wiese, the thick static drone of Axolotl, the Excepter-like canned-beat drool of Fat Worm of Error side project Bromp Treb, and an epic mountain-climb from the stellar D Yellow Swans (the "D" variously standing for Dove, Demos, Dreamed, etc.)

That last track (mp3 below) got me revisiting my paltry collection of D Yellow Swans stuff, which is uniformly great. I dig how this duo does all-out noise, meditative drone, industrial bombast, and even IDM-ish beat all equally well, yet never's never "look what we can do," but "look where we ended up." Their 20-minute collab with The Cherry Point is pure brain-bombing dissonance, while their half of a split CD-R with The Skaters surfs a wave from crackling distortion to dense dreams to engine-hum buzz. Bring the Neon War Home inserts pulsing drum-machine beats beneath the gristle, visiting waters previously charted by Wolf Eyes and even Big Black, but with dramatic timing that eliminates peer. It's closest to the demolishing show I saw them play a few years ago in Baltimore, one of my fave memories from the now fire-ridden Tarantula Hill (please help that situation if you can).

The best D Yellow Swans rec I own is Dreamed Yellow Swans on Troniks/PacRec. Layers of rubbled noise, buried vocal barbs, clicking drum machinistics, and unidentified soundscapes are all grown patiently like closeted pot, peaking in the Mouthus-like (due to what sounds like electronic drums) blast of the 20-minute, perfectly-titled "Drowning in Paradise." Weird that D Yellow Swans don't get more non-knowing press for their diverse racket, but at their prolific rate, I can still see Spin including them in a piece on underground reggae eventually.

D. YELLOW SWANS - "Untitled" from Zum Audio Vol. 3
D. YELLOW SWANS - (untitled) from Dreamed Yellow Swans


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