DYLAN NYOUKIS / BLOOD STEREO
The solo CD, Owl Tapes, is the most aggressive of the three. Using reel to reel tapes, scillator, and piles of his own distended voice, Nyoukis slices together a pretty convincing seminar on how to send poisoned darts of air from the speakers into any/all attending ear drums. The first piece, "Live at the Engine Room, Brighton, March 4th, 2006," is the most map-filling, with Nyoukis' gulps, gasps, cries, and myriad breath-dissections shooting around the stereo space like needles in search of veins. (Weirdly, one of the tracks on the new Alan Sparhawk solo CD is called "How the Engine Room Sounds," and it's a pretty great string-ironing counterpart to Nyoukis' heavy breathing.) A shorter middle track, "Interlude" (linked below), sounds mellow compared to what it's sandwiched between, but in terms of brain activity and idea displacement, it's just as harried. Owl Tapes ends with "Live Piece for Voice, Reel to Reels, and Oscillator," a super-piercing bit of treble extremity that, if pressed, I'd say sounds vaguely like a brain being fried in a pan (and not because of drugs), but Nyoukis' own description ("like if Terry Riley had down syndrome when he hooked up his time-lag accumulator") is far more accurate.
The two Blood Stereo discs are a bit different, both from Owl Tapes and each other. Both are thicker mix-wise than the former, and rely less on voice, or at least anything you can recognize as voice. For Heavy Lung, a 35-minute live recording from April 2005, is actually a five-piece performance with Julian Bradley, Neil Campbell, and Sticky Foster, and it's as solid and turbulent as those names would lead one to expect, filled with cycling noises, rising tones, some darkened sections of harrowing howl, and even a strangulated beat here and there.
An excellent disc to be sure, but I prefer The Little Creeper, an hour-long Karen/Dylan session recorded live on resonance-fm this past February. Now, I can get happily lost in the least varied, most monotonous long-form noise, but every so often it's nice to hear a lengthy piece that actually visits a range of ear-locales, and The Little Creeper is the best example I've heard in a long time. Constantly engaging, and almost OCD in its search for new sounds, it runs a pretty slick roller coaster from meditative drone to looped rhythm to random samples to vocal exhumations, all inextricably connected and mystically-timed, as if these two have some secret key to the sweet spot at which to stop hammering a sound and transform it into something new. I've been combing this all week for the best excerpt to post, and it's impossible to pick - like a great movie, each psycho-acoustic scene here begets the next so well that changing the channel is like slicing a hole in the ozone. But check out the excerpt below anyway, and then paypal some pounds to Sir Nyoukis for the whole thing ASAP...
BLOOD STEREO - excerpt from The Little Creeper