Saturday, April 28, 2007


OK, so the vague Noiseweek mission is to find and spread noise that not every noisenik in the world has heard...but the higher directive is to, uh, "celebrate" great noise regardless of exposure level. And, well, I imagine there could be some odd individual out there who's found this blog but not found Burning Star Core (shit, I've even already written some about BXC, so it's kinda impossible), so this post is for that imaginary, paradoxical soul. Or maybe you've heard of BXC but you just haven't had time to be buried in C. Spencer Yeh's bottomless pit of brain-crushing sound - it happens. If so, there hasn't really been a better time to drop what you're doing and commit, as two super high-level BXC releases are in current circulation: the mostly Yeh-alone Blood Lightning 2007 (only the last track is full-band-ed) and the full-band-ed Operator Dead...Post Abandoned (full band meaning Sir Spence, Mike Shiflet, and Hair Cops Robert Beatty and Trevor Tremaine).

It might be oversimplistic to say these two recs represent BXC's current yin-yang, but it's kinda true: Blood Lightning 2007 lays out Spencer's one-man bag of tricks nicely - his weird, hypnotic array of violin rapings, mouth distentions, percussive slicings, electronic wallings, and general sense of semi-serious/semi-absurd/semi-wacky (that's right, 3 halves) sonic fuckery. I think I've said this about other people before, and if so I apologize, but in this mode BXC is kinda like the Raymond Scott of noise, more interested in trying out whatever sounds he can find (even if they seem superficially goofy or cheesy) rather than hiding everything behind some macho noise wall (not that he can't do that too, to exclt effect when he chooses). I think "Deaf Mute Spinning Resonator" is a nice example of this - the ping-ponging shit in the second half is so simultaneously hilarious and moving it makes me want to cry rainbow-colored tears.

Operator Dead...Post Abandoned, on the other fist, is the bigger, fractured-rock /noise-jam version of BXC, which slays just as mightily but leaves much different-looking scars. I think the key to the blood-spilling in this config is Tremaine's drumming, a combo of proto-free-jazz roll, trash-can/car-crash blather, and upside-down rock pound, which allows his three comrades to freely spray all over his sturdy canvas like monkeys throwing shit at zoo-cage glass. The result here is more psych-rock sounding than I mighta guessed, but the sense of sheer abandon puts it more in the league of the excellent Death Unit album, or, more historically, the Grey/Licht version of the Blue Humans and the searing ramble of the too-forgotten Lhasa Cement Plant. "The Emergency Networks Are Taking Over" is a little too unique to hang influences on though - the helium-injected soar it builds from eyes-closed, head-down playing is so organic and serendipitous it could only have happened once.

BURNING STAR CORE - "Deaf Mute Spinning Resonator" from Blood Lightning 2007; "The Emergency Networks Are Taking Over" from Operator Dead...Post Abandoned

Sunday, April 22, 2007


Hoped to do a true retro entry this week but lack of time is precluding since there's some great new shit out lately from people I've blabbed about here in the past, here are some quick check-in's on previous Noiseweek heroes, which is kinda "retro," right?...

THE CUTEST PUPPY IN THE WORLD - Apotrope 2CD (New American Folk Hero)
I think this is the first long-form type thing from this duo since last year's Finfolk, and as much as I loved that one, this sprawling double disc is a huge improvement, a real massive hunk of unfettered sound explorations. Six tracks, three of them over a half-hour long, and all filled with an impressive array of moods and sounds - everything from ambience to noise to rattling improv to mechanical clanking to silence. Finfolk had some impressive variety too, but I think Apotrope flies higher because the variety is more organic and natural - everything bleeds, melts, and pours into everything else, making it a rare record that justifies long, uncut tracks. This stuff would really suffer if chopped up into smaller vignettes, because the transitions are even more fascinating than the excellent sounds those transisitons serve.

FRANCISCO MEIRINO & TIM OLIVE - Eagle Keys (Even Stilte)
Since I last spewed about Tim Olive, he's put together the great Supernatural Hot Rug And Not Used (and a great self-titled album) with Nisikawa Buhnsho, which I implore you to seek out if you haven't. This is his new project with computer/acoustics artist Francisco Meirino (aka "Phroq"?), and it's the standard kind of high-level, attentive improv that Olive has trademarked. Lots of minimal, reductionist bites of noise - rattling static, small whines, crunching blips - mixed with solid columns of heavy sound. As with SHRANU, I'm not sure who's doing what here, but I am sure that Olive knows how to coax smart shit out of his equipment and his colleagues, and Eagle Keys is perhaps the best example of one of his most unique talents - the ability to mix and match sounds so that nothing ever sticks around too long, but no contrivances or artificial shifts ever emerge.

POOR SCHOOL - Voor Niets In Zijn (Cut Hands)
I'm not sure what more I can say about my Montana free-rock heroes Poor School - I've splurted about them enough here and elsewhere that I might make the few people who will listen sick of hearing it all. My guess is that we'll all have to get used to it, though, cause whenever their proposed Ecstatic Peace release finally emerges, I gotta think it'll be hard for lots of other people not to be as droolingly smitten as me. The limited (edition of 61?) Voor Niets In Zijn is another great exhibit of these guys' ability to mix riffs with shattered rock rhythms and penchants for dissonance, blare, and outright noise, without ever abandoning the loping swing that glues it all together. This is pretty similar to the slightly greater Holy Master, but for some reason I smell more Japanese influence here, as in Fushitsusha, White Heaven, or even a stoned version of High Rise. Either way I bet these guys have reams of this stuff sitting around in their smoke-layered basements and I can't wait until it's all sent skyward for the rest of us to inhale.

(Since all of these recs feature too-long-to-post tracks and not that many of em (hence posting full tracks would be like giving half of each record away), I've made a clunky Noiseweek mix of excerpts from the three with 5 sec of silence between each - now go buy em all)...


Sunday, April 15, 2007


In the fog of my time away, I accumulated many great recs that have sat in sad piles, begging to be cracked open and played. Last week I finally heeded the cries of some Ecstatic Peace vinyl - mammoth sides from X.o.4, New Blockaders / Moore / O'Rourke, and Lambsbread - and they're all stunners, but the winner is Emil Beaulieau's Moonlight in Vermont. It's been so long since I checked in on Mr. B or anything RRR-related that I inexplicably thought his identity as RRR prez Ron Lessard was still a secret (was it ever?), but since about 200 sites mentioning it pop up via Google in seconds, I guess not. So, Emil=Ron, and also Emil=a noise lifer who's done enough amazing work on record and in his live, pink-shirt-and-tie guise to earn his own self-appointed mantle of "America's Greatest Noise." His sheer longevity would be enough to enshrine him, but the work has always been top shelf too.

Such is the case with Moonlight In Vermont, which I'd love to say ranks among his best stuff if I could legitimately claim to have a decent handle on his catalogue. But KFW sez so, and I don't think you want to argue with that. Apparently this album has floated around as a CD-R since 2004, and was slated to get a Hanson matrix number at some point, but instead it's Emil's Ecstatic Peace debut, complete with one-of-a-kind Emil-made covers - you can see 272 of them here. Mine (see image above) is an excellent magik-markered defacing of an album of John F. Kennedy speeches (see orignal to the right). Individual covers are always a great idea, but even cooler w/this rec because Emil certainly put as much care and craft into Moonlight in Vermont's array of sounds and sequences as he did into each of the 300 covers.

There's nothing world-changingly new about what Emil's doing here, but that's kinda what makes it great - it's just pure, workman-like noise, way less concerned with being different than being thick, detailed, textured, interesting, and basically unbeatable. Each of the eight tracks pulls a subset of sounds from Emil's array of searing strikes, depth-charge bombings, sandpaper tears, high-end screeches, and more, then lines them up into shapes and patterns that sometimes attack, sometimes drift, sometimes bounce, sometimes even swell. If you wanna get classical about it, there's both a Non tint to Emil's rhythmic cutting, and a Merzbow smell to the burning tone of the noise, but I also hear some of what Carlos Giffoni's been doing lately, at least in terms of arrangement and sequencing. It's the way both CG and EB structure their noises into vaguely song-like skeletons without getting montonous or predictable, and still hang onto the essential abrasion and urgency of their noises. Those are pretty standard comparisons, but hopefully that's less about my lack of imagination than it is about Emil's ability to make great shit out of pretty familiar sounds.

The track below is a good, succinct example: traces of feedback and distortion spin around each other in smoky rings, until a surreal sub-beat emerges through the natural waves of Emil's brain-shaking discharges. I especially dig how this track (and others on the rec) can start to sound like a locked groove, an infinite loop of the same simple noise, yet just pay a little more attention and you can hear Emil's subtle variances and organic modifications adding density and color without calling attention to themselves, like an image photocopied over and over until its repetitive shapes slowly blur into abstraction.

EMIL BEAULIEAU - (side one, track four) from Moonlight in Vermont

Saturday, April 07, 2007


Got a thick package of new PacRec stuff this week, and amongst all the saliva-inducing titles (see the Cold 100 to yr right), the thing I least expected to dig was the first non-CDr CD from 16 Bitch Pile Up. I'm not sure why my expectations were low - my only previous exposure had been their set at 2005's Noise Against Fascism, and they weren't even that bad, just a bit bland compared to head-flipping sets from Double Leopards, Flaherty/Corsano, Monotract, etc. There's only so many hours in my waning days, though, so I stupidly let that one show keep me from checking them out further (which kinda took effort, considering there are over 30 releases listed in the discography included in this CD).

Anyway, maybe I'm not so surprised that Bury Me Deep is good, as much as I'm surprised how varied-ly good it is. There's a really smacking range of sounds, volume levels, moods, environments, and so on in the nine tracks here, so much so that I keep getting taken aback each time I skip around. When I saw them 16 Bitch Pile Up were a 5-piece, and now I guess they're a trio, but the beauty is you can't really tell how many minds, instruments, edits, re-mixes, or whatever went into this - everything has a dense and careful craft that coulda come from any amount of brains, as long as they were all large.

Now that I jostle my memory stick a bit, I remember thinking that live they sounded more like a project than a band, but on record that turns out to be a plus. There's a cool sense of lab-like experimentation happening here, the kind of hypnotically-reserved calm that comes from allowing sounds to mix, mutate, simmer, and ferment. Sometimes the result is heavy drone, sometimes it's random clatter, sometimes it's repetitive minimalism - only one time (the deadly "Into the Air") is it harsh noise, and the rainbow of sonics that precedes that makes the impending assault insanely apt.

What makes Bury Me Deep doubly impressive is that it actually tells a story. Lay out the song titles in a row and you get a simple kiddie-horror tale, but the songs themselves have some narrative going on too. Some pedestrian parallels are clear - "Something Poked Up" has a Tell-Tale Heart-like pulse, etc - but on a deeper level, the noises, atmospheres, and sonic constructions here are laid out in arcs that rise and fall, with changes and momentums that turn like well-conceived plot points.

The best example of that deep craft is "The Brown Soil" (linked below), a slow-burning stretch of popping electronics and moaning drone that wouldn't feel completely out of place on a Fennesz record or even a Kranky compilation - the difference being that 16 Bitch Pile Up adds an underlying, insistent sense of menace. Their noise may rise and drift like clouds, but we're talking dark clouds crackling with bruised lightning, like black blood squirting from corpse veins. It makes the ketchup-laden crime-scene photos in the packaging all the more appropriate - fake blood on the outside, real human brain drippings on the inside.

16 BITCH PILE UP - "The Brown Soil" from Bury Me Deep

Sunday, April 01, 2007


Thanks to adrenaline provided by last week's No Fun Winter Ends Destruction at the sadly death-bedded Tonic (as well as some nice enouragement from several in attendance, thanks), Noiseweek is officially attempting re-animation. The biggest challenge at our bunkered, cereal-strewn HQ is clearing time to seek out not-so-known noise, so please keep/start sending stuff and we'll do our best to make this a weekly (or at least bi-monthly) concern again. Many thanks to everyone who asked.

Our return was also inspired by a gift from the tireless Albany stronghold known as FlippedOut Records. We had already been enjoying the last Burnt Hills missive (watch for tons more where that came from via Qbico, Ruby Red, Lotus Sound, etc), so we were pretty stoked to rip open the first sonic stab by Pog, a.k.a. Paula of Burnt Hills. Mitote is 66 minutes of muffled, hiss-laden scare-sonics, the kind my brain seems pre-wired to soak up. I'm just a sucker for anything unclear, and Pog's ghostly rattlings, creep-infested clangings, and nightmarish drippings are all prime murk. The closest referent I can conjure is the Handful of Dust stuff that involves strings of any manner, but even those cloudy classics are clearer than Pog's haze-locked mix; everything here is so cloaked in sonic distance that it's weirdly anyonymous, as if the sounds were stuck in some limbo, lost to drift through the air like fog hanging over their maker's grave. I seriously have felt some of these tracks pass through me like spectres, which probably says more about my current need for medication than about Pog, but I'm coherent enough to know that Mitote should freeze anyone susceptible to the pleasures of mental paralysis.

My favorite example of Pog's nerve-stiffening is "Remember" (linked below). It takes a wispy, vaguely-backwards loop of violin-bending (reminiscent of Axolotl or even Tony Conrad if one of his shorter tracks was hacked up and rearranged), and rides it out into a warped horizon of softening focus and increasing blur. Like a lot of Mitote, it uses a simple idea to create a complex atmosphere, providing a ripe context for your own aural hallucinations. Those less inclined to paint their own nightmares might see nothing, but that's kinda the genius of Pog - her stuff is sneaky enough to slip past the guards into the synapses of those of us whose receptors crave it.

POG - "Remember" from Mitote
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