16 BITCH PILE UP
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.