Sunday, May 06, 2007


Dunno if I've been craving order, or just that I've been listening to the first few Glenn Branca Symphonies repeatedly, but lately I've gravitated toward improvised noise that includes some semblance of acoustic drum beats and/or identifiable percussive rumble. Obviously that's a pretty vague description that can apply to tons of stuff, but it's the best way I can describe the thread that seems to bind some of my fave recent recs together, from the bombastic drum blasts on Mike Tamuburo's Ghosts of Marumbey to the rolling waves of beat on No Quarter's Burning Star Core slab I talked about last week to the crashing slobber on the dauntingly excellent Air Conditioning disc to even the splatter on the surprisingly aggressive Sunburned (no Hand of the Man anymore, for some reason) CD. Not that I don't still love a beat-less mess of abstract noise, but something about a drum pounding up through a pile of wreckage like a reanimating Terminator is really hitting my cranial sweet spot lately.

Now, by no means does everything on the perpelexingly-titled Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia, the Bottled Smoke entry by Alligator Crystal Moth, qualify as noise with a beat. In fact not much of it is "noise" in the strict sense at all, but rather hippified free-jams - really good hippified free-jams, but still, closer to the drum-circle rattlings of Sunburned back when they did have the HOTM trailing behind them, or maybe a less droney Pelt, or maybe even an abstracted version of Tower Recordings, than pure noise - good company to be in, no doubt. But, you know, it has lots of flutes and rattles and acoustic detunings and distant half-vocals and wisps of electric wah etc. And more power to it.

One track in the middle, though, aims directly for my brain-bullseye, and sticks an arrow right through that mental apple. The beautifully-titled "Climactic Waste" is dense, cavernous noise that employs of all kinds of insistent, bluntly bold percussion - hard doses of rhythmic cacophony behind its gauzey curtains of distortion of feedback drone. I'm particularly enamored of a section about 2:45 in, where the bassy wind of the noise gathers into a gale and the percussion rises up to ride the wave; the first time through it had me imaging an alternate-universe version of A Handful of Dust with Robbie Yeats drumming. Overall, it's an oddly mellow piece for how noisy it is, with tons of stuff going on but nothing feeling rushed or frantic, a neat middle point between raging agression and back-on-the-ground cloud-staring.

I'm kinda perplexed by how all this sound could be coming from a duo, but that confusion is lessened by the presence of Digitalis overlord Brad Rose (erecting sonic mountains here with Michael Donnelly), who's done enough different stuff that no sound he makes should surprise me or anyone else. If you haven't sent any cash his way lately...well, you can't buy this from him since it's part of a now-sold-out subscription series, but you can still buy a ticket to the festival this series is supporting, and/or snag the Foxglove CD-R these two behemoths made a while, do so...

ALLIGATOR CRYSTAL MOTH - "Climactic Waste" from Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia


Blogger Cola Nitida said...

The new Alligator Crystal Moth on MYMWLY is also amazing, maybe the best thing they've done by my reckoning.

8:45 PM  
Blogger brad rose said...

hey thanks for the write-up - really appreciate it! and glad you like the disc... just thought i'd explain the title, since it confused the hell out of me at first too (michael came up with it). apparently it means 'fear of the number 666.' i never would have guessed such a word even existed... heh...

4:58 AM  

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