Friday Night Noise: John Wiese & C. Spencer Yeh, Yellow Swans, Headdress
Noise dudes do love their collabos, huh? Sometimes, I love 'em, too. Often these meetings-of-the-messed-up-minds produce muddled junk. Laptop-power-electronics-psycho Weise and violinist-electronic-twiddler Yeh have crossed circuit boards more than a few times, and Cincinnati (DroneDisco), their latest Marvel Team Up, doesn't disappoint. Electronics, synths, voice and base guitar are the ingredients, but this is the sort of album in which method rules all; which is to say, whatever sounds eked were rudely swept into a digital vortex and cranked hard. "Pink Pyramid" stands out here because it's so darn liquidy, an arresting cross between tongues snapping the insides of cheeks and oodles of saliva bubbles emerging, then popping, one after another. A happy programming accident? A titular giggle at sexual proclivities? Your guess is as good as mine.
The Yellow Swans, "Reintegration"
Since Portland, Oregon-based pair Yellow Swans called it quits a little more than a year ago, it's been - somewhat paradoxically - easier to appreciate them; when a great band is no longer spewing releases in various formats, listeners can dig into the recorded matter without having to scramble to keep up. Deterioration Yellow Swans (Modern Radio Record Label), one of the Swans' last efforts, ranks among their best. The freeform ambience Pete Swanson and Gabriel Mindel Saloman were maybe aiming for with At All Ends - only to instead wind up with a dank, dour mess of an album - is fully realized on Deterioration, which sees the duo's pendulum-swinging aesthetics synthesized into a whole that plays like a long, satisfying sigh. In particular, "Reintegration" simulates an opium-coma bliss in which wavelike synth tones flicker in and out of earshot, felt-like tendrils of static caress the ear, and a decidedly New Age motif repeats and waivers in a state of perpetual crumble. Immersion in "Reintegration" seems, weirdly, like placing one's ear to a sleeping lover's chest, stoned, and experiencing a contented melodic reinterpretation of his or her heartbeat.
Circa 2007's Turquoise, Texas duo Headdress walked a decidedly psych-folk line, with flanged, lysergic meditations that rarely cracked the six-minute mark, full of echoed, disembodied vocals and foreboding darkness. (Think a washed-out, rhythm-section-free Dead Meadow.) Two years on, Lunes (No Quarter) finds guitarist Caleb Coy and organist Ethan Cook exploring harsh, meandering drones that seem to stretch out for miles - and sometimes ramp up to blaring intensity. Lunes's shortest track at three minutes, "EEEE" has the odd distinction of straddling both Headdress's languid past and its noisier present. As a looped, short-circuit squawk tumbles through the mix like an asteroid in outer space, reverbed tones throb, hum and plink invitingly, welcomingly - as if our metaphorical asteroid is being slowly drawn into the warm maw of an alien craft.
Got some hot Texas noise tips - or, hell, any noise tips - for me? Hit me up with last.fm links or mp3s at firstname.lastname@example.org.