Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Yellow Swans live in Australia
Two releases here from the tragically defunct duo Yellow Swans. These guys put out their final album, "Going Places," earlier this year. Listening to it recently made me sadder than ever they're no longer around since it was their most accomplished release to date. Luckily former member Pete Swanson still puts out stuff on a regular enough basis and while it's not quite the same, it's still darn good. In addition to that, Yellow Swans has an incredibly deep back catalog which brings us to what we have here
First up is a collaboration with New Zealand's Birchville Cat Motel (now known as Our Love Will Destroy the World) aka Campbell Kneale recorded live during a tour around Australia in 2005. Anyone familiar with the work of these two will know immediately what to expect here. On the first track, the nearly half-hour long Terminal Saints, we have minimalist guitar tones buried beneath a massive sea of feedback and a roaring electronic sustain that nearly engulfs all else before settling down just a bit and making way for some electronic skronk and a slightly more dynamic sound around the halfway mark. It's a massive aural assault throughout though, almost attaining a drone or even distorted raga like quality with the sustain coming to resemble a mangled harmonium. The second, shorter track is even more oppressive. A pulsating, squalling storm of white noise static and eardrum rupturing feedback blares out over a low end siren call, the definition of analog annihilation. The whole thing sounds like the soundtrack to some nightmare space walk, a completely overwhelming cacophony that is not for the fainthearted.
1. Terminal Saints (27:28)
2. Marble Carcass (21:18)
Yellow Swans with Birchville Cat Motel Download
After that we have Yellow Swans live @ Sound&Fury 29/10/2005, recorded in a record store and only released in an edition of 150 copies in hand made, wax sealed envelopes. The show was during the same tour as the above two live collaborations but this time it's just the Yellow Swans duo and instead of lasting for much less than half an hour, this set went on for nearly forty minutes. This performance is much dronier, more hypnotically beautiful in its noise than the above release's brutal assault. The opener is 18 minutes of shimmering, low end guitar hum which glides and glows beneath a whistling, creaking, whirring electro-skree. It's a really gorgeous, haunting sounding piece. Track two is about a quarter as long and is a lot rougher. It's louder and skuzzier, the guitar tone still low but no longer warm. Instead it has a more mechanical buzz to it, almost like some distant, muted power tool. The electo skree on top if more unhinged, hissing and screeching into wild high end flurries and ragged rumbles. The third and final track begins with a searing line of high end feedback and slowly builds and develops from there over 15 minutes. The hypnotic drone of low end guitar still sets the foundation for careening sinewave mayhem. This is a shimmering, desolate sound with murky guitar oscillations and humming pulses of sound. There's very little melodic here if anything but this isn't pure noise. It's dense, dynamic, and the more you listen the more you hear. It's actually really impressive that two guys are doing this live.
1. Untitled 1 (18:12)
2. Untitled 2 (5:21)
3. Untitled 3 (15:02)
Yellow Swans live @ Sound&Fury Download
If you're new to Yellow Swans, start with the latter before moving onto the former. Actually, start with "Going Places" which you can buy here along with other cool stuff. It's a great intro to a great group.