October 31st, 2007


Noise Show -- Picador 10/29/07

Burial Hex


Yellow Swans

So here's the deal. If the idea of an hour of noise completely turns you off, don't listen. If you have been to some noise shows and are open to the idea, you will definitely enjoy these sets. The whole point of any type of music is that you have to know what you're supposed to listen to. If you're unfamiliar with music, it just sounds arbitrary, or monotonous. But these guys who improvise live sets from a variety of instruments, guitar pedals, microphones, and broken test gear are doing something that I find exciting -- finding the music in chaos.

If you're new to noise I'd recommend listening to these sets in headphones at a comfortable volume. It actually can help to read a book or surf the internet while you're listening, because the normal listening one does to music doesn't apply. If you relax and let it flow over you you'll begin to hear things in it you didn't at first listen.

The Lwa set is maybe my favorite of the three, because of their use of low frequency tones and tidally slow shifts. Again, you may think I'm nuts, but there was drama and tension to their performance, and they had 40 people rapt. The Yellow Swans have a lovely way of mixing tonal elements into a grainy, swelling squall. They sound like Sigur Ros playing around the bend in a subway tunnel while someone sandblasts the walls. While they were at times earsplittingly harsh, the feeling I got from them was of a meditative gentleness.

And while these recordings are pretty good, they don't really capture what I saw and felt at the show. Lwa was set up with their own PA at the back of the room, with their PA mic'ed and feeding only low tones into the house system. So what you heard in front of you is more or less what is in the recording, but what came from behind was this titanic rumbling drone that went down to 25 HZ.

Racoo-oo-oon played, and while they're pretty noisy they're closer to something like Sonic Youth, only more vague. The recorder shut itself off somehow at the start of their set. They were leaving the next day to tour Spain and Portugal.