Saturday, February 16, 2013

Sun Splitter - WFMU

No More Than a Soaked Plank on Two Cold Oceans; Sun Splitter and Yellow Eyes on My Castle of Quiet

Sun Splitter_2781bJanuary 22, 2013

Blissfully unaware of what was to come later in the month, in preparation for WFMU's Web-only, "silent" fundraiser, the plan for My Castle of Quiet was to mount three special programs; The Sonics of Terror, a soundtracks-only special; and two double bills—one improvised / experimental "noise" bill, and one metal bill, the latter showcasing two bands that I'd been "courting" for some months—Chicago's excellent Sun Splitter, passing through on tour, and Brooklyn's relatively unsung black-metal giants, Yellow Eyes. The latter program was to top off a very eventful month on the show, and boy, did it ever.

As great as they are different, Sun Splitter and Yellow Eyes are both exemplary and plainly evident of how wildly varied what falls under the banner of "underground metal" can be; Splitter draw on "rock," with a thick and good-smellin' Sharpie, culling from Big Black, Led Zeppelin and all points between, with a pure, dense psychedelia permeating their unique compositions, while Yellow Eyes are one of Brooklyn's best-kept black-metal secrets, true to the parent genre, while unquestionably having their own sound, wickedly sea-ferring accomplished players, great songwriters with a murky sound and an attitude to match, seeking neither fame nor widespread success; thus far, YE have released their mini-masterpieces only on cassette, though two full-length vinyl releases threaten to drop within the coming year.

Intrepid WFMU sound engineer Juan Aboites helmed both sessions, bringing to both projects the cohesion that their complex deliveries demand, and though Sun Splitter were pre-recorded on 10.24, the night before the broadcast, had I not been admitting of this fact, the listeners would never have known, the band's pulsating energy and sheer volume rattling the walls at 43 Monty; heavy, hypnotic Gibson riffs broken asunder by the psychedelic cage-rattling of men captured in H.H. Holmes' damned filthy Chicagoan underbelly.

Sun Splitter - Eye of Jupiter-The Anthropocene-Starlit Mire/Time Cathedral
Sun Splitter - Two Cold Oceans Yellow Eyes_2803d 
Yellow Eyes blistered through four of their finest songs, acute treble and assaultive blast beats casting their vivid mental picture of a band of ghost sailors, maddened by syphilis and too many hours alone at sea, listening to the persistent slap of the waves against the hull.

Yellow Eyes - Rotted Wheat-No More Than A Soaked Plank-Unlit Kingdom-My Candle Is Gone But I Do Not Move

Keep your eyes and ears on both of these bands, to build continually impressive live performances and discographies, and I cannot recommend highly enough the two full-lengths, Sun Splitter III (Bloodlust!) and Silence Threads The Evening's Cloth (Sol y Nieve.) Huge thanks to Juan and the bands for a night to remember. Both sets are presented as relative continuums, with Sun Splitter's final chunk broken off on its impressive own, and YE's set laid out as one continuous mp3.

Friday, February 15, 2013

BLOODYMINDED "Gift Givers" re-press

Bad Habits - Ceremonies - Transgressions - Tendencies - Symbolism - Experimentation

BLOODYMINDED are happy to announce the re-release of their 2005 CD - "Gift Givers" - with its original design adapted for a new eight-panel digipak presentation.

Released March 2013.

Now available as a download via iTunes, Amazon, eMusic, Bandcamp, etc.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Mark Solotroff / Anatomy of Habit interview in Germany's BLACK Online

Hot off the presses, for our German speaking readers:

Mark Solotroff with Wrekmeister Harmonies (3/8/13)

Mark Solotroff is pleased to be taking part in another special Wrekmeister Harmonies performance, coming up on March 8:

Friday March 8, 2013 - 10:00 PM

"Beyond the Black Rainbow" with a live score by Wrekmeister Harmonies

Pre-Party with Permanent Records 

Drinks and music with Permanent Records in the Logan Theatre Lounge starting at 10pm.

Screening of Beyond the Black Rainbow with a live score by WREKMEISTER HARMONIES starting at 11:30pm.


Monday, February 11, 2013

Brainwashed on Anatomy of Habit CD

Here's a nice review of our new CD from Brainwashed, with thanks to Creaig Dunton:

Compiling their vinyl debut and follow-up EP, this compilation captures the Chicago rock supergroup (made up of some of the city’s best known noise artists) honing and perfecting their surprisingly restrained and tuneful, but appropriately grandiose work.

Consisting of Mark Solotroff (Bloodyminded, Intrinsic Action) on vocals, Greg Ratajczak (Plague Bringer) on guitar, drummer Dylan Posa (Cheer-Accident, Flying Luttenbachers), bassist Kenny Rasmussen and percussionist Blake Edwards (Vertonen), there are a lot of recognizable people here to those versed in the harsh noise world, so my interest was piqued when I heard Anatomy of Habit was more of a post-punk death rock band.

Within the first few minutes of opener "After the Water" (the shortest track at about seven and a half minutes), I immediately felt some kinship with the short-lived Freek Records label, who also captured some more noise-oriented bands doing more guitar-based music, such as Bodychoke and Ramleh.  Maybe not in a direct manner, since those artists leaned more into a distorted, occasionally psychedelic squall while AoH has a much cleaner, almost ascetically sparse approach to their epic length compositions.
For example "Overcome" sticks to a sparse echoing bass and quiet feedbacking guitar structure rather rigidly, with Solotroff's vocals and slight variations to keep things moving.  Slowly but surely noisier guitar drifts in, building to an aggressive climax of slow, but monolithic guitar riffs, stabbing drums and raw, aggressive vocals.  It is not a song to just casually listen to; it demands full attention, which is rewarded at the end.

Repetition is a key piece of these songs, most of which clock in at around a full length side of vinyl in duration.  "Overcome" and "The Decade Plan" open with elongated passages displaying simple, but effective variations, with Solotroff's vocals occasionally drifting more into mantra like repetitions.  Never is it dull and tedious though, because the songs consistently build to dramatic crescendos that make them captivating.
While there is a variety of sounds and approaches, it is a dark record.  "The Decade Plan" opens as closed to upbeat as it gets, which is quickly contradicted by a dark, doom-laden closing.  Even the more Joy Division tinged "Torch", with its majestic rhythmic dissonance is reformed into an early '80s metal riff-fest later on, bearing a passing resemblance to Metallica’s “For Whom The Bell Tolls” in the best possible way.
With the debut LP ("Overcome" and "Torch") coming out in 2011 and last year’s EP ("After the Water," "The Decade Plan") both being relatively recent, there is a noticeable difference that can be heard between the two, with the more recent work showing a bit more variation and nuance in comparison to the more bluntly aggressive earlier work.  The material works together as a consistent whole though, and feels more like a full debut album rather than a collection of previously released material, managing to be both powerful, but also memorable and catchy.