Tuesday, December 19

Public Thanks

I was just going to drop an email, but this started as a comment here and should be acknowledged here. Ian took the time to read my ramblings, think about the stuff I was praising and recommend me something he thought I would really like. I hereby thank him, praise him, symbolically wash his feet for the DEAD-ON recommendation of The Goslings.

Thanks to Ian, I have purchased the Spaceheater/Perfect Interior EP collection available on Crucial Blast Records (possibly available from your local purveyor of fine recorded goods, as mine was), and their latest work Grandeur Of Hair, which I ordered online from the Archive Records shop.

I listened to the new one first (because it arrived in yesterdays mail), but want to post my first impressions of the EP collection to start. Spaceheater/Perfect Interior is a compilation of the first two releases from this husband and wife team, originally on the Asaurus label in 2003 & 2004. These releases find the duo playing with feedback drone, guitar reverb and harmonic resonance in an ambient way, with moments of outright noise and/or reverential early nineties shoegazing loops. The song "Landing" brings to mind My Bloody Valentine. Throughout, vocals are buried, echo-ed and fuzzed into sounds human but not lyrical. There is some percussion, but not for timekeeping. Nothing on this album adheres to any pop sense of structure; no hooks, little repetition, no discernible overarching melodies. The Goslings may be a "nosie" band, but here they explore the noise as discreet elements.

Grandeur Of Hair shits all over the idea of discreet elements of sound. On Spaceheater/Perfect Interior a slow, rumbling wash of reverb-heavy guitar would repeat itself, forming a base from which to color the surrounding space with a clatter of tinny percussion or a high harmonic held just to the point of discomfort; on Grandeur Of Hair that heavy reverb is the tinny percussion, as pulsing, pounding storms of noise fill every nook, cranny and atom of space, overwhelming nuance in short order, an assault like the opening of Brotzmann's Machine Gun. This is sound that rattles your innards.

The only thing comparable, for me, was seeing My Bloody Valentine live. The volume was overwhelming, but it was a livable level of discomfort before they launched into "You Made Me Realise". For roughly fifteen minutes, pure noise berated and bludgeoned me, and the band took it up a notch every time that drumroll hit - the sound would peal downward, like it was sucked into a vortex created by the rapid-fire drums, then scream upward, seemingly louder and both angry and gleeful at it's escape. After the show my head was perfectly clear - I was deafened but renewed, a slate wiped of all thoughts and worries. My body, however, was broken; my joints ached, my back screamed at me as I climbed into my car, my kidneys defined by their throbbing outlines in the small of my back.

Grandeur Of Hair somehow recreates that in the comfort of my living room. I chose to listen first with headphones, as my wife was home and I know full well this is not going to be her thing. After an hour I tried to get up and it seemed I could feel each separate vertebrae, a Jenga tower that could not possibly keep standing. And I had no thoughts. I was clean, brain-scraped like I hadn't been in nearly fifteen years.

Thanks Ian. I needed that.


Ian said...

Hey, the pleasure is all mine - I'm so glad you like them. I don't know mny people who can or do appreciate the Goslings, and that's a masterful description of their power.

On the other hand, though, I kind of hate you for seeing MBV live. The last time they toured I was 8 and sort of had never heard of them.

If you want to swap, I'd love to send along Between the Dead in exchage for that EP comp... they're also working on a new album (apparently "we eased up on the throttle a little on this one, still heavy though") and Max is going to send it on to me when it's finished. I'm excited.

Erik said...

Thanks for the compliment on the description. It is the most enjoyable kind of clarifying pain imaginable.

Will you hate me more if I tell you it was Superchunk/MBV/Dinosaur Jr. and $10? I think my ears rang for a week. You make me feel old - I was a freshman in college.

I dropped you an email about Joy Division - feel free to drop me your address and we'll play tape trade.

New stuff? Yeah!

Ian said...

Would I hate you more? Oh, yes. Dinosaur Jr are still in the queue of acts I need to properly check out, but I love Superchunk.