Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Burnt Hills - Amphipacifica (House of Alchemy CD-R)

Ah, another Burnt Hills. The Albany crew's been busy lately, having just released this, a Ruralfaune number and a beautiful Noiseville LP, all of which will likely be covered here. Figured I'd start with this one though, as Adam from House of Alchemy just got in touch with me randomly about a day after getting handed a bunch of stuff from his label and Chapels project. Small world.

As far as this particular disc goes though, it's a totally wild one. Stripped down to, would you believe it, a quartet, Jack, Ray, Eric and Sick Llana get together for an hour long cathartic blast. If you're thinking that Burnt Hills are losing their edge then ("These guys are going all soft on us, what with this quartet approach--who do they think they are, the Stones?"), well, you thought wrong. Rather this is one of the most chaotic, noisiest discs in the unit's cannon, a total shredder of a track whose guitars interweave into a psychedelic cesspool atop gently writhing drums. The usual you say? Me thinks not. Eventually this thing dissolves into the thickest batch of noise these guys have ever conjured. Totally grinding, menacing stuff, the latter half of this bad boy is unforgiving as hell. Thick analog murk does battle with increasingly lethargic drum builds that speak to the physicality of the approach. Some weird synth stuff eventually takes over for a bit, bouncing all over the place with jubilant distress. I'm guessing this is Ray, as he's usually the man manning the pedal setup at shows, and he has a knack for taking his vocals and turning them into some truly odd blips, shrieks and creaks.

When the rest join back in, it is utter demolition, with screeching guitars rebounding around the concrete walls of Helderberg's underbelly as they ascend toward noise-screech heaven. Really sprawling stuff, and totally unforgiving in its vision as always. Gorgeous work in an absolutely beautiful package complete with see-through wax paper and gold prints. A killer manifestation of this unit which shifts personnel every Monday night. The fluidity of such an approach however, rather than closing off possibilities, opens them up into a canvas of thick internal instrument unification. As always, a slayer.

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