Waves - 10 (American Tapes CD-R)
Here's a bit of six degrees for you - recently I bought a whole stack (okay, four) of Creel Pone reissues which I'll probably review sometime next week once I start to get my head around them. One of them was Ruth White's "Flowers of Evil", originally released by a Mercury Records sub-label sometime in 1969. Today I was trying to figure out what to review for the site and settled on this brand new Waves CD-R I picked up (and if that cover art doesn't scream John Olson, I don't know what does) at a Wolf Eyes show recently. But the thing is, this CD-R is packaged in a mutilated/collaged/typical American Tapes style sleeve...and the sleeve was originally housing a Richard Hayman 45...and the 45 was released on...Mercury Records! Well how about that. Hey I never said anything about it being a good story. Actually I never said anything about it being a story at all. It's an introduction, a segue if you will. Only Steve Jobs has got nothing on me. Y'dig?
So if you live in Germany you're probably saying to yourself "was ist Waves?". Well, you know, it's John Olson solo, something he banged out in time for the Wolf Eyes tour. At least that's what deductive reasoning tells me since it's limited to a whopping 13 copies. So basically your only hopes of getting one are by seeing Wolf Eyes yesterday or by emailing me at the following address...ahaha just kidding. I'm no eBay hound, and the limited nature of this release did nothing to sway me. Fact is, I've never even really heard Olson solo and I figured I might as well try something different instead of buying whatever CD-Rs bear the Wolf Eyes insignia. (although I did buy that "Tin Coffin 2" they were selling - hey come on it came in a tin! How could I say no?). But what does this sound like? Well I knew Olson was big on the synthesizer (as any casual Inside Inzane Studios listener can tell you) but I wasn't prepared for this at all. Three untitled tracks, each hovering around the 10-12 minute mark. The first one is gorgeous floaty synth drones like the pure sweet sound of the summer night's sky after drunken swimming sessions, wet and deadly. If I didn't know better (and I don't) I would say this sounds a lot like an ARP synthesizer only with Olson sidling up next to Mrs. Radigue (two references in one week!), slinging his arm around her shoulder and laying down a bright and brilliant jam, old school style. But no foolin' this is a beaut and actually - funnily! - could very well be something dug up from the 60's and reissued bootleg style on Creel Pone. Maybe in 40 years somebody will rescue this from obscurity and reissue it on mini-disc or whatever format we've switched to. So anyway the first track is all great organic tones and cosmic wide-eyed star-gazery, but this is Olson after all and he has been known to rock noise every now and again so you can't get too comfortable, esp. when the second track chimes in coming off a far more ragged and demented beast, certainly more in tune with aspects of the Wolf Eyes sound circa "River Slaughter" et al. There are a few spikes (spykes?) where it brushes up against the tip of so-called "harshness" but for the most part this cut is steeped and clouded in darker reaper notes and general ominousity. Again, all well and good. But nothing prepares you or (heaven forbid) your dog laying at your feet for the brain-munching, ear-bleeding, pituitary fluid leaking psyche-scrape of untitled track number three...holy fuck. It's just the harshest, most abrasive, noisiest, highest pitch sound ever forced out of a synth played for ten minutes. If you can make it through on headphones without lowering the volume or plain turning it off, you're a true champ. I couldn't do it myself. Because I value my sanity. Fucking a. I'd place this in rank with Sachiko M and Kevin Drumm in terms of sheer, high-end, deafening shout. I've never heard anything so brutalizing from the Wolf Eyes camp in my 97 years in the service. Christ. I've been battling a cold the past few days and this just made all my symptoms ten times worse. My immune system is a withered husk of its old self. I've got no real conclusion for this, I'm going to curl up in bed and sleep forever. Wait for the Creel Pone reissue, it'll be worth it. But bring earplugs.