Hototogisu & Burning Star Core - Hototogisu & Burning Star Core (Drone Disco CD)
You may recall "II" was reviewed a while back, so here's part one which came out a few weeks AFTER part two. Bizarro world. Apparently the Hototogisu (Marcia Bassett, Matthew Bower) and Burning Star Core (C. Spencer Yeh, Robert Beatty, Trevor Tremaine) big band trimmed the fruits of their jamming down to two hours and then split that into a portion for Bower and Bassett to release on their Heavy Blossom label (which they did, and I reviewed it, so and try and keep up!) and the other half being released on Yeh's Drone Disco imprint (that's this one, got it?). Contrary to "II" though, this volume is actually a real CD much to my general surprise/enjoyment/arousal. And it looks nice too! Comes in the much under-used black polycase with a family portrait style cover (and a floor plan insert as to just where everybody was working from) as well as a randomly selected pin bearing the mug of any one of the five participants. I got Robert "Don't Call Me Warren" Beatty, or is it Tremaine? I can't tell/remember. And I'll keep buying copies of the CD till I get a full set. Just kidding. Or am I?
If you remember my other review of "II" (or maybe if you heard it yourself) you'd know it was a massively suffocating slab of Hototogisu-slanted drone. Well, to these ears, volume one sounds a lot more anchored down by the Burning Star Core trio, benefitting especially from the one-man rhythm section of Trevor Tremaine. It's almost too easy to lay down the first of five untitled tracks as an early Skullflower outtake but that's often the case when Bower gets involved with any unit involving percussion...so instead I'll say it's the Magik Markers' obliterated rhythms infected with Sleep's perpetually-stoned time-keeping...but it still reminds me of "The Idiotsburgh Address" which can only ever be a good thing. The second track pits Bower, Bassett and Yeh's wind-tunnel string section scream against a near-marching band crunch laid down by Tremaine, enormously reminiscent of Sunny Murray circa "Spiritual Unity" with brash noise-dom replacing the brass ponderations found on said disc although it really doesn't sound so difference when you think good n' hard about it. On this and the following track, Beatty's like a sprite (albeit a sprite with a gearbox strapped to its nipples), sprinkling down whiffs of Cluster/Lothar and the Hand People/Hawkwind electronic/Moog vibes wherever he sees fit or unfit. In fact when the third track gets going at about the six-minute mark, it sounds not at all unlike Acid Mothers Temple in third gear: swooshing synth chirps, thrashing drums, fuzz-tinged guitar overload and a curious bassline that somebody's gonna have to explain to me since there's no bass player on the album. Go figure. The next twelve minutes that comprise track four all sound like the come-down of that explosive trek, or a field recording of the razed turf where the factories and buildings responsible for the creation of this music once stood. There's a final four minute coda which could be called the Spencer Yeh show since his violin is slobbering all over Tremaine's 4/4 beat and the omnipresent torched amp/abused guitar drone echoing forever through the halls...it doesn't even end, it just cuts off. Like the music has always existed and will continute to exist regardless of a small thing like recording boundaries...or time for that matter.
If you didn't like "II" then I can't see you buying this self-titled effort but rest assured that they are two completely different (okay maybe not completely) different) beasts and I find that this one has a much more accessible sound. Also the Drone Disco CD is probably going to be a lot cheaper than the "II" CD-R, so it's not like you'll be out a fistful of cash all over again. But it gets my seal of approval so you know it has to be quality. I don't give those things out to ANYONE you know. Just anybody with their own CD-R label who uses spraypaint on a regular basis. Kidding, kidding. It only seems that way.