Monday, October 29, 2007

PRIVY SEALS "Means Nothing" (Ekhein)

This tape, released in a very limited quantity for his east coast tour with God Willing and Work/Death, is, in my opinion, the best work we have yet heard from Matt Sullivan's Privy Seals project. Except for perhaps, "Tacit," the infamous double c30, whose tapes were designed to be played at the same time on two different cassette decks, this best represents Sullivan's dedication to recording as a practice separate from playing live. Most noise producers churn out tape after tape of music that is, essentially, identical to what you might hear if you were to see them perform. There's nothing necessarily wrong with that, and there's a lot of skill required in producing live what one produces in their bedroom under "ideal" conditions. However, it takes a certain artistic seriousness to carefully examine what methods work in each context and what a person can expect from their audience at a show and from their audience at home in front of their stereo. "Means Nothing" is much more patient than a Privy Seals performance. It contains no screaming or choking or gear throwing. Each side is a long, slowly changing crumble. Far from harsh, yet it is not without its tense aggression. It sounds almost like a small avalanche that lasts forty minutes. A flat landscape, burnt black by some mysterious disaster-- the aftermath of Harsh Noise.