Sunday, April 13, 2008

WETHER / PILLARS OF HEAVEN / GALLOWS / DEERSTALKER Split (Peasant Magik / No Horse Shit)

This long-playing, four-headed beast of a double cassette from Philly based Peasant Magik and Wilmington, Delaware's No Horse Shit was daunting enough to put off reviewing for a few months (doubtless a few labels could say that at this point). Once the gears get rolling, though, it's damn hard to not play this thing until the bitter end. Wether's "Night Terrors" is a versatile mashup of cacophonous bells, buzzing amplified resonance (not unlike Damion Romero's recent work), manipulation of stereo panning and scorched harsh noise. It's more sparse than cluttered, and Wether's focus on one primary sound at a time works very effectively. Pillars of Heaven follows with "In A Mirror, Darkly," a loping atmospheric piece with multiple layers of wavering tape hiss, distant field recordings and high/ low-pitched oscillations reverberating off of each other. Simultaneously lulling and apprehensive. Gallows is eclectic enough to resist easy labeling, although they resemble Fossils in a soundtrack-ish vein. Miscellaneous clanging, low rumbles and background loops could describe a gaggle of mediocre groups, but this one manages to pull a haunting and melancholy feel from some otherwise apathetic rubble.
The only underwhelming side on here is the closer by Deerstalker. Allegedly a "collaborative effort" between the other artists (there's no mention on the website as to which artists are involved), it bears little resemblence to any of the other groups except Gallows. Rather than calculated drones or walls of distortion, there's some blasé vocal moaning and obscured knob fiddling in the background. Perhaps this was a room recording which translated poorly on tape. This isn't too surprising; as others have previously written, it's not unusual for a one-off noise collab to fail to add up to the sum of its parts.
At any rate, the consistent quality of the other sides should be reason enough to check for this split (both Peasant Magik and NHS have recently had it in stock). The two tapes come in an oversize vinyl case with full-color wraparound art. RECOMMENDED!

www.peasantmagik.net/
http://www.myspace.com/nohorseshit