Thursday, December 28, 2017

WE ALSO LET BLOOD “Eclecticism” C30
(Personal Archives)





Harrison Phillis tries to keep up the appearance of an unruffled outlook, but once you get beyond the surface, there’s a vast reservoir of psychic crud that’s causing ripples and glitches in his positive façade. Not that it’s surprising – a perusal of his discography and a sampling of the wares has me all tense and junk, as if any relief from sheer panic is going to come in the form of jittery, caffeine-shot vibes that will only serve to amp the tension even if it dials back the dread. I’m a little more paranoid than I used to be, and We Also Let Blood feeds that paranoia. But, as Phillis himself says, WALB is like Charlie Brown cooking up an HNW, and OK, I get the downtrodden nerd vibe a little bit here on ECLECTICISM, especially on the specifically non-HNW tracks that use – gasp! – melody as a building block within the sonic structure. “You Can’t Reach Me Here,” “I’m Sorry, I Wasn’t Listening,” and “No, What Did You Say Before That” utilize very similar tones that flit and bleep amid swoops of violent distortion. I’m partial to these tracks as they’re really unusual within the idiom, especially when set in relief against the rest of this tape and, indeed, the rest of Phillis’s oeuvre. These excursions off the well-trod noise path, sidesteps though they are, are the most striking things about it. But that’s not to suggest that the rest of ECLECTICISM is ho-hum – quite the contrary! The nihilist streak lurking behind the We Also Let Blood mask is unleashed in force for the most part, as serrated metallic sheets of noise, ear-splitting klaxons, and rumbles so subterranean they sound like seismic shifts comprise the majority of the tape. And if you’re a noisenik, you know that’s exactly what you’re looking for. Still, the tonal shifts of something like “Logistics” will have your stomach dropping and heart thumping like you’re trapped in a plunging elevator, such is its effect. I think that’s the absolute perfect sensory description of what We Also Let Blood does to you.

We Also Let Blood
Personal Archives

-- Ryan Masteller