NATE YOUNG “Volume Two: Nightshade”
(Lower Floor)

First time I heard Wolf Eyes’ “Dread” back in the summer of 2002, my immediate impression was “this is the American Throbbing Gristle.” I’m sure at this point in their history, that is one of the least remarkable things anyone could say about the band. Now, 17 years later, that impression comes up again while listening to this new solo tape from Nate Young. “Volume Two” is a collection of dusty synthesizer soundtracks and soundscapes ranging from Italian horror to pseudo-Tropicalia. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear any of these songs on the Rising From The Red Sands compilations. All the cosmic dread I would expect is here, but along with a gothic leaning and breadth of emotion that I haven’t yet heard in the W.E. oeuvre.

“Zombie” opens the album, half way between a Giallo and Tangerine Dream soundtrack, “Something Around The Bell” is dreadful and metallic, “Nightshade” includes some psychedelic guitar play and the aforementioned Tropicalia rhythms, and the closer “Simple Times” is a loose jam using gated noise percussion, feeling like a muscular Chris and Cosey track.

To be honest, I don’t think I’ve checked out anything from the W.E. camp’s releases since the Stare Case LP, and that’s been a while. The great thing with these dudes is if you turn your back on them for a moment, you’re going to be super surprised when you dig back in later on. Even though I wasn’t really expecting the howling blues of Stare Case, this album of minimal proto-industrial tracks was not what I was anticipating.

-- Mike Barrett