Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Blood Money

Blood Brotherhood
Killer Pimp Records

Sometimes even avant-garde classical music doesn't afford the aesthetic freedoms that the truly restless hunger for. To that end, cigar-chompin' composer and academic Ken Ueno has joined up with Tom Worster and Jon Whitney to form Blood Money, a trio that attempts a meditative inversion of the power electronics aesthetic. “Blood Brotherhood” is not a linear or normal song-based record, but it is completely shorn of the tiresome masculine histrionics that permeates much noise music. In its place, with the barest of sonic tools, are songs mostly based around less than a smattering of accidental percussion, a thin lattice of electronic hums, whines and static buzzing, and the tightly simmering vocals of Ueno, delivering through clenched teeth and muted microphone, an otherworldly hybrid of Dionysio D'Arrington, Telepathik Friend, tuvan throat singing, Diamanda Galas and speaking in tongues. Some of the earlier numbers with just the spooky tom of a single drum, mosquito-like keyboard hum and vocals that seem to be attuned to an alien language, unsure of each syllable remind me of a summoning at midnight under the haunted walls of a hundred-years old fortress. Ghost ships pass through a fog-shrouded inlet. Metal snakes shed their skin and consume diamonds. Another time, stretching every syllable to the breaking point, Ueno proclaims a coming release, as the undulating noise pulses drop out, and all that is left is the flickering murmur of a cathedral organ. “Blood Brotherhood” is a bold symbiosis with silence, a joining of irreconcilable opposites for a haunted inner peace.

As an art statement, in conception and execution, “Blood Brotherhood” often hedges close to fucking stunning. Whether you'd want to listen to it repeatedly? Well, let's just say that there are handy pop-psych exams no farther than your internet browser far more qualified to judge that than I.

- Matthew Moyer

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