[7 November 2007]
The prolific noise artists known as The Yellow Swans have been delving deep into the annals of noise experimentation throughout their brief, yet abundant, career. The duo has released countless albums, EPs and a shitload of CD-R side projects (as D—Yellow Swans). Past full-lengths such as Psychic Secession and Bring the Neon War Home were shrill and assaulting displays of psycho-electonica. Descension—the aptly titled EP, with tracks consisting of Descent 1 and Descent 2—continues their sonic exploration, this time wallowing in the bowels of noise rock. The two tracks span well over 10 minutes each, and are a combination of drones, feedback, static, white noise, and what might be described as factory recording (instead of the more commonly used field recordings). The result is a slightly daunting, yet somehow aesthetically cohesive, soundscape. It is difficult to tell if this more spatial sound is a new direction for the Swans, away from the slightly more abrasive squeal and drone efforts, or if the duo is trying something off their beaten and battered path. Whatever the case may be, let’s hope these sound gurus keep creating records which force us to reevaluate all our previous conceptions of what music is and how far the boundaries of sound can be expanded while still remaining in the traditional construct of song.