[22 August 2006]
Bay Area noise duo Yellow Swans’ latest is, as ever, released under a new band name in their ongoing attempt to confound record store attempts at categorisation and alphabetacisation. This time around, though, the prefix Drift seems entirely apt. This three-track, 38-minute EP of psychedelic-ambient dronescapes wafts by like an intangible fog of sound, forever drifting just beyond the point of concrete definition. Using guitar, electronics, vocals and drum machine, the Swans concoct a huge, nebulous cloud that envelopes without offering any readily grasped points of reference. The result is a retinal projection that gives each listener the opportunity to construct their own meaning and narrative. This listener was able to identify the following: seagulls and coastal fog, thrumming with tidal, submarine distortion; cavernous echoes of rituals, rites conducted under a metallic buzz-saw drone; children’s voices, either playing or screaming, under the glare of baleful mechanisms; smothered screams and rattles; a heat haze shimmer raising clouds of static and insects; rain on temples, dampening old ceremonies; irradiated seas lapping at tropical hydrogen shores; the death throes of machinery in the grip of destruction; the screaming skull of the future; total extinction. Quite a trip.
Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/yellow-swans-drift/