Jarboe has been issuing challenging, singular music since her days with Swans. Her life after leaving that outfit has been filled with music that’s often more challenging, more idiosyncratic. In 2007 she teamed with the duo Byla, the project of Kevin Hufnagel and Colin Marston (both Dysrhythmia and Gorguts), for the LP Viscera. It remains, more than a decade after its release, a weighty, challenging platter.
The five untitled pieces that comprise the recording range from the full-on, epic noise assault of the opener, to the second track’s haunting, meditative acoustic second piece. Jarboe‘s vocalizations add a deep sense of the cathartic, throughout, especially on the hot-rails-to-hell third composition, though she’s probably never sounded as lovely as on the LP’s prayerful fourth missive.
Whether quiet or loud or quietly loud, there’s nothing that emerges as expected on Viscera. Hufnagel and Marston prove themselves as visionaries in this undertaking, a duo that is seemingly tireless in invention without overreaching their talents.
Hufnagel points out that Viscera was a one-off in many ways. “It still stands as one of the most unorthodox records I’ve ever been a part of. We were pushing the confines of the extremely punishing and meditative at once. Our musical union with Jarboe not only yielded a unique record of great duality, but also a fantastic friendship and respect that continues to this day.”
Jarboe adds, “Imprinted in my memory is the exhilarating experience of performing the vocals for this bold collaboration with master musicians Kevin Hufnagel and Colin Marston. The desired state was to be as visceral as possible. This inevitably entailed placing a bucket to catch the saliva at my feet below the microphone. This album is on a deeply spiritual plane.”
Viscera is being reissued by Translation Loss on 20 July and will be available on vinyl for the first time, cut from the original 24-bit masters. It may be ordered here.