Friday Night Noise: Swanshit and Yellow Tears

Swanshit, "Fluorescence": Forty-five minutes of linguine-layered, ascending drone, "Fluorescence" strikes me as a more intense, fully-realized stab at the kind of digitalized, etheral illusion-of-statis Aquarelle pursued a few years back on Of Memory and Momentum. With "Fluorescence," it's as if a million tiny ball-bearings or drops of water on a hot, enormous frying pan were being shaken into quivering blurs, driven hither and yon to form then abandon Valhalla peaks, gaping ravines, and raging surface-of-Neptune storms that stretch on for infinity. I'm reminded of that flight-of-directorial-fancy scene in Trainspotting where Ewen MacGregor dives into The Filthiest Toilet In Scotland to pursue a pair of suppositories, of arctic blizzard footage, of the ebullient snap and fizz of ginger-ale.

On his site, Swanshit - the work of a Houston gent named Chris - offers this composition (among many others, though none are quite as stunning) gratis, and you'd be well served to pay his harddrive deliverance a visit.

Yellow Tears, "Don't Cry, Side B": Dread is among noise music's most vital gears. (Coincidentally, it's also the title of an early Wolf Eyes release; those guys know all about generating dread.) NYC-based power-electronics trio Yellow Tears - Frank Ludovico, Jeremy Nissan, and Ryan Woodhall - don't really do dread, historically; they're less interested in being the hungry monsters lurking under beds and in closets than in simulating what happens as said monsters seize, eat, and begin to digest you.

Tones contract, crunch, and break like bones; fluids - and these Tears love them some titles and sounds that reference or imitate fluids - splish and splatter; sickening heaves, stomach-acid scree, and eroded samples are sucked into unforgivingly entropic whirlpools; afterlife transitions encapulated by crushing, industrial dins.

Last year's The Pissmop LP - a short 'n' brutish high-water mark in a stridenly unprolix career - felt like a hit-and-run festival of quickie snuff films or compressed distillations of those Aeon Flux episodes where the titular heroine bites the big one.

So the Don't Cry LP (HospitalProduction) - this year's Tears model, if you like - comes as something of a surprise: it's like a top-shelf horror movie. "Side A" spends nine minutes setting the scene with gasps, hinge-squeaks, electronic effects that pulse like agitated heartbeats and low, threshed throbs, massaging tension for long enough that the listener begins to actively wonder when something really startling will happen.

Then "Side B" explodes into earshot, all Robert Inhuman wet-dream logic: a hair-raising sample of a woman being attacked, likely in an actual horror movie, intercut with grim-sounding clanks, clatters, and welding sounds that suggest her assailant is an especially sadistic robot. Then brutal, sudden silence, followed by more screams yet, swaddled in disorienting, nightmarish drones that give way to subtler but no less halting chills in short order. Eat your blackened hearts out, Sword Heaven!

Got some hot Texas noise tips - or, hell, any noise tips - for me? Hit me up with last.fm links or MP3s at [email protected].

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Ray Cummings