Dusted Reviews

Yellow Swans - Against Sleep and Nightmare

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews

Artist: Yellow Swans

Album: Against Sleep and Nightmare

Label: Weird Forest

Review date: Nov. 9, 2005

Alongside Hair Police and the Skaters, Yellow Swans have seeped inside the small cabal of third (or is it fourth?) wave rhapsodic noise jammers, capable of reanimating consumer-electronic carcasses into glorious, moist slabs. Whether it be loose, proto-rock freakouts or maximum AMM vapor, all three groups have birthed particular aesthetics yet with distinct characteristics traceable, in varying strains, to the American Tapes/Hanson orbit. Backed by three years of self-releases and recent heavy touring action, the Oakland-via-Portland duo of Peter Swanson and Gabriel Mindel have issued a few misses that should've stayed in the woodshed, but lately they've been shitting a consistent and yummy gravy train. There are many faces to D Yellow Swans, as their name-changing prefix "D" suggests (Duh, Demo and Declawed have been used) and that semi-chameleonic aspect brings the sonic changes as well. The Swanson-Mindel audio architecture shape-shifts from burned out Voice Crack-like hollers (see Drill or Live During War Crimes) to more satisfying and distinct minimal collage gestures, as we hear on Against Sleep and Nightmare.

In three unnamed tracks, D Yellow Swans ebb near the shimmering and crumbling textures of Takehisa Kosugui's Group Ongaku. The opening track begins with a faint hum that morphs into clattering before spliting apart quickly into wispy ambience. It's a lively feeling, sorta an amplified cesspool incubating new life, that is met with a three tone call damn near the extraterrestrial howdy from Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Any interplanetary reference, though, is offset with hovering, hollow tones and a refreshing, almost Taku Sugimoto-like guitar strum that ends it.

Instead of cranking the machines into the red and wading through the muck with fingers crossed and hopes of a golden tone appearing, the duo piece these instant compositions together with rewarding patience, as the B-side shows. Before the thick, guttural feedback/screams sweep in, layers of static and sine waves corrode to a fine sheen,

as if the vinyl is a blank plate. Then the guts spill out, sweetly halved between the left/right channels, yet still fully gaping with squealing sirens and toasted bits of smoking wire. Even approaching top volume, Yellow Swans insert minute grains and fleeting patterns beneath the squall, showing unusual attention to detail. Surely, a pile of baked electronics birthed this, and perhaps a dozen monkeys left alone with said goods could churn out a similarly dazzling mess. Until those primates get together, though, Yellow Swans' three-dimensional execution and tempered stasis will be the growing light to keep eyes on.

By Eric Weddle

Other Reviews of Yellow Swans

Bring the Neon War Home

Psychic Secession

At All Ends / Decension Yellow Swans


Going Places

Read More

View all articles by Eric Weddle

Find out more about Weird Forest

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.