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Hototogisu + Burning Star Core - Volume 1

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Artist: Hototogisu + Burning Star Core

Album: Volume 1

Label: Dronedisco

Review date: Feb. 2, 2007

Volume One captures Hototogisu, Matthew Bower’s outfit with Marcia Bassett, laying it down with the Burning Star Core trio of C Spencer Yeh, Robert Beatty and Trevor Tremaine. If you’ve ever listened to either outfit, you’ll have some idea of what to expect: the untamed gush of noise scouring the levels way into the red, with Tremaine’s drums single-mindedly ploughing through the muck.

Indeed, at times Tremaine seems a little too logical and linear for Bower, Bassett and Yeh; one suspects it’s Beatty plotting a Kraut-esque, ever-circling bass motif through the third track (untitled, as always). Though Tremaine does a great job grounding some of these recordings with straight-ahead rhythm, he occasionally risks encroaching on the walls of tonal damage effortlessly built by the other members.

Seeming ‘lack of effort’ is a hallmark of Hototogisu: their noise develops slowly, so much so at times that you suspect the duo are asleep at the wheel. (Note: that’s a compliment.) Later in this set, as Tremaine pulls back on the forward movement, the quintet paddle around each other, fermenting in the acid liquid spilled from their equipment. This is where the Hototogisu/BxC collaboration transcends, and while every track on Volume One is worthy, the last twenty or so minutes really let go of any horizontal/vertical notions and just bleed. I’d sort-of hoped Volume One would feature some heavy throat/lung damage from Yeh and Bower, but any vocal yowl is gnashed so thoroughly into the gaping maw of noise-destruction that dominates throughout that lips and tongue might as well be circuits and strings. Never mind: with Volume One, patience is its own reward.

By Jon Dale

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