Wolf Eyes — Undertow (March 24, 2017)
• Wolf Eyes cestují přes hlubiny hluku a zoufalství až k propracovanému finálnímu soundu, jako by se zastavili v místě, kde na bráně je napsáno: “Opusťte veškerou naději”. Avšak schopnost skupiny prosadit své umělecké vize s takovou vitalitou by mělo inspirovat alespoň k záblesku optimismu.
• The veteran mutant noise unit mint their new Lower Floor label with the 100th Wolf Eyes album.
• Michigan–based experimental noise band that began as a solo project of the Beast People’s Nate Young.
Location: Detroit, Michigan
Style: Drone, Noise, Experimental
Album release: March 24, 2017
Record Label: Lower Floor Music
01 Undertow 4:40
02 Laughing Tides 1:50
03 Texas 4:00
04 Empty Island 3:40
05 Thirteen 13:53
Ξ» Nate Young
Ξ» John Olson
Ξ» Jim Baljo
by Benjamin Bland March 22nd, 2017 / Score: 7
Ξ» A new Wolf Eyes album is always cause for celebration. Not just because the trio of Nate Young, John Olson and Jim Baljo can usually be relied on to deliver the goods, but also because Wolf Eyes’ continuing existence and tendency for prolificacy is a welcome reminder that experimental bands can still carve out 20~year~careers even in the current musical landscape.
Ξ» Not, of course, that everything in a discography as massive as Wolf Eyes’ will be to everyone’s taste. Whilst some thought 2015’s certifiably unhinged I Am a Problem: Mind in Pieces was something of a masterstroke, others bemoaned what they interpreted as a decrease in viscerality from the band. Anyone who’s seen Wolf Eyes live in the last few years will know that any such accusation is misleading. Wolf Eyes are no longer as jaggedly vicious on record as they were in their earlier days, but only because they have found more subtle ways to unnerve listeners. Undertow, the debut release on the band’s own new label Lower Floor, is a case in point.
Ξ» There’s very little in the way of bowel~shredding sonic harshness here, but there is less of the restraint found on its predecessor. The titular opening track is thoroughly menacing, and the mood doesn’t let up throughout the following four tracks. To say Undertow is disturbing would be to misrepresent what’s going on here. This is Wolf Eyes turning a mirror on the grimy world around them rather than trying to goad their audience with unnecessary displays of nightmare trip psychedelia. The one short, sharp shock that this record provides — the exhausting, but sub~two minute, ‘Laughing Tides’ — is an outlier, but one that seems to reflect the sudden outbursts of chaos that afflict contemporary politics.
Ξ» This is, after all, a band that offered their entire discography for ‘Pay~what~you~want’ download the day after Donald Trump was elected last November, encouraging donations for appropriate charities instead. Undertow recognises that the familiar can be the most threatening. The cult of misplaced celebrity and of misinformation that dominates America in 2017 is aptly subverted in the 13~minute~closer, ‘Thirteen’, which sounds like a crawl~pace Stooges jam gone badly, badly wrong. “I count every deceit, as they repeat”, Young spits at one juncture. The track as a whole is a deeply unsettling ride, building on the claustrophobic electronics presented in the earlier stages of the record by threatening to deconstruct them altogether.
Ξ» If there’s one criticism that very much springs to mind this time around it’s that Undertow feels a little slight. Nobody expects a Wolf Eyes record to stick around too long, but aside from ‘Thirteen’ it does feel a little like this album could do with a tad more heft. Certainly, on early listens, it appears to lack some of the strange staying power of the band’s very best releases, as if there’s an indefinable something missing. Ξ» As a result, this is unlikely to jar experienced Wolf Eyes listeners as much as it is newcomers. One can only hope plenty of new ears are drawn into the band’s orbit through this release. Ξ» http://drownedinsound.com/
Tim Wilson, March 17th, 2017 14:19
Ξ» Your favourite voraciously prolific cottage industry of errant noise art reveals its latest fugitive deformity. Now comprised of founding member Nate Young, John ‘Inzane’ Olson and Jim Baljo, though prone to contributions from former cohorts Aaron Dilloway and Mike Connelly, the Wolf Eyes troupe find themselves in a privileged position after 2015’s I Am A Problem: Mind In Pieces. A record that tore into a barrelling cement mixer scuzz that, in its brutal, mind-rinsing rotation, felt like an abject alliance between dub, metal, psych, hardcore and avant-jazz, ending up appearing on, of all places, Jack White’s Third Man Records. Yet that unlikely link~up did little to compromise their throttle and their derangement, their propensity for straight up smash and grab and strung out mystification. Here they mark the inception of their own label, Lower Floor Music, with a record just as obstinately unruly, but in this instance it’s a work that bespeaks enervated energies and far~gone trajectories rather than searing barrages, a sweltering electrical storm that, instead of concerted fire, sows its creative destruction slowly and intensely.
Ξ» More on http://thequietus.com/articles/22025-wolf-eyes-undertow-album-review
Boomkat Product Review:
Ξ» The veteran mutant noise unit mint their new Lower Floor label with the 100th Wolf Eyes album.
Ξ» Hurtling ever closer to their 20th anniversary as a band, albeit in various iterations, ‘The U$A’s longest~running homemade primitive electronic poetry & vibes trio,’ offer a semblance of hope 2017 will be alright after all with the arrival of their own label, Lower Floor Music.
Ξ» Leading by example, this label — or ‘scotched taped nuclear audio radioactive front on humanity’ as they refer to it — is heralded by a new Wolf Eyes long player, ‘Undertow,’ which doubles up as the trio’s one hundredth album release by our estimations.
Ξ» This is a real ugly bastard of an album, with Nate Young, James Baljo and John Olson intent on shredding minds from the off, adopting a free jazz approach to mangling discordant guitar beyond all recognition on Laughing Tides. From there, Empty Islands sounds like the heroic Pod Blotz attacking the classic shred metal sound of America and Texas spangles further, deeper into abstracted, wailing noise
Ξ» The metallic textures and Lou Reed~esque vocal mutterings of the title track are set to an irradiating metronome, setting you up for the near~fourteen~minute finale Thirteen which is Wolf Eyes at their absorbing, decimating best.