Wednesday, July 9, 2008

This record just totally hypnotized me

Burning Star Core
Challenger
Hospital Productions


















from Volcanic Tongue:

In the past people have always thrown about the name of Faust – myself included – when describing specific aspects of Spencer Yeh’s Burning Star Core project, the standing waves of electronics, the Outside The Dream Syndicate-style violin and minimalist rock brut, the monolithic arrangements etc. This new Burning Star Core album, essentially a solo work by Spencer Yeh, pretty much explodes the comparison for good, bundling a bunch of (comparatively) short/compact tracks that take the schizophrenic organisational logic of The Faust Tapes as their jumping off point while outrunning the whole fucking deal with a series of minimalist instrumentals that are the absolute pinnacle of condensed brain-erasing psychedelic noise beauty. The whole thing starts with the gorgeous title track; a synth-heavy, Euro-fixated ascension that makes the scene ala Bowie/Eno’s Warszawa and just keeps on going. Then there are vocal cut-ups that sound like puny brain cells dancing in the light of scalpels and lasers, almost orchestral synth instrumentals that are some of the most gorgeously melodic creations of Yeh’s lifetime, totally fucked looped-guitar hypnotisers, cracked electronic melodies that sound like hymns or Christmas carols beamed via shortwave from somewhere just outside the solar system, Basinski-esque sad chorales, intensely detailed and emotionally resonant modulated field recordings that touch on aspects of both Toshi Ichiyanagi and Christoph Heemann …. Yeh has been talking of this album as specifically inflected towards his more compositional interests rather than has blazing free-improv moves and it really benefits from the rigour of the arrangements. There is zero flab, not a single duff track, and I would go so far as to say that this might be the best sounding psychedelic noise record to come out of the whole post-noise generic meltdown. Seriously, it took a lot to drag me away from alla the great punk-primitive DIY/garage/synth sides that have been dominating VT over the past few weeks but this was the mother that did it. Saw that it got a pretty lukewarm review in The Wire but scratch that – this is a stone modern classic, best BXC side ever, great art from Robert Beatty on the cover and very highly recommended. So don’t be a dope.