Wednesday, November 17, 2010

House of Low Culture "hollywood squalls"

House of Low Culture
hollywood squalls
Hydrahead Records

Aaron Turner has put his name on many albums over the years. From Isis to Lotus Eaters, Mamiffer to House of Low Culture. House of Low Culture (or HOLC) is essentially Aaron's solo work (though not exclusively) and is arguably the most interesting and varied. Some earlier releases focused on electronic influences and noise while some of the later ones moved into drone and abstract soundscapes. Although HOLC has released few things, they are all insights into Aaron as an artist and what moves him. This cassette captures HOLC live. I have had the pleasure of seeing him perform a couple times live and it was always inspiring. What i saw was very disciplined and minimal, and focused on almost the least you can do with a guitar and still get an emotional resonance with your audience. The live performance on this cassette is a bit different from what I had experienced. "Hollywood Squall" begins by making use of looping ebows on guitars that very slowly build and build. Delays and loops alter the guitars into what becomes an almost palpable amount of anxiety. Once the swirling guitars start to sound as if they cannot build anymore, vocals come in and destroy everything. The intensity never seems to let up and you can constantly hear deep and harsh vocals amongst the maelstrom. Suddenly everything drops but some deranged breaths. It's pretty fucked up and that's just the first piece. The second track, "Hollywood Lull" takes you in a whole other direction but you are going to have to hear it for yourself. I am not sure if this is still available but i bet this will find it's way to be released again in another format (I suggest Peter King lathe cuts with a similar layout, but that is just me). Limited to 50 copies with random found "j cards" and a photocopied obi strip full of info. Let's hope Aaron and Hydrahead keep up with the cassettes.

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