Hiss Tracts: Shortwave Nights (Constellation, 2014)

May 18, 2014 at 9:14 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Hiss Tracts: Shortwave Nights

Hiss Tracts: Shortwave Nights

Newest offshoot of Godspeed You! Black Emperor/Set Fire To Flames, and a collaboration with Kevin Doria of Growing and Total Life. This is way more on the ambient/field-recording/drone side of the GY!BE/Constellation spectrum, so don’t expect crescendo-core here. There’s guitar, synths, piano, and even occasional cello, but the guitars sound closer to bowed string instruments here. It’s eclectic and not strictly any type of music, but there’s plenty of rolling, droning soundscapes and slight distortion. And then there’s tracks like “Drake Motel / “9 Gold Cadillacs””, which is a minute-long glimpse into the life of two old folks playing harmonica and ranting about life. Seems like little comic-relief slice of life in between all the serious-sounding drone. “Ahhh-Weee Dictaphone” is a short recording from a scratchy, whirring dictaphone, which also begins the next piece. I’m assuming most people who hear this will probably be interested because of the GY!BE connection, but for anyone more interested in Growing, there’s a few moments on here that come close to that band’s gated, vibrating guitar sound, particularly the end of “Halo Getters”. “For The Transient Projectionist” is where it all seems to come together here: field recordings, digital processing, guitar drone, and creaking noise effects and ambience. “Test Recording At Trembling City” starts out with quiet, calm guitar tones, and then gets really alarmed midway through, before tapering off. “Beijing-Bullhorn / Dopplered Light…” ends the album with a distorted, decaying transmission which seems to just melt into nonexistence.

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