Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Burning Star Core - 'Blood Lightning 2007' (No Fun Productions)

I've always liked when a year appears at the end of a title, such as Death Race 2000 or Airport '77, and the 2007 is probably an essential component of this Blood Lightning, cause, after all, there might be a Blood Lightning 2011 in the works. Adorned by perversely wispy anime/erotica, this 51-minute slab is primarily C. Spencer Yeh on his own, at least until the fifth track which knocks the whole album out of balance somewhat with a big live jam. Taken as just four tracks, Blood Lightning 2007 is an amazingly consistent album, bookended by 'The Universe is Designed to Break Your Heart' and 'The Universe is Designed to Break Your Mind'. The former begins with some pause-button edit vocals or other such murmurings, leads into some electronic drone, and coalesces into the rain-on-gutter electroacoustic wash that is the signature Burning Star Core sound. It's almost like a reader's guide to Burning Star Core, and a good intro to the album. 'A Curse on the Coast' brings in slow, grinding pulses and looks most overtly at Throbbing Gristle's influence on Yeh, though in a somewhat more inquisitive manner than most TG I've experienced. 'Deaf-Mute Spinning Resonator' and the above-mentioned 'Break Your Mind' don't give as much breathing room, but instead work from what sounds like a collage of lo-fi recordings, slow movements, and vocal garblings. The drone is pretty immense by the end, which descends into unidentifiable springy gasps. It's like the perfect antidote to the first half, and a perfect closer -- which makes the fifth track, '10-09-04 Horrible Room, Lexington, KY' all the more jarring. It's a slow starter, all open-form poetics and open-mouthed jazz. It takes on a darker growl after about five minutes, and then the sea of unchanging madness begins to spread out. There's piercing electronics courtesy of Shiflet and Beatty, spazzing out but in very tight confines; Tremaine must be content to tap about on the cymbals while this absolute wall is mortared in. Once it's there, they get going again, but in a dark, punchy way, unlike the Operator Dead swing. If I seem a bit irritated by this live track, it's because it feels like a CDr or cassette release track, tacked onto the end of what's otherwise a very concentrated, focused and cohesive recording. Maybe Challenger is the record to go to for cohesiveness, and this is a more varying document.

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