Thursday, June 28, 2007

Hototogisu/Hive Mind

For the final installment of this years Bored Fortress (so sad, why couldn’t it have been a year long thing, Britt and Manda?) it pairs up a couple tracks by “H” bands, UK/NY noisedrone guitar duo Hototogisu and Detroit’s synth throbber, Hive Mind (not really a band but a project by the lone Greh Holger), all held together by some savage sensory assaults courtesy of Mat Brinkman. It was an interesting pairing for me personally because I’m a pretty big fan of Hototogisu and have heard the majority of stuff they’ve put out, while, until this release, I had never heard Hive Mind before.
Hototogisu is of course the guitar duo (and a viola too I think, though I can’t tell if it’s on display here) of Marcia Bassett—of wicked dronesters Double Leopards, fellow Bored Fortressers GHQ and solo thang Zaïmph—and Matthew Bower of UK veteran noise outfit Skullflower, as well as of Sunroof!, Total, Pure and collaborations galore. Their track here, entitled “Full Prince Charles”, is a live track recorded a year and a half ago in Copenhagen. In traditional Hototogisu fashion, you are dropped, right along with the stylus, into a dense swamp of feedback. This track isn’t as heavy on the low frequencies giving it a bit more of a clattery, drilling-into-yr-skull sound than a thick fog of feedback. There are a lot of things going on here, various (slide?) guitar tricks and some vocalizing among the general badass riffing until the massive bummer of when an abrupt ending hits (some things just can’t last forever I guess). Like all Hototogisu releases, it gets better and better with each listen, more layers are picked out of the static and you eventually get to that zen spot (at least I do). “Full Prince Charles” is a strong outing by the group and another welcome edition to their much too scant 2007 discography.
Hive Mind’s track “Collapsed Shroud”, on the other hand, I can’t really get into. It’s a pretty minimal piece, composed entirely of synths (I think). There is a constant bass pulse and a sporadic flutter of high dappled over the top. And that’s kind of it. From what I’ve researched it seems that Hive Mind pretty commonly does longform or album length tracks, so maybe the 7” format doesn’t really suit him? Again, I have no frame of reference here, so I’m not sure if it’s this specific track that I’m not into or just Hive Mind’s sound in general. If yr a fan of Hive Mind though, czech the track out and tell me what you think so I can get learned and put my mind to rest on this issue.

So anyhow, that’s Bored Fortress 2007—my view of it anyway. To recap, my fav(e)s were Yellow Swans, GHQ, Blues Control, The Goslings, Hototogisu and Heavy Winged though the rest of the entries were still pretty rockin’. Thanks to all the bands and artists that did work on the releases and my immense respect and gratitude to Britt and Manda at Not Not Fun for putting together the finest subscription series the world has ever seen. Sign me up for ’08.

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