Black Eyes


(Copyright © 2004 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

Black Eyes (2003), 7/10
Cough Cough (2004), 6.5/10
Mi Ami: Watersports (2009), 7.5/10
Mi Ami: Steal Your Face (2010), 7.5/10
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Washington-based Black Eyes, who debuted with the single Shut Up I Never, concocted an energetic brand of post-hardcore on their album Black Eyes (Dischord, 2003). The percussive factor (two drummers, two bassists, one guitarist) evokes the Girls Vs Boys, but the chaotic structures, the funk undercurrents and the jazz shadowing hark back to the Pop Group and the Contortions. Someone Has His Fingers Broken, Pack Of Wolves and Deformative release primal fury and collective traumas. Dan Caldas and Mike Kanin shared percussion duties. Hugh MacElroy and Jacob Long played bass. Daniel McCormick on guitar was the lone melody maker.

Cough Cough (Dischord, 2004), which adds a saxophone, extends their research program in the fusion of free-jazz and punk-rock, a progression similar to the one incurred 20 years earlier by the Pop Group. The most daring pieces (Cough Cough, Another Country, False Positive, Fathers of Daughters) are open-ended, but nonetheless forceful, abstract but also very bodily. The loser is rhythm, which becomes a mere notion, not really an actuality. The music floats, coalesces and explodes, but has no rhythm, timeless, implacable, amoebic.
Tracks: 1 Cough, Cough 3:29 2 Eternal Life 4:02 3 False Positive 2:46 4 Drums 3:33 5 Scrapes And Scratches 3:14 6 Fathers Of Daughters 3:21 7 Holy Of Holies 3:06 8 Commencement 3:05 9 Spring Into Winter 2:02 10 Another Country 2:09 11 A Meditation 5:57

(Translation by/ Tradotto da Luca Battistini)

I washingtoniani Black Eyes, che hanno debuttato con il singolo Shut Up I Never,hanno elaborato un post-hardcore energico nel loro album Black Eyes (Dischord, 2003).Le percussioni (due batteristi, due bassisti, un chitarrista) evocano i Girls Vs Boys, ma le strutture caotiche,il sottofondo funk e le venature jazz rimandano ai Pop Group e ai Contortions.Someone Has His Fingers Broken, Pack Of Wolves eDeformative liberano una furia primordiale.

Cough Cough (Dischord, 2004), che aggiunge un sassofono, amplia la loro ricerca alla fusione di free-jazz e punk-rock, una progressione simile a quella affrontata 20 anniprima dai Pop Group. Nei pezzi piu' audaci (Cough Cough, Another Country, False Positive) la musica galleggia, si aggrega ed esplode, ma senza un ritmo, senza tempo, implacabile, ameboide.

Relocating to San Francisco, Black Eyes' bassist Jacob Long joined vocalist and guitarist Daniel Martin-McCormick and drummer Damon Palermo to form Mi Ami that debuted with Watersports (Quarter Stick, 2009), structured like a dj mix (one song segueing into the next one). The dance-punk singles Echonoecho (psychotic shrieks, circular drumming, techno beat, wild guitar distortion, tribal African percussion, and final cosmic funk crescendo) and Towers Fall were only the tip of the iceberg, an iceberg reminiscent of the spastic jazz-rock fusion of the Pop Group, the chaotic funk-punk of the Contortions, and the existential dub agony of Public Enemy. Echonoecho's combination of convoluted polyrhythms and hysterical falsetto, with the sudden apparition of a piercing guitar, pays off again in The Man In Your House, while New Guitar adds garage riffs and demented pow-wow pulsation and Freed From Sin delves into a trotting hoe-down with ugly atonal guitar. Pressure achieves heights of neurosis worthy of the no-wave (Contortions, DNA) while keeping the beat steady. The layers of Peacetalks/ Downer (the mildly robotic beat, the repetitive guitar pattern, the wailing wordless vocals) are squeeze together until they blend into a relentless tribal orgy, a supersonic garage rave-up. Mi Ami straddled the border between the intellectual and the hedonistic like the new-wave had preached. Suddenly, the nine-minute White Wife plunges into a mellow, sleepy atmosphere, that sets the stage of Long's trippy and Jimi Hendrix-ian solo meditation, the least danceable piece but also the most poignant.

There is perhaps less guitar and vocal eccentricity on Steal Your Face (Thrill Jockey, 2010), but the sound is even denser and equally incendiary. Mi Ami's music references, even more than on the first album, an irrational but perfectly coherent speech. The insane gallop of Harmonics is fueled by a percussive mayhem and guitar eruptions while Daniel Martin-McCormick's falsetto morphes from a childish rigmarole into a disturbing psychoanalytic case. Latin Lover starts out like a group of drunk street musicians playing the Velvet Underground's Sister Ray and fronted by a punk shouter, and then the percussive element takes on a life of its own, derailing every few seconds but always restoring itself. The mind-bending guitar "riff" that triggers the pow-wow dance of Native Americans is also the element that causes its destruction, thanks to a tour de force of noise and counterpoint. The other piece inspired by pow-wows, Slow, resembles a space-rock fantasia that alternatively evokes Grateful Dead, Hawkwind and Jesus Lizard, as usual taking off towards maximum intensity. The raving hysteria peaks with Secrets: the drums pummeling with no mercy, the vocalist screaming out of his head, the shrill atonal guitar inflicting massive casualties. The rhythm is constantly and methodically ebullient. There is only one moment of relative calm: in Dreamers the polyrhythmic loop and discrete bursts of guitar distortion conspire to induce hypnosis. Each musician does his best to become a complex and virulent reagent in the chemical formula of a radioactive explosive.

Jacob Long launched the project Earthen Sea with the cassettes Like Waves In An Earthen Sea (2005) and Seeking Enlightenment 12 Oz. At A Time (2006), turning to glitchy ambient cosmic music on Waves (Imminent Frequencies, 2010).

(Translation by/ Tradotto da Giovanni Giustini)

Trasferitosi a San Francisco, il bassista dei Black Eyes Jacob Long si e’ unito al cantante e chitarrista Daniel Martin-McCormick e al batterista Damon Palermo per formare i Mi Ami, che hanno debuttato con Watersports (Quarter Stick, 2009), strutturato come un mix da dj (ogni canzone sfuma nella seguente). I singoli dance-punk Echonoecho (strilli psicotici, drumming circolare, battito techno, selvaggia distorsione di chitarra, percussioni africane tribali, e un cosmico crescendo funk finale) e Towers Fall fungevano solo da punta dell’iceberg, un iceberg reminiscente della fusion spastica jazz-rock del Pop Group, del caotico funk-punk dei Contortions e dell’agonia dub esistenziale dei Public Enemy. La combinazione di poliritmi convoluti e falsetto isterico di Echonoecho, con l’improvvisa apparizione di una penetrante chitarra, risulta di nuovo redditizia in The Man In Your House, mentre New Guitar aggiunge dei riff garage e una demenziale pulsazione pow-wow e Freed From Sin rovista in un trotterellante hoe-down con orride chitarre atonali. Pressure raggiunge picchi di nevrosi degni della no-wave (Contortions, DNA) mantenendo un battito regolare. Gli strati che costituiscono Peacetalks/Downer (il battito blandamente robotico, il ripetitivo pattern di chitarre, il lamentoso cantato senza parole) sono strapazzati finche’ non si mescolano in una implacabile orgia tribale, una supersonica rave-up garage. I Mi Ami si sono posti a cavallo del confine tra l’intellettuale e l’edonistico come predicato dalla new-wave. Improvvisamente, White Wife (nove minuti) si tuffa in una dolce, dormiente atmosfera, che prepara la ribalta per la hendrixiana meditazione da trip in assolo di Long, il meno ballabile ma anche il piu’ toccante dei pezzi.

C’e’ probabilmente meno chitarra ed eccentricita’ vocale in Steal Your face (Thrill Jockey, 2010), ma il sound e’ addirittura piu’ denso ed egualmente incendiario. La musica dei Mi Ami rammenta, anche in misura maggiore rispetto al primo album, un discorso irrazionale ma perfettamente coerente. Il folle galoppo di Harmonics e’ propulso da un caos percussivo e da eruzioni di chitarra, mentre il falsetto di Daniel Martin-McCormick si trasforma da una filastrocca infantile in un disturbante caso da psicanalisi. Latin Lover inizia come un gruppo di musicisti di strada ubriachi che suonano Sister Ray dei Velvet Underground capitanati da un urlatore punk, mentre in seguito l’elemento percussivo acquisisce vita propria, deragliando ogni manciata di secondi per poi ricomporsi ogni volta. Lo sconvolgente “riff” di chitarra che innesca la danza pow-wow di Native Americans e’ anche il fattore che ne causa la distruzione, grazie ad un tour de force di rumore e contrappunti. L’altro pezzo inspirato dal pow-wow, Slow, pare una fantasia space-rock che evoca alternativamente i Grateful Dead, gli Hawkwind e i Jesus Lizard, decollando come di consueto verso il massimo d’intensita’. L’isteria farneticante raggiunge l’apice con Secrets: la batteria picchia senza pieta’, il cantante urla fuori di testa, la stridula chitarra atonale miete orde di vittime. Il ritmo si mantiene costantemente e metodicamente in ebollizione. C’e’ un solo momento di quiete relativa: in Dreamers il loop poliritmico e le discrete esplosioni di distorsioni di chitarra cospirano ad indurre l’ipnosi. Ogni musicista fa del suo meglio per fungere da complicato e virulento reagente nella formula chimica di un esplosivo radioattivo.

Jacob Long ha avviato il progetto Earthen Sea con le cassette Like Waves In An Earthen Sea (2005) e Seeking Enlightenment 12 Oz. At A Time (2006), virando verso musica cosmica ambientale simil-glitch con Waves (Imminent Frequencies, 2010).

Jacob Long left Mi Ami, that, reduced to a duo, released the mediocre electronic EP Dolphins (2011).

Daniel Martin-McCormick also had a career on the dancefloor, first with Sex Worker, that released The Labor Of Love (2009) and Waving Goodbye (2010), and then with Ital, whose Hive Mind (2012) was lo-fi dance music created on a laptop with little more than samples (of pop hits) and canonical beats.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

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(Copyright © 2004 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
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