Wolf Eyes

(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
Wolf Eyes (1997), 6/10
Dread (2001), 7/10
Slicer (2001), 6.5/10
Burned Mind (2004), 6/10
Dog Jaw (2005), 6.5/10
Human Animal (2006), 7/10 (EP)
Black Wing Over The Sand (2007), 6.5/10
Always Wrong (2009), 5/10
No Answer - Lower Floors (2013), 5/10

Inheriting Throbbing Gristle's aesthetics of industrial chaos, and the brutal, visceral, dissolute abrasiveness of post-psychedelic improvisers such as F/I and Gravitar, Wolf Eyes, founded by vocalist and electronic musician Nate Young in 1997 in Ann Arbor (Michigan), crafted frantic, distorted, violent trancey electronic soundscapes on Wolf Eyes (Hanson, 1997 - Bulb, 2001), a Nate Young solo project, and Dread (Hanson, 2001 - Bulb, 2002), a trio with guitarist Aaron Dilloway and drummer John Olson devoted to more extended, electronic and cacophonous pieces (the 21-minute Let the Smoke Rise, the 11-minute Wretched Hog, the 14-minute Desert of Glue).

After dozens of live cassettes and CDs, including the abstract electro-noise collage Slicer (2001 - Hanson, 2002), and the EP Dead Hills (Troubleman, 2002), titled after the 11-minute hailstorm of Dead Hills, Wolf Eyes' reputation was established by Burned Mind (Sub Pop, 2004), a better organized and recorded work whose distorted pounding vignettes such as Stabbed in the Face, and especially Village Oblivia impressed those who had never heard industrial music and Chrome. However, the album still contained some extreme pieces such as the hyper-psychedelic guitar freak-out Burned Mind and Rattlesnake Shake, that harkened back to Gordon Mumma's musique concrete. The eight-minute Black Vomit sounded like an expressionist kammerspiel drenched in muriatic acid.

The deluge of releases continued with mediocre recordings such as Mugger (Hanson, 2004) and Fuck Pete Larsen (Wabana, 2004). Collaborations included Black Dice & Wolf Eyes (Fusetron, 2003), an intense prog-rock jam, and Beast (De Stijl, 2004) with Oregon's improvising collective Smegma.

Their ability to release more than 50 works in less than 7 years has little to do with their artistic value (which remains very low). Amateurish and uninspired collages such as Deranged, Lung Malfunction and Six Arms and Sucks give the avantgarde its bad reputation.

Fuck The Old Miami (Important, 2005) reissues a live cassette. No Face Lives (Destijl, 2003) is a collaboration with synth trio Smegma.

Black Vomit (Victo, 2006) was a collaboration with jazz saxophonist Anthony Braxton.

The Black Plague (Heathen Skulls, 2006) was a collaboration with the Australian collective Grey Daturas that includes the 24-minute Post Civilization Muzak, one of their harshest noise sculptures.

River Slaughter (2006) collects two CD-ROMs: The River of Haze and Human Slaughterhouse. Another project of the era was the CD-ROM or limited-edition LP Dog Jaw (Heresee, 2005), possibly their most futuristic vision yet, drenched in galactic drones, electric turbulence, vocal samples, manipulated found sounds and instrumental doodling; pure abstract horror soundsculpting (notably A2).

Having replace Dilloway with Mike Connelly, Wolf Eyes displayed a more catastrophic side on the mini-album Human Animal (Subpop, 2006). Here their apocalyptic post-industrial noise-industrial music is channelled through a series of therapeutic shrapnel-like shocks that begin with the gloomy industrial noise of A Million Years, plunges into superhuman depression with the ghostly electronic turbulence of Leper War and culminate with the eight-minute "concrete" concerto Rationed Rot for android drones, vocal samples, synthesizers, thunder, wind, saxophone, etc. But the peaks of clangor and distortion come with the shorter, barbaric Lake of Roaches, Human Animal and Noise Not Music. On the other hand, Rusted Mange steps into an electronic form of grindcore and Driller even intones a relatively catchy and anthemic melody at martial pace in a monster voice. Despite the violence inherent in their sound, Wolf Eyes were converging towards the old aesthetic of gothic rock of the 1990s.

Black Wing Over The Sand (Ideal, 2007) contains just one 40-minute piece that summarizes the new (relatively restrained and gothic) mood of Wolf Eyes.

Equinox (2007), recorded between 2004 and 2005, is a collaboration with John Wiese of expressionistic electronic mayhems.

Aaron Dilloway, on his own, recorded highly experimental works such as Beggar Master (Hanson, 2007) and especially Chain Shot (Throne Heap, 2008), comprising the atonal industrial/concrete suite for tape loops, metal and horns Chain Shot and the glitchy soundscape of Execution Dock. The Squid (Hanson, 2007 - Hanson, 2008) is a collaboration with C Spencer Yeh of Burning Star Core. Aaron Dilloway & Jason Lescalleet released Grapes And Snakes (2012), enterely performed on analog synths and tapes.

Demons' Frozen Fog (Aryan Asshole, 2007) was a collaboration between Nate Young of Wolf Eyes and Steve Kenney of Werewolves.

Hatred (Ultra Eczema, 2007) was a collaboration between Nate Young and Alivia Zyvich.

Wolf Eyes rediscovered the song format on Always Wrong (Hospital Productions, 2009), a much less ambitious work.

Failing Lights, the solo project of Mike Connelly, debuted with the three-cd box-set A Cruel Picture (2008), followed by Failing Lights (Intransitive, 2010) and Past And Future Secret (2011). Connelly's imagination had no limit: Afternoon Summer Sex (Holidays, 2012) collects electronic noise music, and Dawn Undefeated (Dekorder, 2012) was cut at 45rpm but can be played at any speed.

Black Vomit (Victo, 2011) was a collaboration between Wolf Eyes and jazz saxophonist Anthony Braxton.

Nate Young's solo album Stay Asleep (Regression V.2) (NNA, 2012) was old-fashioned power electronics of the "industrial music" age.

Nate Young's disco-music side-project Moonpool & Dead Band debuted with the EP Moon Pool & Dead Band (2011) and the single Human Fly (Not Not Fun, 2012).

Victoriaville Mai 2011 documents a live performance by Richard Pinhas (on electric guitar and electronics), Masami Akita (computer and electronics), and Wolf Eyes.

Olson played electronics, saxophone and bass clarinet in a jazzy trio called Graveyards with drummer Ben Hall and cellist Hans Buetow that debuted with Monument Centers (2005).

Nate Young and John Olson became more active as Stare Case: Colony Collapse (American Tapes, 2010), Stare Problem (2010), Public Vanity (2011), Lose Today (De Stijl, 2011), Bouquets For The Living (American Tapes, 2011), etc.

Aaron Dilloway's Modern Jester (Hanson, 2012) recorded between 2008 and 2011, was an experiment for tape loops, percussion, synthesizer, junk, voice, and tape.

Wolf Eyes replaced guitarist Mike Connelly with James Baljo for No Answer - Lower Floors (De Stijl, 2013). There is very little of the demonic fervor of the past. The loop of abrasive noise that constitutes Warning Sign could have been done by any child with a laptop. Chattering Lead is the most lively piece, and it is basically a tribute to goth-rock of the 1980s; cute but hardly revolutionary. The centerpiece is the 12-minute glitch horror ambient suite Confessions of the Informer for sub-bass, vocal samples and sporadic electroacoustic events.

Wolf Eyes then flooded the market with lo-fi cassettes of live performances, besides I Am A Problem - Mind In Pieces (Third Man, 2017) and Undertow (Lower Floor Music, 2017), which contains the 14-minute Thirteen.

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(Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
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