Thursday, November 16, 2006

Wolf Eyes bring noise and cd-r's to The Echo

Oh joy, my first noise concert. What sorts of dark witchery will I run into at such an event? Turns out Wolf Eyes has a very eclectic fanbase, which includes females (who knew?). I spotted a lot of indie couples, a few leather jacket punks, one middle-aged business type, and an assortment of stoners. What gross stereotype did I fall into, you say? Well I do wear glasses, so I'll go with ponderous, "I get this whole noise thing" guy.

Mistakenly, I arrived at The Echo way too early, forcing me to experience both opening acts. Sick Llamas didn't do much for me. The sound he was putting out was bland and the execution was clumsy. Maybe it was just an off night, but he never fell into a groove during his 20 minute set. Raven Strain, also a one man act, had a lot more depth to his noise making. His transitions were smooth, and he created a soundscape I was able to submerge myself in.

Wolf Eyes is synonymous with noise. They've become the cool noise band to like, but don't let that deter you, because they deserve every merit. Throughout their set, the trio creeped at snails pace, painfully building the tension, until it was too much for some to bear. People in the front screamed for a release. At any sign of a building fury, heads began to nod, trying to push the music along, but Wolf Eyes held their ground. Thicker and thicker, the growl of sax, tapes and bass filled the space, until the timing was just right. With fists pumping, the walls came crashing down. The 20 minute build had finally been released, and everyone took advantage of the moment. The night consisted of two long builds and two short releases. The final explosion was "Rusted Mange," which created a tornado of bodies out of the once docile crowd. While I went to this show with a "gotta see Wolf Eyes once" attitude, I sit here wanting more. Since so much of their performance is based on instinct and feel, each show is open to infinite possibilities.

For devoted Wolf Eyes fans, the merch table is as important as the live show. An assortment of limited CD-R, vinyl and cassette releases lay waiting to be consumed. Each one is handmade, and sold on a first come, first serve basis. I ended up with "Vol. 6" of their Wheels of Confusion piece. Truthfully, I just closed my eyes and pointed to something. Wolf Eyes is impossible to keep up with, releasing a massive amount of work between each major LP. Check out wikipedia for a partial catalogue. So I bought a single piece of the gigantic puzzle and made my exit.

When I got home, my first instinct was to import my mysterious purchase into itunes, and see what sort of treasure it held. Taking a quick scan through the single, 38 minute track - I found my efforts utterly worthless. It was equivalent to picking up a novel, flipping through its pages, and deciding whether it was worth reading. Just as a novel will undoubtedly be filled with a spattering of words, a Wolf Eyes cd exists as a continuous collection of noise. It is sequence that gives value to both words and sounds.

After listening to "Vol. 6" once through, any lingering doubts about noise music, instantly dissolved. It's not really "Vol. 6" that did it though, it just happened to be the final step in solidifying my respect for Wolf Eyes. I'd listened to all their major releases, I'd finally experienced their live show, and now I'd heard their DIY recordings. Wolf Eyes has delivered on every promise. They are prolific, but never sloppy. Instead of 38 minutes of careless drone, "Vol 6" is full of detail and structure. If you want to give noise a chance, start with Wolf Eyes' Dread, and work your way out from there.

Read RC's Human Animal review.

[mp3] Wolf Eyes - The Driller

Photo CRED

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

wolf eyes is crap.

not music... no type of music, but crap...

no talent ass clowns.

if you want a good reason to stand outside and smoke, go see these guys.

6:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wolf eyes are amazing. i beg the above dipshit to try and create any piece of music or "noise" that is even the smallest bit as intense, unique, and creative as a wolf eyes track. fuck you, wolf eyes rules.

11:48 PM  
Blogger jake said...

the first poster up there probably can't relate to pain. Thats what wolf eyes brings and they do it very well... If your looking for some nice hipster dance tunes listen to some gay shit like interpol. If your looking for something talentless and generic try gbh, but if your pissed off, depressed or your face is melting, turn on wolf eyes. I once had a friend that was into drum and bass that didn't like wolf eyes, we ate some mushrooms and I turned it on and he didn't move for an hour. He said he had gained a new appreciation for them. I'm not saying you have to be on drugs to appreciate it, but there is something hideous about wolf eyes that most people can't appreciate without some outside influence. I don't think happy people could produce such tracks, it takes an intimate relationship with fear, filth and rusting useless machinery(which Detroit is full of). To me it makes sense that they would come from a place forgotten by industry which fell apart and left everybody without jobs. Their music isn't for happy people, plain and simple. It is for people who have been forced to experience life for what ever reason. I understand if you can't relate, but saying it is meritless crap is just wrong. They largely built their own equipment, which gives them a deeper understanding of how it works. They squeeze out every last ounce of sound from their over worked machines and it is an intricate intelligent process. Just as much as drum and bass or other very intricate forms of music and probably a hundred times more intricate than anything the rolling stones ever put out. Its better that most people don't understand it. It filters out the riff raff at shows that are either there just to hurt somebody, or to drink, or for status or just to talk over the band. The people at wolf eyes shows are typically very much interested in hearing wolf eyes play.

11:03 PM  

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