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chickenf1sh
PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2007 9:51 am  Reply with quote
Chickenf1sh


Joined: 05 Sep 2006
Posts: 3013
Location: Manchester, England

I thought I'd put a proper review in here, now I've heard it:

I was excited at the prospect of a new Whitehouse album, as I'd enjoyed "Asceticists" so much, but "Racket" hasn't exactly lived up to expectations.

On the positive side, the use of African percussion (particularly on "Mouthy Battery Beast" - one of the stand-out tracks) adds another layer of tension to their assault and the usual razor-sharp sonic clarity is in full effect. They have included a couple of slightly more subtle instrumentals of which "Bia Mintatu" is excellent, but "The Avalanche" does occasionally veer to into directionless synth noodling (albeit with the feedback and resonance at 11).

On the minus side, they continue the Whitehouse tradition of padding out an already short album with a "reworking"of a track from the previous release ("Dumping More Fucking Rubbish"). And "Fairground Muscle Twitcher" is unfortunately reminiscent of a toddler with a harmonica.

In all a bit of a mixed bag: when they're good, they're fucking spot-on. When they're not, they're mediocre - which is something a band with their attitude can't afford to be.
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blackmark
PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2007 10:04 am  Reply with quote
'Australian Minister for Avalanches'


Joined: 07 Sep 2006
Posts: 3704
Location: wales

i'm going to the leeds gig in a couple of weeks. i'll stick in a review of that.

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blackmark
PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2007 12:32 pm  Reply with quote
'Australian Minister for Avalanches'


Joined: 07 Sep 2006
Posts: 3704
Location: wales

i went last night and it was a simultaneously punishing and hilarious experience, i'll do full review presently

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chickenf1sh
PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2007 1:59 pm  Reply with quote
Chickenf1sh


Joined: 05 Sep 2006
Posts: 3013
Location: Manchester, England

blackmark wrote:
a simultaneously punishing and hilarious experience


This seems to sum Whitehouse up nicely!
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blackmark
PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 4:23 pm  Reply with quote
'Australian Minister for Avalanches'


Joined: 07 Sep 2006
Posts: 3704
Location: wales

my expanded take on the night, done for my mates site at link2wales.co.uk

Whitehouse, Broken Bone, WhoresWhoresWhores, Andrea Parker
Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
12/7/07

My reporting from foreign climes has been reduced in the last year since my change of job, and after a shitty trip past Birmingham a few weeks back I really started to have second thoughts about driving over to Leeds for this. At, what, over 400,000 work and play motoring miles I’ve really made my contribution to fucking up the planet but I still get stressed with the pleasure of enduring the overloaded road network and going anywhere. Maybe old age/crack pipe and slippers inertia is setting in, maybe it’s the tractor beam… maybe there are just few bands left on the “Must see” list and at times I question whether some of them merit their place. I was aware of Whitehouse’s legendary status as a seminal act in the field of experimental noise but beyond the (literally) odd track heard there was a bit of blind faith being invested. That said, I’ve always had a good time in Leeds and in particular the Brudenell. My last visit as these things happen was in a similar (punctured) vein for the aural atrocity that is Wolf Eyes and to be fair, when not in a rush, the journey is not that bad. I have time to visit my friend in the Armley of darkness who, through being a mover and shaker (in a noisy fashion) in the city, has magically blagged me into the gig despite not being able himself. A good start.

It’s after doors but sound checks are still going on, I fear a lack of attendees given initial numbers but there’s a lot taking temporary tobacco laced air outside. Soon enough tunes are being spun by the DJ for the night Andrea Parker, who doesn’t really look the sort (far too nice) to be inflicting all manner of weird/challenging eclectic sounds that have been committed to obscure vinyl, but who judges by looks eh?

Not long till we have the first performers, locals Whoresx3 who whilst without a doubt reaching a level of extremity are doing so with a conventional band set up. Sharp, focussed yet raw metal, a consistent brutal intensity that reminded me favourably of Scottish grindcore maniacs Co-exist. The vocalist spent most of his time pacing the empty dance floor, his voice harsh and relentless, good deep distorted tones from the instruments and the drummer was particularly impressive in his controlled aggression. The occasional shift to a doomier tempo was also done well, I wanted to make a purchase but will have to wait a little for a split 7” they’ve got coming out presently with some of this newer material.



I hadn’t heard Broken Bone at all but with the onstage set up of just an iMAC drew correct conclusions as to their take on noise production as entertainment. Whatever on stage laptop mixing was undertaken the output was a bassy, reverberating onslaught, rarely punctured with higher squealing samples or blips. The two protagonists had seemed such pleasant, cultured folks beforehand, now they were stripped to the waist and blood smeared. The vocals seemed to take a while to gel and initially seemed a random rant, finger pointing at people watching, gestures and a collection of knickers thrown out indicating a bit of a sexual obsession but with heavy distortion added to all layers there wasn’t much detail to pick up on. He played about with a constant strobe for much of the early part of the set, so much so I started having vision shift, missing frames in my TV mind’s eye. Cool. Things worked better later when the vocals were sparser and punctuated the pummelling rhythms a bit. There heavy influence from the main act was only obvious when I had that to compare it to.



There was a respectable gathering in front for the headliners in the end, and again, seeing them walking about earlier in the evening or engaged in mild mannered conversation you wouldn’t associate it with the possessed middle-aged lunatics now on stage. There’s no polite intro, it’s a rapid explosion into ear-punishing violent waves of noise, with occasional breaks like the tearing of the fabric of space. Apparently the inclusion of rhythm (even if massively effected and layered) is a relatively new evolution for them which just makes the jaw drop as to how sonically overwhelming they might have been previously. Initially they are both mixing sound at the back, largely digital now unlike their original ground breaking analog experimentation, though there is the inclusion of a strange device that produces effects depending on how and where the hand is held over it, like some bastard cousin of a Jean Michel Jarre device. Then they take it in turns for one and then the other to become the vocalist, and I can’t recall having seen a more extreme expression of universal contempt ever captured. It comes across as relentless yet reasoned assault on all attending, calling us all (repeatedly) for the despicable low cunts we undoubtedly are. I’m left wondering if Ben Kingsley aka Don London ever used them for inspiration as there are some similarities there in the psychotic (piss) stream of consciousness. The serious offence underway is either off-set or high-lit (I’m not sure) by their bizarre onstage behaviour. Whether violently tugging on their own nipples (presumably to heighten the feeling), lasciviously licking their lips, stroking each other or just generally overacting in a massively dramatic fashion to the effects of the music, all in all it’s hilarious in a completely disturbed way. When they are both up front for their recent “hit” “Wriggle like an eel” (“you cunt” {naturally}) there’s some vague semblance of a very wrong hip hop act. There is no letup in the form of gaps between “songs”, what they do even more evilly is throw in fractional silent breaks at random moments, before the blasting continues, which I believe is the guaranteed way to maximise hearing damage. Even without formal interludes the sensation of things rising to a climax is palpable as the ears and brain suffer direct drilling endurance torture, volumes seemingly rising and frequencies going haywire, and visually confirmed with the two of them stripped to the waist now, undergoing some kind of arm wind milling yoga summoning of the trance state, it is proper MENTAL. It mercifully ends though and they leave to a mixture of applause and returned abuse. Most seem happy with the experience in a kind of shell shocked survivor way, it would be interesting to see the whole gamut of reactions from a crowd not necessarily knowing what to expect, though I think those that do still have little defence.



I think the reason I was undecided about going to this was whether variations on a theme of white noise would ultimately be very interesting or distinguishable between artists. As usual, the effort pays off with an experience that will long live in the memory. It is still making me chuckle now whilst I can still make out things people say as long as I can see their lips move. Masonna and Merzbow added to list.

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Nicholas Bullen
PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 10:49 am  Reply with quote
Whatever it is, I'm against it...


Joined: 06 Sep 2006
Posts: 614
Location: Birmingham

That's exactly how I feel about Whitehouse, blackmark: the intensity is there still and now there is the added bonus of the comical stage antics. Philip Best = Syd Little...

Andrea Parker is top-notch too...

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chickenf1sh
PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 11:53 am  Reply with quote
Chickenf1sh


Joined: 05 Sep 2006
Posts: 3013
Location: Manchester, England

Great review, Mark. I wish I could have been there!
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scuto
PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 11:40 pm  Reply with quote
"I always say there is something direful in the sound..."


Joined: 07 Sep 2006
Posts: 485
Location: Swirling in the louche

I'm enjoying their foray into using more percussion quite a bit!

And I can't quite explain it, but the one time I saw them live felt inspirational and uplifting! I still can't explain why...
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