Bollocks! Fucking bollocks!! Why is it whenever I find something
different and original to write about a release in my opening paragraph
I find some other cunt has got there first. What a fucking pisser.
You see when this
release first arrived, back at the beginning of April, the first
thing I thought when I saw the cover was…someone has a love
of Throbbing Gristle here. Everything from the black and white photograph
within a photograph to the lettering to the camouflaged front cover.
Throbbing Gristle issued their later 7 inch singles in a camouflaged
plastic bag for the first thousand or so copies folks. I know because
I bought them on the day when they were first released. Two singles
on the same day as it happens. I’ll
not bore you with more trivial details. Influenced then by TG was
my first thought. I’ll use that in my review. Only someone
else came to the same conclusion and used it before me. Bugger!!
Still…great minds think alike. I’ll forgo the fools
part if you don’t mind.
What can I tell you about Sky Burial? The only thing you need know
is that it is the work of Michael Page. Mr Fire in the Head. Oh…mighty
me yeah. Whenever I’m in the mood for a bit of ear destruction
because people have pissed me off, an almost daily occurrence which
even my compatriots on this website do with a regularity you wouldn’t
believe, then that’s who I turn to whenever I need to expel
my anger. Fire in the fucking Head. Hot shit stuff that gets better
with every release. Michael though has chosen
to diversify away from his noisier exploits and channels his musical
freedom through Sky Burial. ‘Of The First Light’ is
the third Sky Burial release, the first two ‘Sky Burial’
and ‘Spectrehorse’ were superb releases…I know
because I said as much in my reviews of them for another website
at the time, and this latest opus is just as good, if not even
better, than those previous efforts.
The dreaded concept: ‘Of the first light’ is a reference
to the Wampanoag tribe (meaning ‘people of the first light’),
the original indigenous inhabitants of Sky Burial’s locale,
Cape Cod, one of the first places in the U.S. to experience sunrise
each day. Got that? Good. Take from it what you will. Concepts and
I aren’t best suited to each other. I haven’t the intelligence
to read into what the artist is trying to convey. So I ignore them
by and large. See…forgotten about this one already. But don’t
let me stop you looking into this further if that is your want.
Over the twelve tracks on ‘Of the first light’ Michael
utilises field recordings,
electronics and ethnographici nstrumentation… whatever that
is when its at home. He creates these very emotive and powerful
pieces of music that fall just short in places of some of the Fire
in the Head extremities I’m so fond of. The electronics rumble
and squeal in an not unpleasant to the ear way and when he hits
the drone highway the effects are suitably impressive. There’s
always been this faint coldness, something I definitely approve
of, to the sounds he creates, whether intentional or not, and this
is something that is highlighted here. You shiver involuntarily
as the sounds take control and move off in a variety of
directions leaving you pondering where he’ll take the music
next. Dabbling and mixing old school Industrial sounds, another
nod in the direction of Throbbing Gristle, with the blackest of
ambient atmospherics and pulled to the seams drones you feel as
though you are falling under a hypnotic spell as the music slowly
elevates itself to the heavens. A nod to the rising sun warming
the parched frozen earth I would guess. With so much seemingly going
on in the foreground and background you need your wits about you
as he dazzles with his musicianship throwing in an ever abundant
supply of effects into the already perfectly sculptured mix. The
music is definitely influenced by a variety of groups / artists
past and present but the sound
remains pure Sky Burial at heart. You could just say I rather liked
this. A lot. Tasty. Very tasty indeed.
There’s always a but: and sadly there’s one here. ‘Of
the first light’ is limited to just 200 copies which is a
strange decision to say the least. Having already sold out the previous
Sky Burial recordings I would have thought that it would have been
more widely available. But its not. Which makes it the only fly
in the ointment as far as ‘Of the first light’ goes.
Sometimes you have to end a review on a negative note.