Virgin Spring – Excelsior (Gods of Tundra)

There are few mysteries in the contemporary noise world. One of the genuine surprises is the emergence of Virgin Spring. Rumored to be part of KP, who have several releases on Hospital Productions, Virgin Spring is a powerful entity in its own right. Released on the Gods of Tundra label, Excelsior is a striking debut, one that slowly unfurls. Over the course of the single sided album, the sounds move from sparse tonality to a more clanging maximalism of junk noise. Starting with slowly pitch-shifted tones, Virgin Spring starts the record off with a hushed menace, the static of the record complimenting the clarity of the sounds. A crackle of noise begins and the hushed winds become transcendent. There is a wash of what seem like field recordings overlaid with a slow metallic roll. These elements juxtapose with the physicality of the movements. Wooden planks shift, metals are struck and the sounds are arranged in ever-evolving loops. Things become more glaringly sharp as the scraping metals and percussive blows grow in resounding waves. The junk collapse ends sharply, with a succinct edit. Showing command of space, Virgin Spring then pushes things into aggressive territory, signals blaze, the noise swells and grows thunderous. A sullen alarm tone washes over the tumult and things fall apart. The opening tones are resurrected for a static infused exit, a truly dark cloud hanging over the finale like a lingering dread. Much like the atmospheric grace of the Bergman classic that inspired the name, Virgin Spring touches on a psychological fearfulness that threatens the logic of everyday living. The best noise records are the ones that can transport the listener to a place of abstraction, using violence, atmosphere and control. Excelsior is a record that delivers the thrill of great noise on all accounts. A rare feat in this age…Don’t miss it.

by STEVE LOWENTHAL on 12/7/2010 in Reviews | Tags: , , , , ,