Boomkat Product Review:
Xiu Xiu’s Hyunhye Seo commands avant-garde piano clatter and drone noise conceptually relating to the mysterious life cycle of eels in her 2nd solo album on Room 40
‘Eel’ continues Hyunhye’s fascination with long slippery objects from 2021’s ’Strands’ across two sidelong works that better weave and consolidate its constituent parts. Where ’Strands’ delineated into sides of drone and piano, respectively, ‘Eel’ binds them with a slow-burning, seething intensity and more psychedelic sensibilities, resulting the oceanic noise waves and psychological horror piano discord keeling into end-of-rope abandon on ‘Eel I’, and the relative respite of the calm before the storm in ‘Eel II’, which soon calves into blizzarding industrial noise just-about-harnessed form the edge of the abyss by her command of the whip and bridle.
“A Note From Hyunhye Seo: Every year, the eels arrive in Sargasso. The eels that sprang to life when the sun god Atum warmed the Nile, the eels generated within the entrails of the earth, from the rubbing of the rocks and dew drops on riverbanks, they travel thousands of kilometres to Sargasso to breed. Their larvae, eels of glass, move to freshwater homes, crawling across land or up waterfalls if necessary, breathing through their skins, to get to where they want to go, although no one knows exactly where or why. Sometimes, they eat snakes and birds. After decades, when they're ready to breed, they stop eating and develop sex organs, and they travel back to Sargasso. If they can't go back to Sargasso, they never fully mature. They just stop ageing.
No human has seen eels breed. Freud dissected over 400 eels in search of eel testicles. Aristotle thought they grew from earthworms in dirt. No one knows why they go where they go, or how they find their way back. Creatures of mud and rain, fluid in time and age, unabashed in its metamorphosis, unknown yet always found.”