Boomkat Product Review:
In which the erstwhile Yellow Swan expands upon the structures of 'Movement Building' with a 2nd volume of cavernous drone and drum space to follow Stephen O'Malley's 'Éternelle Idole' on Felicia Atkinson and Bartolemé Sanson's Shelter Press.
"An early inspiration for both The Sensationalists and the music collected in Movement Building Vol. 2 was the novel Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata. The classic Japanese novel from 1956 tells the story of a geisha in a small mountain town and her married and wealthy male lover (a self-taught musician and self-appointed expert of Western ballet, respectively). Their tragic love affair, set amidst the snow, hot springs and mountains, became a thematic and contextual source for early phases of the project, and much of the music on this album is a result.
Borrowing compositionally and tonally from Taiko and Gagaku (an ancient drone based imperial court music), Saloman reproduced sounds originating in traditional Japanese drums, wind and stringed instruments almost completely on guitar, ride cymbals and snare drum. This influence is most explicit in the undulating rhythms that open the first side of Vol. 2 (Contained Battle/Ascend) and the layered escalation of the literally titled Gagaku, a methodical combination of rhythm and drone that climbs to a peak of psych-tinged burning guitar lines. Between these tracks are situated Ear Piercer and Mountain Music, two songs that have been staples of Saloman’s viscerally intense live sets for the last two years.
Concluding the album is a version of Miles’ Davis’ classic ballad, My Funny Valentine. This epilogue of sorts is a uncanny combination of original percussion and guitar, collaged together with what may be a live recording of Davis’ “second great quintet” taken off of YouTube, processed and time-stretched on tape. Conceived of as support for a duet interpreting a shambolic, drunken encounter between Snow Country’s protagonists, the piece provides a cool denouement following the drawn out intensities of what preceded it."