Boomkat Product Review:
A self-released solo LP from Pete Swanson, 'Where I Was' collects pieces from the Yellow Swans member's impossibly rare first four cassette releases (namely Denim Life, Unlimited Options, Mr. Entertainment and Signs Of Life) and somehow fashions an unbelievably coherent album arc from the resultant, stratosphere-clogging sonic fug.
If you've followed any of the multitude of Yellow Swans related projects you'll have a good idea just how unique a chcaracter in experimental music Swanson is - and this set features some of his most visceral, impressive material yet. Opening cut 'U.O.A.' pulls together the kind of harmony-conscious distortion-sculpting that's become a Swanson signature of sorts; it's sometimes hard to work out whether you're listening to a noise record, an ambient record... whatever, this sort of genre-led thinking really doesn't apply here.
Pained crescendos and general auditory misconduct abounds from 'D.L.A.', leaving Swanson sounding like a lost soul amidst the haemorrhaging scree, while the side comes to a weirdly blissful conclusion with 'M.E.A', unfolding in a fashion that's both utterly abrasive and deeply cleansing - sort of like being exfoliated. Flipping over reveals the ice drift melancholia of 'U.O.B.', a less ferocious track than some of its neighbours, but one that still wields a visceral emotional power. Stirring things up a bit, primitive beats cut through the distortion of the amazing 'D.L.B.', imbuing roaming vocals and torrents of wrangled feedback with a post-everything quality that situates this track somehwhere between cold-wave, avant-noise and distorted techno, like a dream collaboration between Cold Cave, Wolf Eyes, Factory Floor and Pan Sonic.
Last of all comes 'S.O.L.A', opening with an unreservedly pretty flicker of delays and melodic cogency that before long accumulates in density and the whole thing blisters into a kind of choppy formation, like a strobing white light burning the back of your retina.