Archive for the ‘Hiss Tracts’ Category

Antennas to Heaven: Hiss Tracts

Monday, July 28th, 2014

Silence the phone, draw the blinds and zone out to some experimental rock delights.

Remember the most haunting, unnerving moments of Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s debut F? A? ?? The doomsday opening of ‘The Dead Flag Blues’ and its turgid narrator? Those goddamned bag pipes and the wailing screwdriver guitar tones on ‘East Hastings’? Well, Constellation label mates Hiss Tracts take the eeriest moments of Godspeed’s earlier work and stretch them across a gamut of stunning paranoia-inducing, bliss on their debut Shortwave Nights.

Title track ‘…shortwave nights’ is a maelstrom of mechanical grinds and acid trip-stuck loops, like a descent into chaos where the only respite comes through plaintive guitar melodies that, when combined with accompanying strings, add touches of mournful sobriety.

There are moments here that echo Tim Hecker’s violent masterpiece Virgins like ‘half-speed addict starts with broken wollensak’, where tumbling piano melodies carry throughout before giving way to thick fogs of drone. It’s a fairly minimalist take, finding solace in repetition, but no less enjoyable than more instrumentally rich moments on the album.

For a band so shrouded in bleakness, Hiss Tracts often bear shards of beauty, moments when a solemn string section or warped vocal sample eek through the rubble, serving as brief flickers of light amongst the decay. Closing track ‘beijing bullhorn / dopplered light’ best displays these sentiments with a brief but emotive quiver of gospel like drone, serving as a happy ending to a drab but enthralling journey.