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Hiss Tracts – Shortwave Nights


Hiss Tracts - Shortwave NightsA collaboration between David Bryant (of Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Set Fire To Flames) and Kevin Doria from Growing, this is an exquisite 10-track drone tone, a weathered and majestic beauty with a slow burn of salted guitar whirring through the ruins. Shortwave Nights‘ woeful currents are superb, reflective, wrapped in the legioned wheeze of the dilapidated, as if written in the dust of some abandoned factory scarring the horizon like a calcified giant. A corroded antenna wavering the wind catching lost transmissions, distant voices that once echoed its crumbling walls.

“…shortwave nights” starts matters in a candlelit vigil of oscillatory riches, where chords tumble down the walls and crawl inexplicably over a muted ambulance of drone. Curling atmospheres drawn through with archivist treasures and rotting receptions of Polynesian-like chant. It’s a great start, sets the album’s agenda succinctly, followed in dulcimer-like jewels and warping sub harmonics, subdued clashes whose mirages infinitely stretch, flashed in weaving sustains, ‘copter-like blades and a distortion of African mbira.

The vibe breaks to deploy a chance meeting with a local. Brings back memories of Godspeed’s Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada EP for me, with its disenfranchised preachers and red-necked gun-toters, that voyeuristic peering into the heart of the Canadian backwaters and the naked truth that lays there. The dark spun nimbus of “Windpipe gtrs.” is great, an aeolian drone reverberating elliptically, opening for the Metropolis-like mechanism of “halo getters”‘s levered rhythm rising and falling with synth winds blowing though ripped net curtains, Shiva teeth keys chiming the chorus as layers multiply and symbiotically shift into a whuuuur- d’état tied off in a muslin of smashing glass keyboards.

A Z’ev-like opera of metallic reverb follows on “for the transient projectionist,” a banquet of shrill echoes, the frequencies dividing into a Cyclobe-like magick. A weaving of neo-classical muscle shivering with textural delights, murmuring voices and slipping calibrations. A beautifully observed vibe that couriers its mood, amplifies the futility in a manifold of damaged textures and milks the lyrical beauty of the industrially ugly.

Totally loving the blinding simplicity of “ahhhh-weee,” which is just the unique characteristics of a clapped out Dictaphone and the noisy apex of screaming multiples that develops from “test recording at trembling city” falling back into a smoking aftermath of distant railroads and the psychic rub of electric light behind tired eyes. The action terminating on the Chinese street scene of “beijing bullhorn / dopplered light” and its decaying tape drone crumbled on the warm whine of a glasses rim.

This is a great album that shimmers in a half-lit arena of asymmetrical drone, field recording and reverberating sighs. Its decaying gravities and worn surfaces are a poignant reminder of our own mortality. That gasp, broken exclamation Constellation have been excelling at, ever since they brought Godspeed You! Black Emperor into the world.

-Michael Rodham-Heaps-

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