Yellow Swans : Going Places

This is an absolutely massive album. It has been frequently noted that, due to the fact that the duo of Gabriel Mindel Saloman and Pete Swanson had decided to disband Yellow Swans, that there is a pervasive sense of finality and closure present throughout the album. This is true, but there are also more ambivalent emotions, drives, and thoughts being expressed. With track titles such as “Foiled”, “Opt Out”, and “Limited Space”, one wonders whether or not these are merely arbitrary titles or if they somehow relate to either the band or the circumstances surrounding the split of the band.

Musically, there is an emphasis on rhythm and texture density (which Pete Swanson had mentioned was a goal of the album in an interview). Though the music is far from ‘friendly’ or ‘pleasant’, it is for the most part much less abrasive and confrontational than many of their earlier albums and EPs. Also, throughout the songs one can frequently detect both a sense of lingering and resolution. Repetition is used for hypnotic effect, such as on the tracks “Opt Out” and “Limited Space” (featured above). Finally, there is a huge amount of catharsis residing within the compositions, especially on the incendiary title track.

In short, highly recommended: a triumph of experimental drone electronica. Although GMS and Pete Swanson have since ‘gone places’ (Swanson with his solo career and GMS with his numerous projects, collaborative and otherwise), it is also clear that Yellow Swans had ended on the top of their game, and that, given the chance, they may have even reached higher ascents.

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~ by John Lithium on October 24, 2011.

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