Pete Swanson : Man With Potential
For some reason, I am having a lot of difficulty in making up my mind whether or not this review is ‘good enough’ or substantial enough to be written for the Music For The Rest Of Us blog. However, this album does take advantage of Soundcloud in that the entire album can be streamed for free. So at the very least you have nothing to lose in checking the album out.
If you are looking for an post-Yellow Swans album from Pete Swanson that not only presents deconstructed techno industrial noise worship but also invites lofty comparisons from music distributors and journalists (Aphex Twin, Regis, Prurient, Kevin Drumm and Vatican Shadow are among some the projects mentioned), then you are in luck: “Man With Potential” is here to fill that desire.
While this album is quite a bit different from Swanson’s earlier solo albums (which focused more on pseudo-freeform guitar soundscapes), it also evokes elements of a few of the early Yellow Swans releases (many of which were produced in extremely limited quantities). Most of the compositions feature a persistent rhythm and/or beat, although the sonic focus is shifted significantly on each track. The heavily promoted “Misery Beat” is most likely to invoke comparisons to ‘traditional techno’, including Aphex Twin, while more abrasive pieces like “A&Ox0” and the fantastic title track bring to mind, perhaps, mid-to-late era Prurient and Swanson’s involvement in Yellow Swans.
Though it is easy to endlessly name-drop musicians/bands in order to better describe this album, it is also important to remember that Pete Swanson is slowly but surely carving his own niche in a drastically overcrowded market (both in terms of what is now being termed ‘damaged electronica’ and music in general). “Man With Potential” might be a self-ironic/self-deprecating reflection, which is consistent with Swanson’s enigmatic aesthetic, but it is also completely accurate, and should he continue to release consistently high quality albums, prophetic as well.