The Portland, Oregon-based duo of Pete Swanson and Gabriel Mindel Saloman effectively straddle the worlds of both freeform noise and more mainstream songwriting. As the Yellow Swans, they collaborate with experimental noise artist John Wiese, among many others tour, and operate their Jyrk label within the parameters of the underground realm, yet increasingly, the duo's recorded improvised electro-noise is rigorously arranged and precise above and beyond that of most of their compatriots. Psychic Secession, issued in April by Load Records, is an instructive case in point: The pair's coruscating, highest-register, tonal threadlines; wavy squiggle effects; digital-static rushes; and gritted-teeth bpm pounding are strategically repurposed to the maximum, senses-scrambling effect and sweetened with strings, guest vocals, and tribalistic hand percussion. As Live at War Crimes demonstrates, the Swans' live show is less orchestrated but no less intense: guitars, feedback, drum machines, and Swanson's rabid, political vocalizations fed through the maw of the Swans' homemade rig and spewed back out in a blinding rain of flaming rage. Bring earplugs and let them vaporize you.
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