Review: Fishing Boat – Seep (Flower Ark, May 21)

a3960664251_10It’s been less than a month since I last wrote about something from Flower Ark, and yet I am already compelled to do so again for Seep. There’s always something more appealing about harsh noise artists and labels that don’t make a big deal out of their material or aesthetic but still take themselves seriously enough that one is actually inclined to listen; Fishing Boat and the other acts I’ve come across via the Melbourne web imprint fit that description perfectly, presenting very little aside from the music itself. There are no clues as to how literal a role the aquatic/maritime imagery plays other than a release-specific “electroacoustic” tag, which may indicate a primitive concrète approach to water-related or even undersea site recordings a la Thousands of Dead Gods or David Gatten’s film What the Water Said. Identifying the true source of whatever sounds lurk beneath the barbaric processing on these three tracks would be an impossible task, however, because much of Seep, especially opener “Wildlife Water Source,” is an uncompromising Charybdis of no-fi pedal crunch, crammed into glorious, punishing mostly-mono for maximum baptism efficiency. Like all good tracks in this style, the 17-minute introduction is at once distant and oppressive, a sustained slab of roiling distortion that constantly breaks and reforms itself. I would’ve been happy with another one of those to complete the album, but Fishing Boat guarantees I’ll be on the lookout for their name in the future with “Powerline,” a breathtaking junk-glitch masterpiece that summons a razor-edged psychedelia with a cauldron of piercing electronic pulses and fractured frequency serrations. And while you’re still reeling from that, “Failed Dam” combines the two in a heaving mass of broken, stuttering static that seems to permeate every inch of one’s head. Pick this up and experience the overwhelming terror of open water in the warm, dry, leviathan-less (I hope) comfort of your own home.

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