Wolf Eyes and Anthony Braxton — Black Vomit (2006, Les Disques Victo)
Recorded at the Festival de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville in 2005, kindred spirits from different worlds, Anthony Braxton and Wolf Eyes, pair up and pound out a stellar batch of widely dynamic tunes. Featuring a functional and delicious melange of industrial hammering, free jazzin’, electronic blips, and an array of sounds which are sure to antagonize or estrange your friends and family! With John Osborn, spiritual swami and literary predecessor to this sort of incessant, futile daily music journaling, it was only a matter of time before the Wolf Eyes made an appearance — and with geometric sheet music mastermind Anthony Braxton, no less! Beginning with “The Mangler” we hear Wolf Eyes rib Thurston Moore and deploy their usual sci-fi tape loop soundscapes while Braxton oscillates between patient and spooky sax lines and erratic and flailing bursts. At the 20 minute mark, the maelstrom starts to swirl and all is engulfed in a hypnotic, aural sea. Our waterlogged ensemble is thrown a lifeline and just when it looks as if they’ll be pulled from the water, Braxton cuts the line and the group lurch back into the abyss. In the process, they launch into Wolf Eyes’ classic brain scrambling cocktail, “Stabbed in the Face.” Braxton is deeply buried at this point, which admittedly is a bit disappointing, but if it ain’t instant gratification you’re after, it doesn’t disappoint. The band embodies the essence of democracy and asks the audience if it’s “Black Vomit” or “Leper War” next. They quickly realize democracy is worthless and ineffective, and opt to hand the decision to Mr. Braxton, who sensibly chooses the former. Plato was onto something with his philosopher kings. What follows is a death march intro into a fuzzy, saxy and sexy — though perhaps slightly flaccid— rendition of one of Burned Mind’s showpieces. To think, Refused arrogantly proclaimed they found the shape of punk to come. Missed it by a mile.