Dead Voices on Air "Piss Frond" Invisible Records INV120 1998

cd one (46:59)

Geong G'uma (5:15)
The Durrow Book (6:10)
Sulphur (5:00)
Red Kerre (4:56)
Foss Maerum (5:28)
Caw Gap (4:42)
Swan Flax (11:33)
Castered Carts (3:54)

cd two (59:32)

On Hare Hill (25:24)
Of Hare Hill (11:56)
Arbeia (1:15)
Pons Aelius (2:29)
Voss Pilae (3:32)
Aesica (1:55)
Irthing Fell (9:59)
Incthuthil (3:02)

cd one: produced by Abintra (Darryl Neudorf, Sugarpill) and Mark Spybey, all sounds by Mark Spybey and Darryl Neudorf with guests: Ryan Moore (1, 2 - drums, 5, 7 - bass), Chris Houston (1 - evil twang), Alexander Varty (1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8 - guitar), Sugarpill (1 - chroma, moog, 2 - outro voice, 3 - rhythm 77, 4 - chroma, vocals, 5 - chroma, 8 - vocals), Tom Anselmi (1 - invisible guitar), Finn Manniche (3, 4, 6 - cello), Pete Bourne (7 - drums), Elaine Spybey (greensleeves)

cd two: produced by Mark Spybey, all sounds by Mark Spybey

Overall impression: excellent! The ever prolific Mark Spybey returns with a new double cd (single cd priced) album. As promised in the pre-release info, this album adds several new elements to the DVOA sound:  beats, post-production and (gasp!) "song" structure. Disc one serves as a collection of collaborative efforts whereas disc two is more of a "traditional" DVOA album. The new elements really shine on disc one, every track is actually a "song" replete with a structure, beat and vocal of some sort (on 5 of the songs). Very cool stuff, most of it quite unlike anything before from Spybey. The ambient sound collage Spybey is known for is definitely still here, but this time it's fused together with bass, drums, cello, guest vocals, guitar, etc (kind of reminds me of a mellower version of Spasm's recent "Smear" album). Very fluid and melodic ... it's really nice to hear Mark stretch out into new realms of sound. Some disc one surprises:  the Coil-like orchestral feel of "Sulphur" and "Caw Gap", the hypnotic ambient / drum 'n bass groove of "Red Kerre", the bizarre distorted sounds of "Foss Maerum", the gentle mesmerizing pulse of "Swan Flax" and the beautiful interplay of female vocals and beat of "Castered Carts". Now, onto disc two (I'd be happy with just disc one!) Disc two is just Mark, but it also differs from previous DVOA efforts. "On Hare Hill" and "Of Hare Hill" are long, consistent, beautiful ambient drone pieces more akin to Coil's "Time Machines" than most DVOA. The next four tracks are short sound loops / pieces which seem a little out of place after the 37+ minutes of drone. Next is "Irthing Fell", similar to the first two tracks but with the occasionally more aggressive swell of sound here and there amidst the ambience. The final track, "Incthuthil" continues where the previous left off with distorted washes of sound until the final minute as the track and album gracefully fade away. Some disc two notes: no beats and no vocals. Much like Download or Coil, Spybey has found the perfect balance between experimentalism and structure ... and he knows how and when to dabble on either side of the line. Overall, "Piss Frond" is the best DVOA album to date in sound and in artwork (yet another great looking package from Invisible). I hope Mark continues to collaborate, expand and challenge himself in the future like he has with "Piss Frond". Be sure to check out the debut of the official "Piss Frond" site on the weekend of July 10-12 when the entire work will be debuted over the 'net ... then go buy the album!

Dead Voices on Air
Invisible Records

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