BLACKMOUTH on iTunes

photo by Chris White

photo by Chris White

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Description

BLACKMOUTH is available on : iTunes

from Pieter Uys :

Originally released in 2000, Blackmouth was created in collaboration with John Bergin and Brett Smith. The work is striking for its coherence despite a stylistic diversity which appears bewildering at first. The genre is indeterminable; ‘industrial’ would be hopelessly restrictive. Various ambiances surface here, as do metallic guitar-driven rock (Seduce and Destroy), melodious pop with a sense of unease (Risen), elements of the torch song (Inner Alien) and a prototype of Jarboe’s “sonosphere” (And I Call Myself Hag). Classical music in diverse styles forms part of its atmospheric essence.

Blackmouth opens with the ‘silent’ version of ‘The Conversion,’ a symphonic synth piece with minimal lyrics and Jarboe’s voice in echo mode. Ominous percussive patterns blend with thudding bass on the brief title track, an instrumental with some disembodied vocal elements. The intricate vocal and instrumental arrangements of ‘Black Pulse Grain’ contain many layers, lending it a simultaneously appealing and unsettling air.

‘Risen’ has the same hypnotic quality as some of the ‘nursery rhyme’ type chants on the album Beautiful People Ltd, a charming melody for a sinister theme. The undulating ‘Bloodless Mix’ of ‘Risen’ gives Blackmouth its most captivating rhythmic flow. The tempo picks up with the equally melodious, ‘The Burn’, a buoyant piece characterized by rattling percussive and chant-like vocal textures.

The experimental track ‘And I Call Myself Hag’ showcases the power of Jarboe’s voice in multiple overdubs, whilst the elegant sounds of the piano driven art song ‘Inner Alien,’ initially obscures the intensity of the lyrics. This is the only track which comes close to resembling anything on her album Disburden Discipline which was released the same year. The seductive ‘Smother’ could easily be taken for a torch song, dark torch like her work in The World of Skin.

The ‘cruel’ version of ‘The Conversion’ which concludes the album is an out and out industrial excursion with heavy dance beats amid rumbling, whirring, whooshing, and reverb and echo, whilst the ‘relapse’ version has an intriguing blend of drones and edgy percussion with arresting organ infusions against a symphonic canvas. A delicate masterpiece follows it, the instrumental ‘In A World of Her Own’ which evokes an aching beauty, a sigh too deep for words. Like ‘Under Will’ on the album Anhedoniac or ‘Realm’ on Indemnity II.

The uptempo and edgy ‘Surrender For His Heart’ is a surrealistic narrative framed by distant background voices expressing emotions on the extreme side of the spectrum. Ferocious eruptions of metallic guitar accompany Jarboe’s vox personae on the alternatively soothing and abusing ‘Seduce and Destroy’ which also contains snippets of the aforementioned sinister lullaby style rhyme, here bound up with explosions of rage.

On Blackmouth, certain of Jarboe’s recurring stylistic explorations may be discerned. Rooted in Swans, the early solo albums and Beautiful People Ltd., they exist here fully refined in the context of the work as a whole, like beautiful moments captured in time. It’s interesting to hear how some were developed on, for instance, the 2003 album Neurosis & Jarboe. It is also striking that the sound of Blackmouth differs so markedly from her solo albums of more or less the same period, Anhedoniac and Disburden Disciple. That must be due to the fact that her genius seamlessly merged with that of her collaborators John Bergin and Brett Smith to create something totally unique.

Originally released in 2000, Blackmouth was created in collaboration with John Bergin and Brett Smith. The work is striking for its coherence despite a stylistic diversity which appears bewildering at first. The genre is indeterminable; ‘industrial’ would be hopelessly restrictive. Various ambiances surface here, as do metallic guitar-driven rock (Seduce and Destroy), melodious pop with a sense of unease (Risen), elements of the torch song (Inner Alien) and a prototype of Jarboe’s “sonosphere” (And I Call Myself Hag). Classical music in diverse styles forms part of its atmospheric essence.

Blackmouth opens with the ‘silent’ version of ‘The Conversion,’ a symphonic synth piece with minimal lyrics and Jarboe’s voice in echo mode. Ominous percussive patterns blend with thudding bass on the brief title track, an instrumental with some disembodied vocal elements. The intricate vocal and instrumental arrangements of ‘Black Pulse Grain’ contain many layers, lending it a simultaneously appealing and unsettling air.

‘Risen’ has the same hypnotic quality as some of the ‘nursery rhyme’ type chants on the album Beautiful People Ltd, a charming melody for a sinister theme. The undulating ‘Bloodless Mix’ of ‘Risen’ gives Blackmouth its most captivating rhythmic flow. The tempo picks up with the equally melodious, ‘The Burn’, a buoyant piece characterized by rattling percussive and chant-like vocal textures.

The experimental track ‘And I Call Myself Hag’ showcases the power of Jarboe’s voice in multiple overdubs, whilst the elegant sounds of the piano driven art song ‘Inner Alien,’ initially obscures the intensity of the lyrics. This is the only track which comes close to resembling anything on her album Disburden Discipline which was released the same year. The seductive ‘Smother’ could easily be taken for a torch song, dark torch like her work in The World of Skin.

The ‘cruel’ version of ‘The Conversion’ which concludes the album is an out and out industrial excursion with heavy dance beats amid rumbling, whirring, whooshing, and reverb and echo, whilst the ‘relapse’ version has an intriguing blend of drones and edgy percussion with arresting organ infusions against a symphonic canvas. A delicate masterpiece follows it, the instrumental ‘In A World of Her Own’ which evokes an aching beauty, a sigh too deep for words. Like ‘Under Will’ on the album Anhedoniac or ‘Realm’ on Indemnity II.

The uptempo and edgy ‘Surrender For His Heart’ is a surrealistic narrative framed by distant background voices expressing emotions on the extreme side of the spectrum. Ferocious eruptions of metallic guitar accompany Jarboe’s vox personae on the alternatively soothing and abusing ‘Seduce and Destroy’ which also contains snippets of the aforementioned sinister lullaby style rhyme, here bound up with explosions of rage.

On Blackmouth, certain of Jarboe’s recurring stylistic explorations may be discerned. Rooted in Swans, the early solo albums and Beautiful People Ltd., they exist here fully refined in the context of the work as a whole, like beautiful moments captured in time. It’s interesting to hear how some were developed on, for instance, the 2003 album Neurosis & Jarboe. It is also striking that the sound of Blackmouth differs so markedly from her solo albums of more or less the same period, Anhedoniac and Disburden Disciple. That must be due to the fact that her genius seamlessly merged with that of her collaborators John Bergin and Brett Smith to create something totally unique.  – PIETER UYS, South Africa

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from iTunes :

A striking collaboration between Jarboe and two members of Trust Obey, John Bergin and Brett Smith, Blackmouth finds the three creating an appropriately mysterious album with a definite edge. Jarboe’s ability to mark and interpret feelings of rage and sexual power crossed with epic, mystic visions of love, life, and loss makes a perfect starting point for Bergin and Smith’s haunting music. Starting with the first of three versions of “The Conversion” — this one subtitled “Silent” due to its dark ambient flow behind Jarboe’s keening verses, the other two bringing more beats and sharper vocals to the fore — Blackmouth creates an album that will appeal to an already primed goth/industrial audience and can reach out beyond that to the adventurous listener. Importantly, as with their own individual work, the trio doesn’t feel the need to be competing in a realm of who can make the loudest or hardest music. Many songs subtly suggest clattering, murky depths rather than outlining them fully, as the brief, instrumental title track and “Surrender to the Heart” readily capture. The delicacy Bergin and Smith bring to the music at many points is perfectly captivating, such as the inclusion of a descending keyboard melody toward the end of “The Black Pulse Grain” contrasting with a softly distorted rhythm break, or the wheezing sounds and piano making up “Inner Alien,” with gripping images of pregnancy and anger. “The Burn,” with its recurrent, clattering loop backing Jarboe’s alternately low-key singing and wordless keening, makes for one of the best moments, containing plenty of energy without pumping the mix up to 11. Even the wordless numbers carry plenty of Jarboe’s unmistakable power — “And I Call Myself Hag,” consisting mostly of various overdubs of Jarboe’s entrancing voice, is probably the secret highlight of the album as a whole, as spiritual and involving as any gospel number or musical invocation of Allah.