Wolf Eyes; SlicerOrion Read
OR 14 LP
Long Playing Record
Coming just months after Dread (Wolf Eyes' first LP as a trio), Slicer was released on cassette in an edition of 50 in 2001. From start to finish, it's a full-fledged sonic experience. Deep stuttering bass, high streams of electronics, rugged tape manipulation, horns, glass - this recording contains an enormous spectrum of sound. Mastering legend John Golden, who cut the lacquer for vinyl, said it was like cutting a sonic obstacle course. That doesn't mean Slicer is a record that you'll play once and file away.The Olson, Young, and Dilloway line-up, which lasted just 5 years, shows unusual restraint here. The calm intensity of their wildly bizarre sonic experiments and masterful compositional moves make for a rewarding repeat listen.
With influences coming from all over - avant-garde sound art, industrial music, psychedelic rock - specifically, Slicer brings to mind the perfectly edited Malesch from Agitation Free, the immediacy of SPK, and the innovation of Henning Christiansen. If you've followed their prolific output, you won't be surprised that band practice was also always a recording session, and these guys all had solo projects too - they played all the time. Their ideas developed from jamming, and you can hear the confidence, the control of tone, the patience of the improvisations.
Wolf Eyes were looking for, finding and fleshing out new musical forms. This is deeply ambitious music made without academic pretensions. This record contains some of the most minimal programming in their catalog and the editing and mastering are nothing short of inspired. Setting an impossibly high watermark just as the noise scene was getting on its feet, few, if any, have come close to the energy and power of this recording since.