Label: Type Release date: 22/02/10 Website: www.myspace.com/yellowswans It’s difficult to comment on an album like Going Places, given that I haven’t the first idea how anything that sounds like this is made, and I doubt anyone not working in a recording studio would either. Equally, it’s difficult to describe how Yellow Swans sound without metaphor, without lazy comparisons; it’s a listening experience entirely different to anything else. Think of Sunn O)))’s heaviest yet most vacant drone compositions without the black metal histrionics and you’re on the right track. To follow up that lazy comparison with a metaphor, the album sounds like the Matrix crashing with you inside. Going Places proves an appropriate title, the tracks causing the listener to experience views and situations beyond what most music is capable of. The emotions the album coaxes you into feeling, the vistas it compels you to imagine render it an almost transcendent experience. It’s unnervingly, terrifyingly beautiful, like watching bacteria multiply under a microscope or timelapse photography of living tissue decaying. And yet in the maelstrom (there’s really no other word for some parts) it’s possible to pick up influences. Sunn O))) are clearly in the mix as already discussed, the rusty feedback shriek of early Jesus and Mary Chain is clearly distinguishable, and Yellow Swans generally sound inescapably like Stars of the Lid’s evil twin. Thirteen minute opus ‘Opt Out’ is undoubtedly the highlight, what being trapped in a burning airport might sound like. Or what the entire world being infected and corrupted by a computer virus, before the track itself is consumed, might sound like. The punishing, oppressively heavy ‘Opt Out’ is followed by ‘Sovereign’, an echoing, bottomless chasm. Actually, ‘heavy’ is inaccurate, Going Places is more ‘constricting’; there’s nothing that pummels your face in, yet noise fills every corner of the room like carbon monoxide until your senses are overwhelmed. Going Places shows real progression beyond crushing decibels, with cyclical motifs recurring in the self-contained tracks’ organic pulse. Getting noticeably less impenetrable the further in you get, the frenetic roar of the album’s opening something flourishes into a more delicate mid-section. There’s bass and what sounds like a riff in ‘Sovereign’ followed by definite percussion and even recognisable guitar in ‘Limited Space’, shock horror. The title track achieves everything Terminator Salvation should have completely aurally, taking place in an apocalyptic landscape which builds tension through malevolent synthetic noises drowning out natural-sounding calls. Real notes are used until the familiar future buzz creeps in again and sandblasts them to death. Definitely a challenging listen, if you aren’t into drone or white noise then for the love of God don’t buy Going Places. And without wanting to get into libellous territory, it sounds like it was very possibly made whilst stoned. But if you have some patience and want to hear something totally different to anything else this year then check out immediately. Photobucket