ILLUSION OF SAFETY
Water Seeks its Own Level (Silent)
CD Grating and noisy but strangely alluring, the new IoS disc dances a wavey line between the gradually evolving noisescapes of Cancer and the denser, rhythmic slabs of menace found in Inside Agitator. With somewhat ambiguous liquid imagery being the album's recurring motif, sound manipulators Dan Burke and Jim O'Rourke often bring about near- frightening intensities through shifting layers of oscillating tones, gravelly percussions, scraping metallic atmospheres and shades of discreet 'living' ambience. A number of the tracks, such as "Rim" and "'Scratching the Surface,' begin with almost imperceptible bits of naturalist noise, before sprouting into ominous landscapes. Burke and O'Rourke have a multitude of sound tracks up their sleeves (a favored sound is shortwave radio demolition, much like Charles Hayward did in This Heat, or Richard H. Kirk in the dawning phase of Cabaret Voltaire), but without resorting to cheap gimmicks, Water Seeks Its Own Level curiously sidesteps the elements of post-industrial, experimental and ambient musics in the creation of something fascinating and unrecognizable." Darren Bergstein
Water Seeks Its Own Level CD
Water, IOS's first release with Silent, reunites Jim O'Rourke with Dan Burke for the first time since Probe, and like that release there's more of an emphasis on location recordings: children's voices, water, birds, footsteps, etc. While this would suggest that Water is a quieter release (and in many parts it is) IOS still manages to pack quite a wallop with strategically placed roadblocks of agitating noise. On "Closer to Home" high frequency transmissions flutter over static energy before disintegrating into silence. "Not Good" features looped children's voices playfully (and not so playfully) crying while cacophonous junky creaks are juxtapositioned underneath, the resulting tension being truly stomach churning. Closing out the CD, the bizarrely titled "A Cross Between Wallpaper and God" starts off rather noisily with some shredded bits of electronic mayhem before giving way to barely audible "feedback" (?) and finally an annoying car alarm. Being familiar with IOS I kept expecting a blast of noise to catch me off guard, but more often than not, it never did. I can't say I'm all that happy with the direction this CD is heading in; I've grown a bit tired of location pieces, but the structure and placement of sounds is pure IOS... and that's something you won't see me fall asleep to.