A solo artist from Texas who also plays in a gazillion other bands (who doesn?t? Seriously, no credibility without being a member of at least 4 projects and a couple of ?collectives?), Venison Whirled busts out drone party moves that shudder and sway with an intensity that demands attention, but ultimately fails to deliver that brain-soaking fix it gets so close to.
This is a whole swollen reverie of drone bliss, beginning with a pretty sublime singing bowl/bell/cymbal combination that immediately sets the tone of the piece, then mutates in sinister mushroom clouds of growing fuzz and light, gradually subsumed under its own weight, until the bells have inverted under the pressure and play backwards, while sheets of hot groan can be heard muscling their way through the mix to the forefront of the sound. Aptly titled ?Invocation?, the tone of the traditional bowl and cymbals is melded with a low, drawn-out drawl to good effect, the latter almost approaching the sound of Tibetan chant vocal music at some points, and the approach is so purely devoted to the improvised trance of the whole piece that it becomes totally enveloping. It does cry out for those tiny moments of harmonic beauty that come to the surface now and then to be extended and developed, but the nature of improvisation allows these fragments to be consolidated purely in the mind of the listener ? even so, it doesn?t quite come rushing together like it should, and although the track grows to such fearful depths you get drawn in simply by the momentum of the drone, it left be slight under-fulfilled. The second track, ?Crossroads?, totally bowled me over with its sheer power and enormity, yet at the same time utterly failed to capture me, even to the extent of the glorious but flawed ?Invocation? ? that is, up until about the 8 and a half minute mark, at which point this totally killer infestation of harmonic beauty enters, churned out half by the combination of the instruments and half due to the effect of the music over time (like staring at your window panes on a bright morning for long enough until you can make the lines of the panes disappear and only pure naked white light hits your head). Again though, these awesome moments seem only to be brief interludes, and frustratingly the effect is shattered by subsequent breaks in the heavy, chugging drone.
I?ve no idea what the third track, ?Yum?, sounds like, because it wouldn?t play on either my CD player or the computer ? a real bummer, as I was really hoping the final piece would put everything together in one bass-ridden snowstorm, but all it did was stutter around for a bit and then make my laptop crash. Double bummer. Still, this shit is among the more exciting drone exercises around right now, and although C. Spencer Yeh?s moves are still the benchmark in this field, Venison Whirled at least comes pretty close to that kind of high. 6/10 -- Evan Rhodes (27 June, 2006)