Lazy Listen: Bismuth – Bismuth

July 7, 2014
by Tjeerd van Erve

It’s a hard life. To write a short article on Bismuth’s debut LP I’ve been googling the name on a daily basis, hoping to find inspirational tweets I could embed on Luifabriek and sell as own thoughts. Modern journalism currently practiced by papers and weblogs, a fashion which I’d love to follow: it;’s easy and it guarantees that my article suits the popular majority. Rest assured, I won’t be criticized for having divergent or even subversive thoughts. A journalistic methodology that’s the opposite of how Bismuth’s Yuri Landman and Arnold van de Velde embrace their craft. Their project Bismuth’s debut LP seems to be a means to explore new borders in experimental noise music. Problem is, none of the high profile music social media-specialists are preoccupied with Bismuth, leaving me with the problem of having to form my own opinion. Damn!

What to write about this record that sets it apart? A full forty-minutes-and-fourteen-seconds of adventurous experimental noise dance music? Landman is mainly known for building his own instruments: bands such as Sonic Youth, Blood Red Shoes and dEUS use his contrivances because of their unique sound, based on resonance and undertones. A sound that, of course, is the vanguard of Bismuth’s music. It’s the sound of innovation; groovy, danceable and catchy..perhaps not the highly accessible stuff that charts are made out of. This is dance music from the future, mixing repetitive krautrock beats and funky rhythms with Glenn Branca-inspired layers of noise.

Songs like opener “Yoni” and follow-up “Bench” are seductive mantras, pulling you in the duo’s innovative world, giving the impression that this could actually go on to become pop music or dance floor fillers. It’s got a rave-ish feel to it…and it is lovely to see my kids go totally beserk on “m-Trans” and “Ex Otique”, two of the most driven songs on side A of this long-drawn-out record. Bismuth’s departure from conventional instrumentation generates something rudimentary, natural and organic, that which gets them going and makes them jump out like a beast. Or levitate like ghosts on the atmospheric soundscapes that support some of these mantras of innovation.

A full forty minutes finds Bismuth”not-doing-what-the-rest-is-doing”, creating their own world out of cutting-edge experimentation. A world of clear and open new sounds, bathing in grand production leaving you to experience every little shift. Music that should be introduced to the vox populi by them gate keepers, but by lack of tweets to embed they, unfortunately, can’t.


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