White Rock Tarpit

[Troubleman Unlimited; 2005]

Rating: 4/5

Styles: sludge rock, ambient noise
Others: Skullflower, Terry Riley

Is it just me or is Troubleman Unlimited becoming the New York Yankees of avant-record labels? They have records out by Hair Police, Earth, and Dead Machines, and they have signed Wooden Wand and the Vanishing Voice, Mouthus, and Double Leopards to one album deals. Now the label has released an album that looks mouth watering on paper: the new album by White Rock, a collaboration between Mouthus and Double Leopards. Here's the surprise: it sounds really fucking good. It sounds so fucking good that I simply have to put the word "fucking" in front of good to emphasize that this record transcends "good."

White Rock sound surprisingly homogeneous. By that I mean that the band simply doesn't sound like Mouthus sitting in on a Double Leopards jam session or visa versa. They sound like a band, though during each piece, one band's vision obviously dominates. The twists and turns of each of the two 20+ minute pieces that the band performs are navigated so skillfully that each segue seems like a natural progression instead of a spontaneous combustion.

The first track is a thrill from the muffled flickering buzz that begins it to the angry gorilla grunts that end it. At first it sounds as if the Leopards are going to rule the track with the muffled sounds that are conjured in the first nine minutes, but Brian Sullivan's trickling buzzsaw feedback eventually gets the better of the jam, turning the piece into a Mouthus sludge spazz.

The second track is a Leopards-dominated knob-twiddler that finds the Leopards exploring their usual terrain. This may sound boring, but the usual terrain for the Double Leopards is a world of infinite possibilities. The band distills some hard-edged noises, Eastern-flavored keyboards, manipulated vocals, and blips into a fine stew of ambient drone that sounds at once outworldly and soothing.

Buy these up kiddies. It is a limited edition of 1000 copies.

1. Untitled
2. Untitled

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