REVIEW: St. John's Eve - "At the End of it All"

By J 'Hirez' H-R

Chain Border

I was looking forward to listening to this recording. The bumph that came with it variously described it as brutal, experimental, industrial, ambient, power-noise and a set of other made-up pseudo-genres like power-ambient-greengrocer or death-milkfloat. Which was great - I get to find out what the more single-minded kids are grooving to these days.

All I can say is that anyone describing this as 'brutal' has clearly led an extremely sheltered life and gets his or her kicks by rocking out with an orange squash to the sound of Sarah Records bands turned up to about six.

True, there are tracks with downward chord progressions and distorted swearing delivered in a vaguely malevolent whisper, but for me the effect is somewhat spoiled because it sounds like a railway station tannoy announcement with a middling-bad case of Tourette's. Meanwhile there's some cloth-eared sod playing karaoke versions of Big Black songs on a Casio portable keyboard outside the gents.

If that's power-greengrocer or noise-ambient-footspa then it would appear to be a sack of nasty pants. I'd recommend that those interested in power-noise should stand underneath an electricity pylon for a while. You can hear 30Kv at 50Hz surging across the landscape with a particularly healthy crackle. That's the sort of noise that'll happily fry you given half a chance. It's also more than worth seeking out the Kraftwerk double album, which is filled with similar noises and was made some thirty years ago now.

Thankfully, once Mr Eve's got the swearing out of his system, the bus marked experimental-ambient arrives with a set of smiling passengers bearing deeply textured synth patches and a cardboard box stuffed with interesting found sounds. Many of the patches - Surfacing for instance - sound like they've been left standing near a copy of My Bloody Valentine's Loveless for a little too long, but that is absolutely not a bad thing. Simple, yet mesmerising, and doesn't go on nearly long enough. The following track, Healing is quite possibly a field recording of the wind blowing through the machinery of an ore refinery on a planet some distance from our own. It would appear, though, that some of the refining machinery has shagged bearings and would surely benefit from some maintenance in the near future.

In fact, all the succeeding tracks have a windswept alien planet vibe to them - not unlike the soundtrack to Blake's 7 done properly. The seventh track could well be titled 'Angry mob gather at the spaceport as an experimental drive system is tested, which unfortunately blows up killing all those present.' That in turn is followed by something that should be called 'Ore refinery workers lurching disco moment' and sounds like a fight broke out as the house band played Iggy Pop's Nightclubbing.

Anyway. Not power-milkfloat, not brutal. Definitely odd and worth a listen on the strength of the second 2/3rds.

Contact Information:
Post: St John's Eve, 66187 Prairie View Dr., Goshen, IN, 46526
Phone: (219) 533-8627
E-mail: stjohnseve@mindspring.com

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