Monday, May 2, 2011

W-H-I-T-E 'Fountain' on Swill Children Records

I'll admit, I've sort of been saving this single until I could really spend some time with know there are those singles that come in sleeves and have insets and everything, but then there are labels that consistently take it that next step further, like Swill Children.
Jesse, over there is a printing freak. Forget about kind of process isn't enough for this guy, and paper stock? What poundage are we talking. I admire this stuff so much, it actually makes me think art school does offer a worthwhile skill after all. I never took printmaking in school seriously, probably because it requires a lot of skill and attention to detail that in college it seemed more interesting to me to fill ziplock bags full of slim jims and spit. Jesse is the obvious winner, I see that now from the looks of this single from W-H-I-T-E. I love that it all comes in a white craft paper bag, with the Swill logo printed on front. It's almost a tissue paper kind of quality, that has to keep something very delicate safe. Inside you have something in between newsprint and regular paper with a 3 color risograph print, (I must have missed risograph day). Why do giant gothic letters in fluorescent colors seem that much more unsettling? The idea of rave metal is frightening, probably because those two genre's were never meant to combine. The whole package just feels important, if this much care went into the look of the single... I'm going to take what's one more layer deep very seriously.

W-H-I-T-E's, Fountain starts out with this really clean snare rhythm, and is joined by a tom as kick to fill out the beat with a scattering of rimshots. It's so good, it's all by itself. This sort of thing is hard to pull off, using only those three elements, it's complex and combines that driving bass foundation with a hyper energy from the stick hits, a lot like Animal Collective, or any of the side projects where they're drawing from weird out of the way places for inspiration and then putting a pop shine to it. High shimmery synths eventually make an appearance and Cory's falsetto androgynous vocal is winding around this pounding pop, from far off harmony ahh's in the background to vibrato verses. It's Jimmy Scott for the electronic set, but that's totally inaccurate, I really wouldn't categorize this as electronic at much as you would say something like Beach House is electronic. It isn't working in a glitch dance way, there's a lot more subtlety and world instrumentation here. The a-capella vocal harmony fade out is pretty nuts, incredible voice, and injecting it into a sort of dreamy tribal pop is a great idea.

Amen Dunes (I love that name) 'remixes' Fountain on the B-Side and normally I'm not really a fan of this type of me a purist, but I want to hear what the artist intended to release, not a DJ heavy handedly putting their stamp all over everything, mixing up the source tracks inevitably with a deeper bassline, or messing with the vocal. Big deal. This however is a completely different and amazing example of what can be done when completely reinterpreting someone else's material with your own sensibilities. I've never heard Amen Dunes before and after hearing this I will actually see if I can catch him at Death by Audio May 12th. The entire side of this track is mixed so quietly, I had to turn up the amp to dangerous levels, which I paid for towards the end. But it's a case of having to listen really closely to almost nothing, it sounded like someone in the apartment next to me or down the block was playing some bass heavy jam (which would make sense any time of day). The chirps and lawnmower sounds all intertwined has a late '70's warble or phaser sound all over them, like the greatest sci-fi B-movie. All of this is a sort of intro for when the recognizable parts of fountain come in, and it sounds pretty close to the original albeit insanely quiet, no matter how much you turn it up. It's a smart direction to take this, a logical subtle way to go. Then the original stops and has sucha delay on it, it takes a good 5 seconds for that note to fade out. And that's when the series of clips, isolated and completely out of context from the A-Side come in as delayed normal volume, which is by now way louder that normal.
Well played, Amen Dunes. (shaking fist)

Get it from Swill Children, who also released a full length from W-H-I-T-E.
W-H-I-T-E's (Cory Thomas Hanson) latest single, Fountain draws from the experience of water rushing over ones body, submerging the senses in a bliss of overwhelming intensities. With this single from the forth-coming album, Twin Tigers, WHITE aims to convey only the most ecstatic of feelings. Utilizing tom heavy rhythms and lush choir-like vocal melodies to push the sonic sphere into cascades of harmonic content.

Side B features a remix by Amen Dunes. Produced in the Winter of 2010, Damon McMahon took notes on the website, the results of which can be seen on the back cover of the 7". The URL is accessible to anyone owning the 7" allowing them to remix the notes in any way they see fit and in affect, continue the process of mutability that is so integral to W-H-I-T-E's musical practice.


  1. Caught my attention with this one, especially because of the packaging reviews... :)

  2. I love the envelope....did you get that touchable sound book? It's a packing reference guide for singles...highly recommend it.