Part Wild Horses Mane on Both Sides - Bataille de Battle

by Rich Morris Rating: Release Date:

Sometimes the psychogeography of a place can inspire its music makers to take a quantum leap across the chasms of space and time. In the late 70s, the bleak industrial landscape of Sheffield was the birthing ground to an austere and mordant futurism, exemplified by The Human League and Cabaret Voltaire. Thirty years later the same crumbling brickwork and haunted factory spaces echo to a sound which is inverse and yet also similar.

Part Wild Horses Mane is at the forefront of a scene of bands which use ornate English folk music, LaMonte Young style drones, free jazz drumming and found sounds to create music as alien and alienated as anything by the post punk synth pioneers. 'Full Left Hand Cocoon', which opens this album, sounds at once ancient and space age, making use of disembodied howls, ethereal flute and, most startlingly, long pregnant silences which beam the listener to a lunar landscape, as vast and lonely as the one conjured in Brian Eno's seminal Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks. Listening to it feels like taking a moonwalk in a wooden spacesuit.

Second track 'Fully Pierced', fourteen minutes of scraping, drones and tinkling bells, is like listening to the death throes of some rusted mechanical deity. 'Someday We'll Limit Forever' is the sound from inside the belly of the beast, the clammy darkness and intestinal churning alleviated only by the phosphorous glow of Kelly Jones' flute. Final track 'Grapes Engraved' is punk as played by enraged poltergeists with faulty telekinetic abilities. It's unremittingly intense, heady stuff. It's also beautiful, and it gladdens one's heart to realise that, right at the end of this decade, someone somewhere has discovered a primal way to communicate the shock of the new.

Best Tracks: 'One Day We'll Limit Forever', 'Fully Pierced', 'Full Left Hand Cocoon'

Richard Morris

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