Various Artists – BC35 Volume Two

 

Odd, noisy, relaxing, introspective, and uneven are some of the words that can be used to describe BC35 Volume Two and that’s just with regards to the first four songs. For those out of the loop BC35 Volume Two is the second and final piece of the BC Studio anniversary puzzle. In short, producer and cultural antagonist Martin Bisi – known for his recording work with the likes of Helmet, Unsane, Dresden Dolls and more – has assembled a group of musicians and let them kick out the jams.

But it’s not just any batch of performers that Bisi has pulled from, but rather some of the most illustrious alternative and noise players from New York’s fabled underground. With members of Swans, Sonic Youth and Cop Shoot Cop on the roster things are bound to be interesting and unpredictable at the least. And we get to interesting early and often with the discordant sounds and disembodied voices whispering to you on the fantastically titled ‘Save Sludgie the Whale of Gowanus.’ Now that the tribal beats and eerie voices have set the table you can dig into the pulsing low end of ‘Up Against the Wall’ and the Helmet-like angular riffs and noises permeating from ‘Down the Ladder, Up the Snake.’

There’s even some room for beauty when the amps have died down on the acoustic and keyboard leaning ‘Bobby’s Car’ which features serene vocals from Ajda the Turkish Queen. That said this disdain for traditional convention can at times swing against BC35. For one it runs about two songs too long as far as retaining listener attention. I would personally scratch ‘Rainy Day in Bern’ and ‘Let Us Be’ off the final mix. Also, the spoken word vocals on ‘X Dressing at the Radar Base’ really do nothing for the song.

Bold and irregular, but a lovely celebration of New York alternative music in an age in which that city could use a bit more underground.

6/10

HANS LOPEZ