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The Skaters 

Dark Rye Bread

Wednesday, Aug 10 2005
As a tool for deep-sonic exploration, the human voice doesn't see much action these days. Sure, it's one of the last human confections still sweetening up most pop music (indie and mainstream). But for musicians operating on American culture's more expressively extreme outer fringes, the human voice typically plays a supporting role (at best) to electronics, guitars, laptops, etc. Renegades, however, are always out there. Take S.F. duo (sometimes trio) the Skaters. Within their universe of sound, the human voice is the omnipresent life force powering EVERYTHING. Of course, it's a realization hard-earned for the listener, because this LP, Dark Rye Bread, is as statically charged -- with walls of droning feedback and crackling distortion -- as just about any electronic-noise freakout extant. However, reckless noise this isn't, not by a long shot. After several concentrated listenings, these six pieces for voice mutate into brilliant sunbursts dispersing waves of shamanic howls, cat-horny ululations, and reverberating growls that, through the Skaters' thoughtful use of controlled breathing, fuse with squealing minisynths and rattling hand percussion. This ecstatic cacophony might sound as loud as industrial music, but it's also as profoundly moving and archetypal as Lorca's duende echoing through the mountains of Andalusia.

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Justin F. Farrar


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