Multiple unstable musical worlds become one in the music of improvised noise collective Swine. Taking pinches of electronic, jazz and ancient music, their cavernous sonic structures move like a slow, terrifying animal. It’s the sort of music that could, or maybe should, soundtrack 2017, bringing the whole world together in a cyclical dose of unease.
Located primarily in Somerset, the base sound of Swine features heavy drones, coupled with looping and layering to the nth degree. Electronics are the big player, creating a great, unrelenting wall of noise in reaction to blares of reeds, while in the foreground are sparks of white noise and percussive flickers. Anything and everything echoes in Swine’s music, always coming back to haunt you over and again.
Up above the swirling bass, there are all sorts of little peculiar delights to be found. In ‘Circle’s Pearl’, tritone sax lines are punctuated by one lonely whistle and the bestial wails of more saxes with melodicas, while further on, a never-ending synth waltz puts you in mind of an eerie carousel. Meanwhile, in ‘The Zander’, the old and new truly coexist, with the creaky murmur of a hurdy gurdy pitted against all kinds of howling, popping and fuzz.
Often Swine’s music tends not to be dictated by pulse, at least not with a consistent rhythmical pattern. Only in the most recent track ‘Dancing With Jabberwocks’ is any kind of beat established, a typically repetitive, computerised rhythm that only serves to heighten the dystopian landscape.
Each track, though improvised, is strongly evocative and cinematic. The swells and drops of ‘Into The Vorrh’, for example, shiver and shudder like a feral animal, and manages to generate real life from small beginnings. Indeed, comparisons can be drawn between Swine’s work and the film music of Jóhann Jóhansson, whose show was reviewed on RAWS recently. Both take small foundations and see just how far and wide they can be taken, creating vivid murky images as they go.
Though Swine is improvised, dissonant and largely free of rhythm, there’s nothing aimless about what they create. Their will to experiment will always bring some level of pleasure, and the further they push, the more exciting it will surely get.