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Psychic Secession

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Album Review

First released in Australia and then in a slightly remastered version in the States, Psychic Secession finds the Yellow Swans further occupying the space between dark, glowering metal and hypnotic modern drone, aided and abetted by performers like Christina Carter and Adam Forkner. The core duo of Gabriel Mindel Saloman and Pete Swanson still leads the way, though, and that the album starts with a high-pitched feedback whine that rapidly increases in volume is as perfect a declaration of principles as any — why cause tinnitus when the experience can be replicated on disc? Consisting of four lengthy tracks with either short, cryptic lyrics or none at all, Psychic Secession is well named, feeling like a disorienting divorce from a calmer state of mind, as tones mix and match in ways little heard outside of early Main albums. That the first track is called "True Union" might be a slight irony, but in a way it's as much a recapitulation as anything else, a buried slow rhythm and low circular tones providing the base for the key trebly electronic parts. Yet the tune itself evolves into an even richer and more unsettling collage as it progresses before settling down into one final fading drone. With that as a start the remaining three pieces cover related but distinctly different ground, the title track itself containing some of the most violent guitar playing on the record, but mixed to sound almost (though hardly entirely) like a comforting wash. "I Woke Up," the one song on the disc produced by Forkner (the rest are handled by Daniel Voss), takes a comparatively subtler approach, with more space and background details as the drum machine (with real drums appearing later) and synth (?) bass move up to the front. "Velocity of the Yolk," meanwhile, ends the album at its quietest, with Carter's instantly recognizable vocals ghosting through the mix of echoed beeps and distant guitar moans.


Formed: 2001 in Portland, OR

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Electro-noise duo the Yellow Swans formed in Portland, OR, in 2001, with the intention of combining punk's confrontational stance with the aggressively electronic sound of glitch. Like many other noise artists, Peter Swanson and Gabriel Mindel Saloman self-released several CD-Rs and cassettes of their music, as well as issuing EPs and 7"s on labels like Collective Jyrk and Chronditic Sound. Despite frequent tours and gigs with artists including Tussle, 7 Year Rabbit Cycle, Xiu Xiu, and Japanther,...
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Psychic Secession, Yellow Swans
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