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Siberian Earth Curve

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Album Review

Siberian Earth Curve is at the same time the most open and the most constricted music of Birchville Cat Motel's career. None of the five tracks dip below ten minutes (the opening "Snakes Bark Maple" is well over 17), but all of them are simple soundscapes created by guitarist Campbell Kneale on his own, mostly out of heavily processed guitars with occasional bits of percussion and vocal floating in the middle distance. The results are mostly lulling, abstract washes of sound and tonal color, but as the lengthy album progresses, an ever-increasing sense of anxiety begins to permeate the tracks, culminating in the shrill "Trinity High Water Mark," which consists almost entirely of sounds that resemble the overdubbed squealing of subway brakes. Occasionally pretty (particularly the ghostly, pulsating "Lux") but more often a little unsettling, Siberian Earth Curve is not for the faint of heart, but fans of the likes of Roy Montgomery and Alastair Galbraith will be intrigued.

Biography

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

From a bedroom in a suburb of Wellington, New Zealand, Birchville Cat Motel issues forth a steady stream of albums of alternately ghostly and aggressive drone-heavy noise rock. The alter ego of guitarist, songwriter, and producer Campbell Kneale, Birchville Cat Motel is akin to fellow D.I.Y. space rock luminaries like Alastair Galbraith, Roy Montgomery, and the Flying Saucer Attack. Kneale played in a succession of minor and largely unrecorded indie bands in his native New Zealand from the mid-'80s...
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Siberian Earth Curve, Birchville Cat Motel
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