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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Burning Star Core
The Very Heart of the World
Thin Wrist

Rating: 7.5/10 ?


November 29, 2005
The Dead C have influenced countless guitar-oriented noise groups over the last fifteen years, and of these artists, Burning Star Core might be the closest of the notorious New Zealand free-rock collective's spiritual allies. Essentially the vehicle of one depraved apocalyptic prophet, C. Spencer Yeh, Burning Star Core doesn't just deconstruct rock and skronk itself into oblivion; Yeh's recordings instead behave much like The Dead C's: they begin in utter ruination and scramble to transform a junk heap of signs, symbols and sounds into a unified, meaningful form of expression. Burning Star Core doesn't subvert, because the project exists in a world in which nothing's solid enough to be subverted. For all of their bloodthirsty clattering, Yeh and his rotating cast of collaborators ultimately prove to be a hopeful unit, finding small systems of order in an ungodly mess.

The Very Heart of the World begins in wreckage - a car crash, to be exact. Yeh's John Cale-esque violin emerges from the simulated automobile accident, with guitar and miniscule electronic manipulations opening up into a sea of drone bliss. This first track, "Benjamin," captures Yeh at his most serene - perhaps it's because it's the only track on which he's unaccompanied. In it, there is less junk to plow. Though Yeh's aesthetic suggests a punk rock or DIY genesis, he achieves refined results with "Benjamin," comparing favorably to LaMonte Young and Tony Conrad while also demystifying the high art milieu from which those artists' tonal experiments arose by producing a similar piece out of a veritable gutter.

Cataclysmic closer "Come Back Through Me" finds Burning Star Core at its most formidable. A single piano phrase and an almost tribal percussion pattern act as the hypnotic core, while sweltering electronics and Yeh's searing violin climb to melodic and amelodic peaks, thrusting and throbbing with all of the sex, ecstasy and glory one could hope for in a piece of music. It's Ornette Coleman's "Theme from a Symphony" with an immovable center, preserving that free jazz classic's relentless swirl in spite of more stable underpinnings. GY!BE might reach more life-affirming swells through similar instrumentation and tones, but Burning Star Core actually lives.

Reviewed by Phillip Buchan
A one-time music director at WUOG in Athens, Phillip is into college radio, literature, writing, buying records, going to shows, talking to friends, learning -- pretty much the same stuff that all of us priveledged, (pseudo?)intellectual Americans are into.

See other reviews by Phillip Buchan

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