Matthew Bower / Richard Youngs – Site / Realm

3 out of 5

Label: VHF

Produced by: Matthew Bower / Richard Youngs (?)

Two long-form electronic guitar tracks, with a listener’s mileage varying depending on what type of sounds you’re after from the artists involved.

Matthew Bower’s sound experiments tend to be on the noisier side, but that can be straight-out assaultive, or more blissed out psych; Youngs maybe errs toward a more acoustic / electro-acoustic side of things, but he’s also shown a penchant for noise, and an ability to shred.

I’ll start with the B-side: Realm. This is what I was after: a meetup between aural death slogs and experimental cacauphony, and Realm delivers. While Bower and Youngs are both only credited with guitar here, there’s a clanging bit of percussion-sounding stuff happening on Realm that gives it some dimension, while guitars and noise slowly chug their way around a growing, breathing entity, unleashed in a wash of soloing before the song reverses back down to stuttering interruptions of noise, as though this birthed beast is slowly, slowly dying. …And maybe that stretches on beyond a breaking point, but that’s okay: the duo have tasked themselves with taking it to a conclusion, and so they do, with little toots of feedback.

On the A-side, Site, if ‘Realm’ can be said to have nuance, then Site is the exact lack of that. It’s a duel between squall and drone, and while that’s not a bad deal, and does make for an impressive wall of sound, it’s very much lacking in any definition beyond that, and for all its bluster, it’s too easy to tune out for that reason. At about the midway point, squall guitar pushes things even further into fuzzy mish-mash, which is impressive, and seems to signal a slight switchup to allow drone guitar to take the lead, but all this ends up amounting to is both players jamming in approximately the same tonal range. I like the idea of the song, but it’s background noise, versus Realm’s more commanding listening experience.