“I want to know how many of you people out there want to rock and roll say it – rock and roll say it louder and I want to know do you believe in rock and roll? why don’t you stand up for what you believe in you wankers” – Whitehouse – “Rock And Roll”
Raised on a diet of Throbbing Gristle, Whitehouse, Sonic Youth, The Dead C & Harry Pussy, Wolf Eyes are the most electrifying group on the planet right here right now. Wolf Eyes’ frequency fluctuates between 0 & 240v fifty times every second. You grab hold – you ain’t letting go:
“You can eat industrial waste, if you can stand the taste” Desperate Bicycles – “Medium Was Tedium”
Detroit’s Wolf Eyes began generating noise way back in 1996 as a single entity: Nate Young (Phase 1). Operating various electronic self-made gizmos, as well as sonically altered traditional instruments like the mouth, Young soon programmed his way onto cassette tape - & subsequently onto the database of Aaron Dilloway of Hanson Records & Tapes. Dilloway was so stoked he began releasing these recordings as cassette tapes. This only seemed to wind him up further – so much so, in fact – he quickly became a fully paid up member of Wolf Eyes - adding guitar, tape loops, horns, mouth sounds & further electronics to the program (Phase 2).
Wolf Eyes began gigging as a duo almost immediately – spewing forth cassettes, CD-Rs, lathe-cut records & split LPs whenever they weren’t cutting a rug live. By 1999 Wolf Eyes had evolved into a fully-fledged industrial hardcore noise terrorist ensemble leaving behind caustic nuggets “Wolf Eyes/Nautical Almanac” (Hanson), “Fortune Dove” (Bulb) & “Wolf Eyes” (Bulb) as artefacts.
As the old millennium died & a new one spluttered into life, Young & Dilloway moved to Brooklyn NYC where they wasted no time in hooking up with one Andrew Wilkes-Krier, a talented motivational speaker & occasional Metal-themed party organiser, to expand to a trio (Phase 3). Krier’s actual workload has never been divulged – exactly what he did for Wolf Eyes, we’ll never know! Whatever it was, it didn’t last long - & before the end of 2000 Young & Dilloway were back in Michigan. Wolf Eyes weren’t destined to remain a duo for long, however, & were promptly joined by John Olson (aka Spykes) with his box of tricks & his own manipulative way with a tape recorder & a yard of quarter inch tape (Phase 4). The definitive aural document of these heady days is, not unsurprisingly, “With Sykes” CD-R (Hanson).
As 2000 turned to 2001, Olson’s influence within Wolf Eyes became painfully apparent: the group duly increased their recorded output. Over the next 12-months Wolf Eyes released 20 plus cassettes & CD-R’s via Olsen’s American Tapes label – amongst them, “The Dread” (Hanson/American Tapes) – Wolf Eyes first truly lucid document. Wolf Eyes had evolved again: now functioning as a coherent unit wired for sound - each group member connected to his auxiliary arsenal of sonic weaponry - &, in turn - connected to each other. Wolf Eyes: a mass of entangled cables – a cacophony of crashing waveforms pummelling the shores of Echo Beach with each successive tide.
2002 saw Olson release yet another ton of Wolf Eyes cassettes and CD-R's. Dilloway dropped the skinny with “Slicer” - and Wolf Eyes made their picture disc debut with “Dead Hills” (Troubleman Unlimited). By this stage the Sat Nav was firmly in the ‘off’ position – Wolf Eyes had no idea where they were going. With each subsequent emission the group mutated & contorted – perspiring radiation – dumping toxic waste.
2003 continued where 2002 left off. Dilloway spewed up the “Mugger” CD-R (Hanson), Wolf Eyes teamed up mob-handed with Panicsville to drop “Stabbed in the Face” on 12” - and Olson beavered away like some mad scientist in a bad 50’s b-movie. Wolf Eyes’ sound was literally corroding in acid - caustic soda pop in unsuitable containers! Unstable but unbowed - the world was starting to listen.
Fast forward to 2004: Wolf Eyes, now a finely honed three-headed alcohol-fueled electro bastard terror arkestra, sign to once Grungy Sub Pop records & drop their most virulent strain of noise pollution thus far: “Burned Mind”. As the press man at Sub Pop rightly contests: “We live in drastic fucking times, and ‘Burned Mind’ is drastic fucking music.”
2005 began badly for Wolf Eyes: Dilloway, tired of touring, jumped ship & high-tailed it to Nepal for an extended holiday with nuptial connotations, leaving Young & Olson to recruit Mike Connelly of fellow noiseniks, Hair Police. Luckily for Wolf Eyes, Connelly had himself moved up to Michigan towards the end of 2004, so was perfectly placed to cover for Dilloway (Phase 5). No stranger to Alcatraz, Connelly’s experience/reputation in releasing sound assault projects via his Gods Of Tundra label was already firmly established.
A month long stint at the dawn of 2006 saw Young, Olson & Connelly assemble the bones of what would eventually become “Human Animal” (Sub Pop) in the Terror Tank - aka Wolf Eyes Central. Dilloway & BMG assisted with the mixing of “Human Animal” – as they did with “Burned Mind” – forging another slab of unadulterated filth in the process.
“Human Animal” is basically “Burned Mind” in dub: the lo-end frequencies have been ramped up way past safe – the atmosphere is contaminated & rank with decay - rashes of skronking sax have broken out all over the corpse. This isn’t music to drop acid to! “Human Animal” is seriously uneasy listening. Wolf Eyes – it has been pointed out elsewhere – share much in common with those other famous sons of Detroit: The Stooges. The instruments may have changed - but the song remains resolutely the same. Attitudinally, there’s no discernable difference. If you ignore the pre-Sub Pop self-released gear & take “Burned Mind” as their debut (artistic licence don’t fail me now), then “Human Animal” is Wolf Eyes’ “Funhouse”!
In a world where the bland lead the bland aimlessly through the airbrushed streets of Dream City, we need the hideously deformed to remind us why we were born in the first place. Wolf Eyes are a summation of all that has come before them - & a reflection of everything we have become: diseased, corrupt, amoral & dammed.
Stand up for what you believe in. You wankers!
Jean Encoule – tMx 27 – 11/06
Check it: www.wolfeyes.net
|Contact: wastebin@trakMARX.com trakMARX.com - Writing About Music Is Like Dancing To Architecture|