Snares of Sixes – Yeast Mother: An Electroacoustic Mass


In this review, which as implied above is a review of the album Yeast Mother: An Electroacoustic Mass by the band Snares of Sixes, we are going to discuss the music and all the things it makes us think and feel and we are also going to yeast out with our beasts out. Don’t know how? Just wing it.

There is no way to predict what your first listen to Snares of Sixes will be like. For me, it was like stepping into a time machine. Not just any ol’ time machine, but one which transports the passenger to several different nodes on the continuum at once (somehow). I was reminded of the first time I heard Mr. Bungle‘s Disco Volante, or Mike Patton‘s Adult Themes for Voice solo album, or King Crimson‘s Red, or Coil‘s Musick to Play in the Dark Vol. 2. All of which happened in a relatively compact cluster of years. A cluster united by ravenous musical discovery and an insatiable desire for Weirdness.

If any of the name-bombs in the previous paragraph mean anything to you, then you are likely to have some idea of what Snares of Sixes is all about. Which is not to say that Snares is a mere derivation of the avant-garde pioneers of yore. Let us not forget that this new project’s main manager, one Jason Walton, has been making avant-garde music for a long time. When he wasn’t killing time playing bass for some USBM band I can’t bring myself to mention here and also in Sculptured, he was making cartoonish and not-especially-listenable Casio-core as Especially Likely Sloth. I discovered ELS at the tail end of my youthful obsession with strange music–and immediately decided that it was not for me. Not because it was too weird, but because it was too stupid. I can only equate its stupidity to, say, watching The Teletubbies on mescaline.

I am happy to report that since 2003 Walton has grown out of whatever childish fugue state was responsible for ELS and now makes music for reasonably sane, wage-earning, tax-paying adults. This does not mean that the hyperactive dadaism at the core of ELS has died. What it does mean is simply that Walton has his absurdist compulsions under control now. With Snares of Sixes, he manipulates them in the service of an art-rock album you would not be too embarrassed to show your sexual partner.

On Yeast Mother, Walton has invited a cavalcade of guest musicians into the studio in order to help him tame the yeast. Guests include but are not limited to someone from Musk Ox and someone from Winds and someone from Dolven and someone also from Sculptured. The result, which may or may not follow logically from that list of associations, is a four-track EP containing more twists and turns than most musicians complete in an entire career. It’s got shredding riffs, it’s got punch-drunk grooves, it’s got polyrhythmic freakouts, it’s got bleeps and bloops and blops and spooks and ghouls and goblins and a revolving door of voices–some robotic, some screeching, some more or less human–reciting abstract poetry of a curiously gastronomical bent. Metallic guitars rage over fill-happy drums and under caterwauls of keyboard mischief and against squelches of chalkboard-scratching noise. The tone veers vertiginously between light and dark (the kind of light you’d find at a well-run psychiatric hospital; the kind of dark you’d find in a book written for children in a time before the term “helicopter parenting” meant anything).

“Urine Hive” is a restless yet lackadaisical mashup of false starts, precarious grooves and assorted fuck-ups. More of an overture in collage than anything resembling a song. “Lions to Leeches” is essentially a dissonant black metal riff accompanied by funky drums, digital cacophony and the poetic expectorations of a troll. So on, so forth. Overall, Yeast Mother chucks equal parts rock, metal and noise into a blender set on “obliterate”. It’s a shitstorm–but the good kind.

There’s nothing wrong with this EP. It is a miniature avant-garde masterpiece, of similar calibre to the rock and metal oddities that have been traipsing around in New York since time immemorial. There is, however, something wrong with me. I’m just not that into extroverted weirdness anymore. So that while Yeast Mother hits all of the right hair-brained buttons, it never had any hope of blowing me away. Which may be indicative (or not) of a fundamental conundrum in avant-garde music. Namely, that it exists to blow minds. And yet once one’s mind has been thoroughly, repeatedly blown for long enough, no amount of avant-blowing will ever blow it again. So, to sum up, I enjoyed this album despite the fact that the tea it brews is not exactly my cup of tea anymore. But the only question that really matters is: Is it yours? IS IT YOURS? (Admit it, it’s yours.)

A Donation of 4/5 Flaming Toilets ov Hell has Been Made to This EP in the Name of Some Dude Named Satan

Yeast Mother: An Electroacoustic Mass will be released on the fake holiday of Cinco de Mayo by Crucial Blast. Preorder the digital or CD version here. Go visit Snares of Sixes on facebook and tell them (him) that the Toilet said something a Toilet would typically say.

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