DECAYCAST Reviews: SEA MOSS “BREAD BORED” CS/Digital (Crash Symbols, 2017)
SEA MOSS is a perfect example of why duos are sometimes the most engaging for heavy and experimental music. SEA MOSS, splice all of the specific aspects that make duo’s so special; tension, dynamics, a call and response/push pull type of dynamic, (that often gets lost or muddled once a third or forth voice is added), into a fever dream ritual of distorted noise rock, and rhythmic, percussion heavy noise. When contrasting voices push and pull, interesting and chaotic things can happen, and that’s exactly what this Seattle duo does, on their freshman album “Bread Bored”. For one, the sound is a perfect blend of Noa Ver homemade, noisy, chaotic, dynamic home-brewed synthesizers, which she popularized in her solo project Mulva Myasis and Zach D’Agostino percussion and live sequencing which meld together perfectly to create a raw, cacophonous blend of abstracted, cut up, angular noise / rock. Noa Ver create walls of glitched-out, sputtering, chirping, regurgitating bent and mangled waveforms blending together to create rhythmic walls of unique, raw synthesized noise over D’Agostino, who belts forth a seemingly endless array of broken rhythms, fusing both analog and digital sources to create a chaotic, chopped up, backbone of heavy, flipped out perscussion. Also we couldn’t really talk about this release without mentioning the intricate, dense, psychedelic collaged cover art/Layout done by Liz Pavlovic, offering the perfect visual counterpart to the dense, tripped out, broken sounds of SEA MOSS.
Having seen SEA MOSS live in 2017 (and BTW this project is barely a year old, and has already toured, released this album on CRASH SYMBOLS and self-released several live recordings) I had a rough idea of what to expect from this tape, and it really represents their live sound well. The aptly titled “Bread Bored” oscillates between more noise, even free jazz styled works, using more chopped, off timed rhythm tracks, and the synths are sputtering more like a trumped or saxophone than a synthesizer, such on the second track “Infernal Stutter”, whereas the very next song, “Wanna See A Trick?”, perhaps my personal favorite on the album falls much more into an early Load Records style of noise rock where the synths and walls of noise act as a heavy low end for the pummeling 4/4 breakdowns which dominate the song, or similarly styled and varied is the finale “Sea Sickness”, which blends thudding drums, more buzzing, screaming oscillators and time/tempo changes that will leave your head spinning, There’s also a whole lot varied vocal styles which range from long swelled, yelling to short, antagonistic bursts of sound, yelling, fighting , screaming, screaming, threatening, impactful, and sharp in unique ways even though the lyrics are rather indistinguishable from each other. Despite this, the vocals provide an additional layer of tension and chaos, especially when complimenting the heavy, smashed out percussion riffs in a sort of call in response type of way. At times, it’s as if all the instruments are being played as their opposites; or something they’re totally unreleased to; synths are played as horns, drums are played as basses, vocals are an additional layer of percussion, but also so much more.
SEA MOSS stands above and beyond a lot of other offerings in noise rock camp so far for 2017 that have pummeled my ears. SEA MOSS has a seemingly uncanny ability to pack three or four different styles and feelings, even within a single track (and mind you most of the tracks are under four minutes, some even in the one to two-minute range). This music could be from 1999 or it could be from 2199, we haven’t totally figured that out yet, and that’s part of why it’s intriguing. The cassette is sold out; however, you can grip the digital album for five dollars from the Crash Symbols band camp page. Be sure to check out a myriad of other releases from the West Virginia based imprint, while you’re on the band camp and make sure to follow SEA MOSS here!