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John Wiese - Black Magic Pond

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Artist: John Wiese

Album: Black Magic Pond

Label: Blossoming Noise

Review date: Aug. 7, 2006

If noise needs an auteur – and one could argue that such designations run contra to noise’s liberated spirit – well, John Wiese is it. Cursory listens apparently has all noise “sounding the same,” but no one making such a bold claim has sourced the nuance central to noise construction, the ability to keep slabs of noise enlivened and throat-throttling while also producing a self-sustaining document. Noise often descends into indistinguishable mush, but Wiese keeps his short pieces (whether live recordings or studio conceptions) bristling with sideways glances, short circuits and unforeseen turns.

The initial mental picture offered by Black Magic Pond – unforgiving weaponry and machinery charging its merciless way through a bloodied field – soon gives way to other, less predictable tactics. Tracks three and four both drop unexpected, glancing silences into the fray: following sudden jump-cuts or startling shifts in focus, these tiny silent spots feel like Surrealist tactics, or strange, almost cartoonish moments of suspension.

The jolts and shocks of Wiese’s recordings are unpredictable. But unlike the many noise artists I encounter whose discs are ritually sent to the back of the record collection, Wiese is an artisan, someone whose work is sculpted even in its most unhinged moment of pure, noisic gush.

By Jon Dale

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