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KEVIN SHIELDS "The Death of Patience"

June 25, 2008 By: M*P* Lockwood Category: albums

No, not THAT Kevin Shields. This is (obviously?) the one-woman noise project named “Kevin Shields.”

I’ve seen some debate over this naming choice bouncing around the internet. Is it brilliant? stupid? funny? deceitful? Apparently down at SXSW there were at least a couple of indie rockers who saw “This Kevin Shields,” thinking they were going to be seeing Kevin Shields, the My Bloody Valentine front-man. Is this a case of poking fun at indie rockers’ know-it-all attitude, or a case of trying to one-up their elitism? After all, to get the joke you have to not only know all about The Kevin Shields, but the more obscure This Kevin Shields too. While I am FOR confusion and anarchy in the music world, I do have to wonder if it’s setting low expectations for yourself to make the assumption from the get-go that your project will always remain obscure even compared to an already-rather-obscure (to 99% of the world) musician.

But that’s more than enough about that. This IS an album after all, so part of what matters ought to be how it sounds. Here we’ve got several slabs of good, solid harsh noise broken up with some quieter interludes to keep it all in perspective. Opening up with some light plunking on a keyboard, no doubt intended to trick you into turning up your stereo, you quickly get dropped into harshness territory. That thick stuff, Incapacitants-style perhaps, the rumbling and shrieking and grinding, borderline-white-noise kind. There’s plenty of changes happening throughout to keep noise fans listening (despite the title, “The Death of Patience”?), even if some of the moves might seem familiar. You’ve got your brief moments of high-pitched feedback tone, your pulsing buzzes, your waterfall-of-broken-glass sound.

It’s all rather nicely paced, with quieter moments of some more keyboard fiddling and what sounds like echoey contact mic fiddling breaking up the harshness. The fidelity is a little more cassette-tape quality than the digital brightness of Merzbow releases, but I think any harsh noise fan would be totally pleased to give this some listens. On CD and co-released by Deathbombarc, Entropic Tarot, and EMR Records.

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