Category Archives: Hair Police

New release: Failing Lights – self titled

Failing Lights: Failing Lights
Intransitive Recordings (2010)

The guys in Wolf Eyes are fucking prolific; they put the Yellow Swans boys to shame. These guys eat, drink, sleep and smoke noise both as part of the Wolf Eyes monster and under dozens of solo guises.

Failing Lights is one of many side projects attributed to Mike Connelly, whose best-known work outside of Wolf Eyes is probably the death-march trio Hair Police. I’m no Hair Police expert but this record shits all over anything I’ve heard him produce under that name. It’s spooky, cinematic, and spacious and depends more on atmosphere than noise. A lot like Wolf Eye’s pivotal Human Animal record.

Second track, Revealing Scene carries a haunting hum erratically shattered by bolts of fuzz. It’s horrific and otherworldly, like demons trying to claw their way through from the ‘other side’. Eventually the hum slips into a rattle that builds into a spooky squall of electronic rain, sheets of wobbly noise that rumble like thunder and lightening. Probably a rain of fire in the pits of hell.

This fades into Serve in Silence where Connelly dawdles tunelessly on an acoustic guitar. The Asiatic twang he creates has been cut and pasted into multiple layers and then rinsed in reverb and delay so that everything sounds seasick and dreamy like a feverish hallucination.

Four of these five tracks fall under five-minutes in length, and come across like H’orderves before the epic closing party that is The Comfort Zone. It kicks off with microphone FX which sound like distant storms, then drifts into some more menacing guitar jangle before electronic squeaks and zaps start whirring around like flies. A wobbly bass drone lurks out of the shadows, and then, in a classic ode to some of Kevin Drumm’s finer moments, an accordion style drone emerges from the din, layer upon layer upon layer building a cathartic sense of release to what has previously been a dark listening experience. It ends with a machine like whir, almost like a film projector, nodding to the entire record’s cinematic scope.

You won’t ‘get’ this record if you don’t listen to it from start to finish because the transition from unease to bliss is mesmerising and what makes Failing Lights a fucking classic in the genre. I  love the way Connelly has created an actual album, a journey and this is fast becoming my record of 2010. No shit.

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Digging: Hair Police – Untitled (Euro Tour 06)

Hair Police – Untitled (Euro Tour 06)
Gods of Tundra (2006)

It can be a bit deceiving when I use the term ‘digging’ to define things that I’ve been listening to which haven’t been released in the current year. When I preface my posts with the word digging, I’m talking about ‘digging into the crate’, but the truth is I don’t always ‘dig’ the things I find there. Take this Hair Police cd-r for example.

At the opposite end of the spectrum to your average Merzbow-style noise maker, Hair Police are about mood and atmosphere. It’s no accident that this band has shared a member with Wolf Eyes at various times over the years, because both acts deal in soundtracks to imaginary horror movies. Things rattle, bump and clank in the night, and occasionally they scream too. But Hair Police are far more abstract than Wolf Eyes, they can create tension but rarely managed to build its intensity. And on none of the four tracks within this untitled cd-r do they actually manage to release any of said tension.

As such there’s very little pay off here. All the clutter and buzz sounds ominous but never becomes more than background noise. There are worse noise records out there, that’s for sure, but Untitled ain’t the most memorable either. Maybe that has something to do with it being released as some sort of European tour promo, like leftovers. However, I bought this for $4.50 in the second hand racks at Missing Link Records, so I shouldn’t complain.