The rise and rise of HAAi
Having previously performed as part of Haircut Mountain Transit, Gator Surprise and Men Who Can’t Love, and opened shows on Dan Deacon, Deerhunter and No Age’s No Deachunter Tour, Kyle Parker (Infinite Body), aligns himself with LA’s abrasive noise scene, but uses his Infinite Body alias as an outlet for his recordings that ‘encompass all things beautiful’ (thanks press release).
One of the problems with noise music as a genre is its reliance on context. In a live setting, for example, noise can be performed at colossal volume, which gives the music an experiential quality that cannot be recreated at home. MBV’s infamous “holocaust section” is a case in point: it feels like you’re standing in a wind tunnel. Trying somehow to replicate the experience at home would be entirely pointless.
When the experience of a performance as a whole is paramount, having well-crafted, satisfying songs is of lesser importance. Recorded music lacks the spectacle of a live event, so must rely solely on its formal qualities in order to capture the listener’s imagination. The first half of ‘Carve out the Face of God’ is lacklustre in every respect. The second half, thankfully, is considerably better. It contains several short interludes, each sufficiently texturally interesting to command attention. The three longer works that the interludes punctuate show considerable melodic inventiveness and dynamic range.
The album starts with the fuzzy aimlessness of Dive. Second track A Fool Persists is a sort of sampling joke; two minutes of a repeating orchestral swell that never resolves itself. It’s a bit like the weirdly long strings that announce the advert breaks in Brass Eye, except it is neither funny nor entertaining. It would be just too easy to make fun of a track called What They Wanted to be was Useless, suffice to say that by the mid-point of this album one can’t help but wonder whether they might have succeeded.
The bizarre metallic sonics of Sunshine are cataclysmic and compelling. Drive Dreams Away is as wistful as it is desolate. Carve Out the Face of God evokes a dusty, windswept wilderness punctuated by squalling howls. It’s what I imagine the inside of Cormac McCarthy’s head sounds like. That’s a compliment.
Contrary to what the album’s press release promises, ‘Carve out the Face of God’ did not hypnotise, emotionally charge, or inspire me to think about life, sadly. Based on the evidence of the latter half of the album, however, it is encouraging to think that all involved may be capable of something considerably better.