Birchville Cat Motel

Curved Surface Destroyer

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    8
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With Curved Surface Destroyer, Birchville Cat Motel gets Last Visible Dog's classy retrospective treatment: three discs' full of (presumably) previously unreleased music, covering a hefty cross-section of Campbell Kneale's project. And these six lengthy drones are not leftovers, but prime live material. In fact, this set is significantly superior to BCM's previous Last Visible Dog release, the monochromatic Beautiful Speck Triumph. The set consists of six pieces ranging between 30 and 40 minutes, two on each disc, presented in chronological order. The earliest track was recorded in 1998 in Wellington, New Zealand, and the most recent in 2006 in Nagoya, Japan. The two pieces on disc one are rather gentle drones and both feature guests: guitarists Andrew Savage on "Reversing Spiral Galaxies" and Stephen Clover on "Fairy Teeth." The latter has a bit more bite (pun intended, of course), with Clover also adding radios and tapes to the growing mayhem. Disc two features two overtly noise drones. "Zenkoji" begins with delicate rainfall sounds, but gradually escalates to a raucous, throbbing drone. "Copenhagen" proceeds the other way around, starting with gritty dragging sounds, quickly building up to harsh noise, then slowly boiling down to a magnificent section of tinkling bells and clanging bottles before a riveting final whoomp. It is one of the album's highlights and the only piece to reach over the half-hour mark, clocking in at a few seconds short of 41 minutes. Disc three comes back to softer-sounding drones, with the exception of the finale of "Drawn Towards Chanting Hordes." That piece is the album's definitive highlight, it marks a summit in Birchville Cat Motel's discography, and deserves consideration as one of the all-time best half-hour pieces in the drone genre. Kneale creates a slow, careful and majestic build-up using guitar, electronics and bagpipes. Then, halfway through, a snare drum enters and moves slowly to the front of the stage before being joined by an electric guitar to hammer out a one-chord martial motif that will eventually stand alone at the very end of the piece -- unusually theatrical and thrilling.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1
27:54 Amazon
2
29:46 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 2

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1
30:13
2
40:53 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 3

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1
29:51 Amazon
2
30:59 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick