9.25.2013

MIKE CONNELLY








































FAILING LIGHTS
Year:  2010
Country:  US
Artist:  Mike Connelly
Label:  Intransitive
Format:  CD
Tracks:  7
Time:  60 min.
Genre:  electronic
Style:      Noise       Experimental
























"Failing Lights" is the solo experimental / noise project of Mike Connelly of "Wolf Eyes" and "Hair Police" and other musical projects such as: The Cove, Entry, Human Liberation Technology, Lasting Hunt, Mike Connelly, New Device, Stoning, Under Cloven Spell, Zombi, etc... all of them in noise music oriented. Apart he has his own label "Gods of Tundra" to distribute his works in any format (cd, cassette, lp) since 2000.   I've always been fascinated by the fact that when you look at an object, you don't actually see it-- you see light the reflecting from it. In this sense, light is actually a sort of gatekeeper, hiding some parts of the world as it reveals others. Mike Connelly's music has a similar effect, which is why Failing Lights is the perfect name for his solo project. His sounds live in shadows, intermittently illuminated by flickering volume, then swept back into the dim recesses of his eerie atmospheres. In the process, Connelly is also a kind of gatekeeper, doling out glimpses of an elusive sonic whole.   It's a method Connelly has honed in his two main groups, Wolf Eyes and Hair Police. Both are known for brutal noise, yet are also adept at using restraint to create tension. With Failing Lights, Connelly is more focused on the latter. Parts of Failing Lights (his first widely-available release after numerous low-run tapes and CD-R's) sound like the negative image of his bands, with noise flipped into quiet and echoes reversed into jolts. Bells chime and decay; rumbles evoke underwater transmissions; electronic slashes crackle like bugs hitting zappers. There are some stretches of dense cacophony, but even those feel shrouded and blurry.   Yet Connelly isn't hiding his creative intentions-- in fact, they're right there in his song titles. He opens with "Moon on the First Hunt", spinning out slow strands of sonic debris-- the kind you could imagine hearing in your helmet as you walk from a spaceship onto the lunar surface. He raises a sonic curtain on "Revealing Scene", as cavernous sounds gradually approach the camera until they fill the screen with static. And the sparsest track-- where restraint finally wrestles Connelly's sounds into submission-- is called simply "Serve in Silence".   If Connelly does mean these titles as descriptions, then his most interesting choice is calling the closer "The Comfort Zone". At over 18 minutes, it's by far the longest cut, and the most striking. It opens with big waves of growling feedback, slides into heavy bass tones, then spends 11 minutes on a big, bold drone. It's probably not what most people would call comforting, but it's definitely a zone. Maybe Connelly means that anything can be comfortable once you fully enter it-- he told The Wire recently that his work is "like this abstract world that I can take a walk in." The evocative aural environments of Failing Lights suggest that he acccomplished this goal.  (review By Marc Masters, 2010).
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FAILING LIGHTS +
UNUSEABLE SIGNAL
Year:  2005
Country:  US
Artist:  Mike Connelly, John Olson
Label:  American Tapes
Format:  LP
Edition:  100 copies
Tracks:  2
Time:  28 min.
Genre:  electronic
Style:        Experimental        Noise



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