White Dog/Gomeisa - Split [Prairie Fire label - 2010]What’s the best way to kill a throbbing headache? Aspirine’s probably the most conventional solution. Personally, however, I find the best way to get rid of it is by knocking it up another notch. Nothing makes a searing headache feel better than blasting some particularly painful harsh noise at full volume. Some of my most ecstatic and hallucinatory listening I’ve experienced while high on throbbing migraines. Driving home from work and enjoying a massive headache just the other day, I pop in the ruckus that is the White Dog/Gomeisa split. And immediately feel better.
The first release on the, as we know by now, excellent Prairie Fire label sees White Dog (Chris Jacques) and Gomeisa (Cole Peters) contributing to fill a C32 of sounds raw and rowdy. Both projects are fairly new to the scene, having each debuted in 2009, but both have already released a good number of tapes and CDs, working mainly in drone (White Dog) and HNW (Gomeisa), respectively. White Dog I’m new to, but Gomeisa I already know intimately, so, at least regarding the B side of the tape, I definitely have some high expectations. Thankfully, these are met – beyond met.
Gomeisa’s material seems to predate the project’s shift towards HNW, and while Peters excels at creating massively compelling harsh noise walls, he does no poor job of this either. Blood Letting is a tape side full of energetic, vibrant harsh noise with all your typical high squeals, low end crunches and relentless audio pollution. It’s done stylishly though, elegantly, with as much grace as Gomeisa’s HNW material. The track sounds composed, but not contrived; there’s a clear, definite sense of direction; a greater plan; a Hand of Godmeisa that guides. Bad puns aside, however, it really must be said that the talent and craftsmanship so evident from the recording are truly admirable, and make Blood Letting truly a blast to listen to. On top of this, it’s interesting to hear Peters’ great feeling for texture outside of a HNW-setting; while the Gomeisa track is too far from static and unchanging enough to qualify as any kind of walls, there’s some exhilarating bits of crunch and crackle here that would have warranted C32s of their own.
The White Dog side, unfortunately, is far less engaging. Samsara is something of a soporific affair that hangs uncomfortably in the void between drone and ambient. Most of all, it sounds like three minutes of material stretched to cover fifteen; drawn-out waves of sound drift in and out without evoking any sense of interest or boredom, instead floating by unnoticed and uncared for. Modest streams of static and hiss sometimes politely perch on top of the low bass rumble, but they do little to add excitement. Samsara leaves me ice cold; the track is detached in a way that it neither seems to carry any emotions of itself, nor evokes any in the listener, unless you count yawning and checking your watch emotions, of course (you don’t).
Ultimately, the White Dog/Gomeisa stands as a slightly odd pairing. Both stylistically and qualitatively the sides are far apart, with the A side offering slightly too mediocre, too detached drone, while the B side has excellent, even exhilarating harsh noise. Just for that excellent B side, fortunately, this is already worth picking up. Add to that the tape’s excellent presentation, courtesy of the quality Prairie Fire label, and the White Dog/Gomeisa split stands as a valuable addition to any noise enthusiasts’s collection.Sven Klippel