Writhing Squares "Out Of The Ether" LP Release
Headroom, Sparrow Steeple
1250 N Front Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19122
Doors 8:00 PM
This event is 21 and over
The Writhing Squares
Writhing Squares have been conjuring up cosmic slop from the Philadelphia underground for a few years now, mixing growling bass, motorik synthesis, and skronking sax into a heady brew of punk-laced progressive R’n’R. The duo of Daniel Provenzano (Purling Hiss, Spacin, Rosali & the Middlemen) & Kevin Nickles (Ecstatic Vision, Taiwan Housing Project) emerged in 2015 with their self-released “Gemini Blues” 7-inch, following it up the next year with their debut album “In The Void Above” for the renowned Siltbreeze imprint. “Out of The Ether” is their sophomore effort, & first for Trouble In Mind.
“Out of the Ether” kicks off with the metronomic throb of “Dirt In My Mind’s Eye”, setting the stage for the album’s 5 tracks of minimal, droning ambience, overtaken at times by Nickles’ wailing, saxophone skronk; a mixture of the soulful runs of The Stooges’ Steve McKay & the no-wave stabs of James Chance. “Steely Eyed Missile Man” picks up the pace, with a four-on-the-floor drive underneath Provenzano’s guttural basslines. “Bloodborne Hate and Black Book Mass” and side one closer “I Turned To The Mirror” add the industrial menace of Cabaret Voltaire to a locked-in groove and lysergicly introspective lyrics. Album closer “A Whole New Jupiter” takes up all of the LP version’s side two, slingshotting the listener over the event horizon and thru the center of a sonically sculpted black hole, it’s relentless motorik dirge evolving over the course of the track’s 19-minute run time into an abstract pulse before lurching back into the groove, riding it into the sun.
Headroom first took flight in 2016 as the solo outlet for New Haven musician Kryssi Battalene, née of regarded noise project Colorguard & guitarist for psychedelic voyagers, Mountain Movers. Headroom sprung forth from the fertile and underrated New Haven scene - a musical patchwork of punk, hardcore, noise & experimental music all sharing the same stages & DIY spots and creating a musical identity all their own.
Battalene's talent flourished & soon enough, her signature style of guitar was infiltrating & influencing a new crop of New Haven musicians; part Twisted Village / PSF Records-influenced white noise maelstrom, part nuanced, beautiful six-stringed draperies. Battalene’s talents have graced recordings & stages with Estrogen Highs, Medication, Secret Treaties & Stefan Christiansen & Friends, but “Head In the Clouds” marks the first long-player for this, her current solo project (after a well regarded cassette EP on the C/Site imprint).
Across the album’s alternatingly harsh & beautiful five tracks, Battalene masterfully coaxes her guitar into a myriad of tastes and textures, from lumbering opener “How To Grow Evil Flowers”s psychedelic squall to more placid tracks like “Millers Pond” or “Flower of Light”, where she tempers her feedback to guide the tunes to new horizons. The title track’s pulsing guitar/synth interplay offers an eight minute respite before swan diving back into a fog of feedback. “Head In the Clouds” could be seen as the companion piece to Mountain Movers’ ‘s/t’ 2017 album, but with Battalene at the helm, Headroom eschews that band’s (ever so slightly) more traditional take in favor of a dizzyingly creative experimentalism. “Head In the Clouds” is an album meant to get lost in.