The guitar/electronics duo Yellow Swans’ one-off release on Spain’s Acuarela label is a study in drones. At its height, the sounds are grating and alarmist with white noise roiling and immolating itself but, strangely enough, the coalescence of these abrasive tones builds to a point that transcends “noise” and evokes an almost soothing sense of calm. It’s like the auditory equivalent of watch a fire gain in strength; the sustained chords and oscillations flicker singly and together creating a backdrop of increasing and diminishing intensity.
The EP is made up of two tracks, “Descent 1” and “Descent 2.” Both tracks feel equally improvised but the first pulses with a synthetic instrumental intensity, while the second comes across more organic. There are sounds that mimic those of the electrical buzz and hum of fluorescent lights and distant wails of police sirens, ghostly voices and a growing, growling undercurrent like a field recording of an industrial construction site. It’s haunting stuff, more than bleak enough for the season of skeletal trees.