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BRIDGET HAYDEN – The Night’s Veins (CD, self-released)

Posted: April 15th, 2007, by Simon Minter

This five-track, 36-minute collection from Vibracathedral Orchestra’s Bridget Hayden is something of an aural companion to the scrawled, handmade dream diaries to be found on her website. It’s random, messy and hints at hidden messages and meanings behind a childlike scribble of ideas.

‘My steel game’ opens proceedings like a distorted, spliced-up blues jam – subtly-treated stabs of fretboard exploration butting up against fuzzy, wandering low-register notes, before opening out into layers of drone and broken-up noise. The effect is disorienting, especially when the first snippets of speeded-up tape (later to return throughout the CD) are thrown into the mix. ‘They’ve sent me to a trust Assylum’ is more of the same, albeit in a heavier, more aggressive-sounding form, with thick slabs of fuzztone and screech underpinning the sound.

‘Your heart is your thumb’s usher’ switches mood to something akin to the Eraserhead soundtrack – odd, humanistic wails and childlike melodies floating above smeared, distorted sheets of sound. It segues into ‘Cracked open’, which is a lighter, super-high-tone take on the same components, before abruptly turning into the nineteen-minute finisher ‘Do I have to speak in heat?’. This final piece takes its time to grow, beginning with eight minutes of churning, low-key feedback and echo before drifting off into a stack of speaker hums, tones and supernatural voices before gradually eating itself into a dense finishing point, reintroducing the tape snippets from earlier on and ultimately dissolving into a mess of guitar.

This is pretty opaque stuff – there’s not much in the way of melody, strict rhythm or convention to guide the listener along. However, the intimacy of the home recordings, reflected in the homemade tissue paper and paint envelope it’s packaged in, is charming and intriguing. As an exercise in feedback and guitar manipulation, or perhaps the earlier-mentioned aural manifestation of dreams, it’s very effective.

Bridget Hayden
Buy the CD at Volcanic Tongue

Simon Minter

Simon joined diskant after falling on his head from a great height. A diskant legend in his own lifetime Simon has risen up the ranks through a mixture of foolhardiness and wit. When not breaking musical barriers with top pop combo Sunnyvale Noise Sub-element or releasing records in preposterously exciting packaging he relaxes by looking like Steve Albini.


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