25 Mar

It’s not impossible to separate the White Hills from the Black Tempest, even while it’s unclear how they’ve been sonically stitched together. Yet while the optics can portray the two as very, very different, we’ve come to view the two as something very, very much the same – both producing inspired and unrestrained art, the sonic end-results of individualism.

Songs of individuals, songs of everything. White and black, loud and quiet, cacophony and harmony, many, few, one – all elements are decidedly in play throughout the sounds of White Hills and Black Tempest alike.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPad App

For their part, the continuing mental map-making made in the music of White Hills has long been part of our DNA. Yet with every new elevation explored – in this case, the fully-cooked, full-color cosmic collision that is the recently unleashed LP “Frying On This Rock” – the overall perspective only widens. The consistent (we’re tempted to say unstoppable), colossal and creative nature of White Hills’ rapid recording reveals a permanent place in our atom-heart, mother.

Why? Two words – “hypnotic mantra.”

Words clearly fail us in the attempt to describe the much vaunted and legitimately lunatic sonic space savagery conjured up by White Hills – or more specifically, guitar-god Dave W. and bass-divinity Ego Sensation, an evolving cast of characters, and what we assume is a collection of effects pedals covertly funded by the CIA. Yet as explosive as “Frying On This Rock” is – and let there be no doubt for the faint of heart … it IS – it’s the words inside their high-flying frying pan that are resonating throughout these White Hills, throughout the valleys previously forged.

Download “Pads of Light” by White Hills, from “Frying On This Rock”

The hypnotic mantra … heard only a blink of an eye ago on “Three Quarters,” from the self-titled silver-machine … “on and on.”

The hypnotic mantra … heard with speed-of-light immediacy soon after, throughout the stark, black-and-white bombast of “Hp-1” … “now is the time, sound the cry.”

The hypnotic mantra … heard and felt on “Frying On This Rock,” through the acrid haze of nerve-singing rocket fuel, which ends with the Galactus-sized “I Wrote a Thousand Letters (Pulp on Bone).” It’s an appropriate, false-finality to a ride that continues, a new hypnotic mantra surely on the White Hills horizon, a thousand more letters certain to be written, more amplifier-frying to be recorded.

We’ve never had the words to describe White Hills, but it took this “Rock” to make it clear that they do, and it’s written in their bones.

Where White Hills make no bones about taking flight with the assistance of a Hawkwind, it’s another wind altogether that levitates Black Tempest‘s songs of everything.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPad App

Much different than – while exactly the same as – White Hills, the hypnotic mantra created by Black Tempest throughout the truly towering “Proxima” goes by wordlessly (which cannot be said for its companion, the equally astounding, and at times Albert Ayler-ly, “Ex-Proxima“). Yet just like – although much differently than – White Hills, the music speaks volumes, returning volumes of sound, while into the blackness of this tempest we drown.

Download “Wind On Ice” by Black Tempest, from “Ex-Proxima”

It might seem easy to drown in the music and output of Black Tempest, and we’ve only recently begun to explore the altitude and amplitude produced via the cosmic map, starting with the treasure recently supplied by the Fruits De Mar “Head Music” compilation, a stunning collection that recently gave reason to howl at the moon electric. Within, we found Black Tempest gliding gracefully through “Bayreuth Return,” a track by kosmische pioneer par-excellence and antecedent synth-sorceror, Klause Schulze.

We’ll resist the time machine necessary to create a drone of our own, about the time, twenty-plus years prior to today, a good friend recommended by way of insistence that we purchase a used album called “Timewind” by Klause Schulze. We’ll resist also detailing how that single act of intermingled cosmos and commerce was in its way directly responsible for us writing about Black Tempest today (or at least, fueling our own explorations of the music kosmische, kooky and killer, often all at once).

We’ll also resist, surprisingly, being long-winded in our recommendation of a headlong dive into the time-wind generated by the Black Tempest. So perfect do we find the lift of “Proxima” – a lift fueled by white and black, loud and quiet, cacophony and harmony, many, few, one. In this case the one is Stephen Bradbury, the individual behind the Black Tempest nom-de-synth-sorcery, operating in a sonic laboratory of his own creation.

Thankfully, the inventions of this individual are indivisible from the collective reception of the whole. And in this case exactly, precisely like White Hills, we anxiously and patiently await receipt of the next transmission, the next song of everything, fueled by individuals.

White Hills

Black Tempest

“It is not by wearing down into uniformity all that is individual in themselves, but by cultivating it and calling it forth … that human beings become a noble and beautiful object of contemplation … and whatever crushes individuality is despotism, by whatever name it may be called and whether it professes to be enforcing the will of God or the injunctions of men.” – John Stuart “Motorik” Mill, “Of Individuality” 




  1. ECHOES WEST (L.A.) + PSYCHEDELIC LIGHT AND SOUND (ATX) + WHITE HILLS (RVA) « Revolt of the Apes - August 31, 2012

    […] love of White Hills is well-established and we don’t feel even slightly hyperbolic saying there’s not a better live band on the […]

  2. BLACK TEMPEST « Revolt of the Apes - September 18, 2012

    […] saw known as “linear time,” we can see that not a great deal of time has passed since we first found ourselves in the orbit of Black Tempest. But then, we didn’t need much time to become enthralled by the […]

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