Bob Bellerue’s new double-LP, “Music of Liberation,” is a careful and intricate album of textured drone and shapely noise. Like the greatest works by post-industrial masters David Jackman (Organum) and Steven Stapleton (Nurse With Wound), its power lies not in harshness, but in dynamic spectral intensity. These are minutely composed pieces with very great attention paid to timbral details and variances.
Through the last few years, Bellerue has released a series of highly acclaimed long-form classics of tactile noise, including 2014’s “Hollow Body” (Los Discos Enfantasmes), 2015’s “Damned Piano” (Anarchymoon Recordings), and 2017’s “Yamaha Deluxe” (iDEAL Recordings). These are in addition to more concise releases for labels like No Rent, Banned Production, Phage Tapes, and others, issued in a lava-like flow since the start of the millennium. And with “Music of Liberation,” Bellerue’s singular brand of volcanic aesthetics has reached a point of near-Hellenic refinement. The four pieces here are controlled eruptions, seeping slowly with the force of geologic synthesis.
There is a subtle poignancy at work here too: “Music of Liberation” is dedicated to Bellerue’s friend and collaborator, Z’EV, who passed away during the final stages of finishing the double album. The late experimental percussionist/sound artist shared a certain sensibility and approach with Bellerue, as both artists have a longstanding interest in the power of metallic resonance, poetic dissonance, and composition in-situ.
“Music of Liberation” (née “Música de Libertação”) was recorded in April 2016 at Sonoscopia (Porto, Portugal), in a raw session balancing drone feedback states with instrumental and vocal elements. The session was made possible through a variety of borrowed equipment and instruments (acoustic bass, shruti box, bowed gongs), which led to techniques and content which diverge from Bellerue’s canon of work with surprising melodic moments. The unfamiliar instruments lent an inscrutable, organic quality to Bellerue’s emotionally charged metallurgy. To bring out more full-spectrum sound, the recordings were played back in the old marble and plaster cavern of Issue Project Room in Brooklyn (where Bellerue works), to harness the resonant acoustics and add depth and dimension to the mono source recording.
In Bellerue’s realm, volatility frequently gives way to passages of sustained beauty, compelling all those journeying with him from instability to lucidity; from repression to liberation.
“In the realm of noise and experimental music, Bob Bellerue elevates his recordings beyond the mere level of harshness into three-dimensional soundscapes that can be felt as well as heard.”
– Chuck Foster, The Big Takeover