Set Self On Fire

Album Title: 
To Bathe In Embers
Release Date: 
Tuesday, September 8, 2015
Review Type: 

"The world is a mess. and what's worse is that to a certain extent society would have us be complacent of this fact. However, it is up to us that are aware to stand up and say something in protest against the madness. In that spirit Set Self On Fire is the musical equivalent of self-immolation."

Most Noise-projects are one-(wo)man bands or, once in a while, a duo. Sometimes however a gathering of people results in a Noise-outfit, and such example is this one: Set Self On Fire, consisting of four human individuals (Ben LaMar Gay - vocals, cornet, Reid Karris - guitars, Brendan McAlinden - drums, and Daniel Van Dürn - synths – think AACM, Chicago Scratch Orchestra or Articular Facet, in case you’re trusted with this…). For their debut recording, they signed to Lurker Bias, hailing too from the city of Chicago, and about to become one of the most prominent labels when it comes to Noise in many aspects.

In contradiction to many (most) projects on Lurker Bias, Set Self On Fire do not perform Harsh Noise or Noise Wall, yet rather a psychedelic (read: psychotic) form of free-impro experimentation. Walls of ambient drones get penetrated by excerpts of Jazz, and once in a while I do even detect fragments of Funk. Layers of self-created Music and samples are mingled into a well-structured cacophony of sonic improvisation, with drones and noises joining forces with ‘real’ instruments (percussion, organ, synth loops, wordless voices and so on). The four compositions on To Bathe In Embers are like an aural experiment, exploring dimensions unheard before, in order to canalise those into strange and unusual yet brave and enthralling creations of sound. A composition (I can’t call it a ‘song’, you see) like Wet & Dry stands for a righteous definition of this band’s constructive mixture of improvised Noise / industrial at the one hand, and free-style Jazz at the other. It’s like a David Lynch soundtrack deconstructed / reconstructed on acid in order to pay tribute to Chaos. With a piece like Bonzou Set Self On Fire even explore dimensions of transcendental ambience, to my opinion. Damn yeah, why not to consider this stuff as a musical equivalent for self-immolation (hehe, I admit, it’s partly stolen – see introduction)…