Sunday, February 04, 2007
Xiu Xiu vs Grouper
Through a particularly masterful slight of hand, the beloved rabble-rousers in Xiu Xiu have somehow convinced most of the world that theirs is a vision chiefly of bombast--of over-driven drum patches, caterwaul, and open-wristed scare tactics. The truth of the matter, of course, is that the bombast is really only half of the story. And what makes Xiu Xiu so special isn't Jamie Stewart's sonic sadism so much as his subtlety--an obsessive attention to every detail buried in his band's overwhelming squall.
The fifth artist commissioned in States Rights Records and Slender Means Society's Pregnancy Series, Stewart enlisted masterful manipulators of ethereal noise Grouper (Portland's Liz Harris) in a collaboration exploring both artists' subtle sides. The resulting EP is Creepshow--an ambient exploration into the power of silence and restraint. Sharing a childhood trauma at the hands of a certain popular horror film from the 1970s, Xiu vs. Gru took this as a mutual launchpad to delve into the darker corners of quiet. The results are breathtaking.