Savages & Bo Ningen: Words for the Blind (Stolen/ Pop Noire) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Savages & Bo Ningen

Words for the Blind

Stolen/ Pop Noire

Nov 18, 2014 Savages & Bo Ningen Bookmark and Share

The video trailers for Words for the Blind capture a commanding and ethereal performance from two of the most innovative bands performing today: dressed in black, in a black room, and surrounded by white light and haze. The videos are a blunt experiment based in surrealism and Dada, with the bands set up in a U-shaped pattern and the audience standing in the middle. The recording creates a facsimile of that configuration by broadcasting Bo Ningen from the left channel, Savages from the right. Without the dramatic delivery of a live setting, however, this collaboration between Savages and Bo Ningen loses much of its force.

Described by Savages’ Gemma Thompson as a “sonic simultaneous poem,” the 37-minute piece progresses through five distinct movements before a powerful maelstrom caps it off. Whispers in French and Japanese slowly filter in, used as a specter of instrumentation in the background. As the song coalesces around the 12-minute mark, superb stumbling drum syncopation leads the musicians into a building jam. Savages singer Jehnny Beth then leads the group through a bass riff-heavy passage before her chanted lyrics pass the lead to Bo Ningen’s Taigen Kawabe, who lets his airy vocals take the combined band on an extended and dramatic fade out. Those familiar with his band’s output know his alternating vicious bark and soaring delivery; this is a decided vocal choice fitting Words for the Blind.

The collaboration definitely works and must have been a thrilling beast to see performed live. It’s a tense, fierce, relentless piece that delivers sections of quiet space, brutal groove, and beautiful cacophony. But, like looking at a sculpture online or watching a prerecorded broadcast of a play, the element of danger and excitement is lost without the heat, sweat, and movement of a live performance. ( /

Author rating: 5/10

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