In the years since the breakup of hallowed noise duo Yellow Swans, Pete Swanson’s solo efforts have taken him toward the dancefloor. That’s not to say that Yellow Swans never indulged in a beat or two, but their most beloved records functioned more as disfigured twin meanderings to Tim Hecker’s washes of noise than anything resembling more traditional electronic forms. But Man With Authority, as well as a couple of preceding splits and EPs, changed all that. Swanson took the textures he developed through years of more outré explorations of the cosmos and grounded them firmly in techno conventions. Distorted bass bursts tear seams in four on the floor kicks.
He’s continued mostly in the same vein with a subsequent EP, but with “Life Ends at 30” he’s issued his treatise on the brand of noisy techno that he’s been developing for the last several years. Unlike many of his previous tracks “Life Ends at 30” launches into its 13-minute runtime making no apologies, this the dark dub of Vatican Shadow fed through horribly blown out speakers. Waves of noise become indistinguishable from one another, and the whole track is turned on its head, the insistent pulse of the bass drum keeping it all from going too far away. Holly Herndon made reference in an interview to the idea that as long as you tie your experimentation down to a familiar human rhythm, you can get away with pretty much whatever you want, and Swanson exploits that idea to its fullest potential. He stacks harsher and harsher samples upon one another, twisting and tweaking and inverting, but all for that underpinning of the kick drum, the track never feels too far from comfort. This may sound like some bumblebee-laden hell, but Swanson’s sure to remind you–through the subtle presence of the kick–that the dancefloor is never too far away.