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Drew McDowall and Hiro Kone - The Ghost of Georges Bataille

Both Drew McDowall and Hiro Kone aka Nicky Mao have been at the forefront of New York's experimental electronic scene. Drawing on his past as a member of Coil, Drew McDowall reshaped industrial clink and clang with modular synth based abstract explorations on his most recent release Unnatural Channel, while Hiro Kone on her politically charged debut album Love Is The Capital moved from ambient electronics to experimental techno with a greater emphasis on melody and rhythm. The Ghost of Georges Bataille represents their first full collaboration between the duo who have performed live sets together and guested on each others releases. Conceived and recorded during a week long residency in Palenville in upstate New York, the collaboration is described as inducing "a state of suspense via sonic seance. Conjuring the sentiment of death as productive force". Like (Chris) Carter (and Cosey Fanni) Tutti's collaboration with Nik Void on Transverse, The Ghost of Georges Bataille is a perfectly balanced collaboration where the artists communicate seamlessly merging the styles of both artists to great effect while summoning a third mind which could be Bataille or another invisible force.

The Ghost of Georges Bataille opens to the slumberous wave forms of 'Barely Awake' which yield to generate sonorous pulsations edging forwards in patterns of arching modulations punctuated by throbbing stabs and flurries of rhythm and metallic clicks ebbing out on sound shifts and drone. This atmospheric opener creates a state of suspense from which we slip further into the ominous drones of 'Dreaming Is Nursed In Darkness'. Sinking deeper with tapping tones, riddled with processed ghostlike voices, like the sidereal and alien entities that inhabited the Coil projects ElpH and Black Light District it's clear that we've awakened the spirit presence of Bataille. Quickened metallic taps and mind bending choppy rhythmic electronics evolve into shaped and misshaped modular sounds, expiring in a flutter of shivery processed chatter. Drew McDowall and Hiro Kone create such a synergy it's difficult, despite the Coil influence on the processed voices, to work out who does what on the sound abstractions. It is perhaps, on the following two tracks on the flip that the influence of each artist begins to reveals itself.

The industrial percussive clamour that permeated Drew McDowall's Unnatural Channel rings out on 'Bright Kiss Of Fire' but here their appearance is distant, dank and somewhat quietly subdued. The hollow pluck of a string instrument chimes melodically against scratchy textured electronics and ecstatic modular tones, as gentle pulsations morph into choppy, electronic sequences overlaid with floating melodic synths, highlighting the involvement of Hiro Kone.

Swelling from a melange of shifting drones and ringing pulse tones, 'Violence's Detour', the final and longest track, is offset and gradually subsumed by a shadowy, shimmering drone, as slow techno beats coalesce around a slow rising solemn synth sound laced with modular judders and electro sequences. It's probably the most instant and accessible of the four tracks, partly due to the rhythm and partly as the graceful synth rise and vocal processing is reminiscent of the Threshold HouseBoys Choir and some of Coil's posthumous work. For some reason Bank Records according to their promotional notes have determined that The Ghost of Georges Bataille is not for the casual listener.

Drew McDowall has revelled in decay, derangement and disintegration on his solo releases, while Hiro Kone has offered a more accessible beat oriented approach on Love Is The Capital, The Ghost of Georges Bataille brings out the best of them on this collaborative release. So I'd argue that this short collaboration of some 26 minutes moving from the dank abstract explorations of the opener to the cathartic beat ridden synth heavy evolutions of the final piece is perfectly set as a worthwhile port of entry for the casual listener. There's such a synergy between these two New York musicians that further releases are destined to happen and I can't wait as between them they're taking electronic experimentalism into new areas. In the meantime be sure to check out The Ghost of Georges Bataille which is released on vinyl (the limited red edition already long sold-out) and as a download as it comes highly recommended to the initiated and to the casual listener. For more information go to BANK Records NYC