Quttinirpaaq – No Visitors

Posted by on August 26, 2013


In the fine Texan tradition of psych-noise-surrealism (think Butthole Surfers, Pain Teens et al.), this pronunciation-challenging LP is an absolute beast of a record (the band is named for Quttinirpaaq, a polar desert in far northern Canada and the northernmost protected park area in the world), a monolithic journey into heavy sonic riffage and oppressively ominous textures. Taking its cues predominantly from the industrial and noise realms, it is clearly the product of an experienced crew of listeners who have been able to not just accumulate influences but absorb them deeply into the bloodstream. Lysergically sprawling kraut-like noisescapes are married with doomy rhythms to perfect effect and, while there are vocals (particularly on the dirge parade of side one’s “Ex-Batts”), they rarely take center stage amidst the chaos. Instead, it’s the pummelling bass lines and hypnotic drums that provide the hook for all of the noise to hang on and consequently to pull listeners in.

Each second of this record jumps straight from the turntable in gloriously loud fashion, achieving the same visceral punch of the best Swans material. And perhaps even best of all, it’s brilliantly sequenced, with longer droned out noise jams leavened with shorter interludes and textural explorations that even include referents to minimal techno, albeit of the darker TG-inspired variety. The vast range of approaches on display here works wonders, and creates an album that is best experienced on vinyl and in concentrated, focused listening. This is charred, intense, and trippy music that classic-era Gibby and crew would have been proud to call their own. Apparently there’s a long history behind this group, which comes as no surprise as this is leagues beyond the work of neophytes. Let’s hope this LP gets the attention it deserves and also scrapes up some interest in the lost Texan sounds of weirdness that have come before it. A compilation of early material in this vein would be killer, but in the meantime this has gotta be the heavy sludge/doom/noise/psych record of the year.