Long operating @ the fringes, of all Boston scenes seemingly, are the Boston/ Cambridge unit known as DEATH SHEPHERD. What I know of the musical past of this mysterious electronic entity has faded from my memory, offering only a tattered and static filled present, and hopefully future between myself and sound these manipulators (they’re also known to make some amazing visuals as noted HERE and HERE previously on the Hassle). Always bringing myself into the equation dammit!
In the past we’ve heard some serious rhythmic noise from DEATH SHEPHERD. Electronic dance music elements have hovered around them, industrial sounds, and plenty of sonic squelch have just about rounded out their often writhing mixture. They’ve recently dispatched their first publicly released recordings in quite some time, and the sounds involved have been given the name SLOW MOE AND THE DEAD SHEMP. Alternate reality THREE STOOGES fantasy, OR IS IT?
Over the course of 5 tracks, several clocking in @ over 6 minutes, DEATH SHEPHERD creates a dense, noisy electronic landscape. More ambient sections stretch out and expand. Synthesizers are in heavy use, employed texturally at times, and in other instances given free reign to produce lumbering melody. This new DEATH SHEPHERD album is a more expansive affair than previous efforts had prepared me for. This is deeply experimental, form eschewing electronic music.. Static filled, drone inclusive, rhythmic in unexpected ways. “Righteous Mound” is one of SLOW MOE AND THE DEAD SHEMP’s shorter tracks @ around 4.5 minutes. AM radio interferes at the beginning of these proceedings, as it does in a number of places throughout the the album. Noise rescues us from that appalling hell eventually however, stuttering its way sharply toward one of the more rhythmic passages to be found on SLOW MOE… Static piles up and is knocked aside by more and different static, vibrating buzz and out of control electronic drum patterns spiraling skyward, ever closer to a finally purging release unto… outer space? Hard to say, but the next track “Cold” certainly gives off a cosmic vibe. I’d like to hear this exploratory group get a grip on some hardier bass sounds, otherwise their grip is on me, via their willingness to explore and bring together a vast array of different approaches to making electronic music & noise. I’m hoping I get a chance to see what these guys can do live pretty soon. It’s been a while. Too long.