Review: Blackfire - "Too Late"

Blackfire - Too Late
(Mistake By The Lake 2014)

When it comes to noise music, for me, less is more, and it doesn't get much more minimal than Too Late, the newest vinyl release via Cleveland, Ohio's Mistake By The Lake label. It's a single-sided lathe cut record, containing a lone 12 minute composition by Blackfire, the collaborative force of Wyatt Howland, (better known for his murky, yet trenchant, work as Skin Graft), and Andrew Kirschner, the label's owner and a prolific noisemaker in his own right with a deep back catalog of claustrophobic, sputtering transmissions that sound as if they had barely been intercepted by a walkie-talkie, a sound that is alien, unsettling. Together, their new Blackfire venture is expressionist at heart, forgoing the brute, instant gratification of harshness for a narrative-driven construction. Too Late is quiet, but layered, intensely so. Its krautrock-like percussion, stark and repetitive, rolls along, collecting grime as if a lint roller. As the title implies, Too Late illustrates the bottled-up frustration and guilt one feels after failing to live up to a responsibility. It growls rhythmically, lurching like an upset stomach. Deep in the background of the piece, a thin, barely audible sonorous beam of high-pitched noise gasps for breath, shifting the record's mood from sinister to somber. Too Late reminds me of the locked groove at the end of Godspeed You Black Emperor's F#A#Infinity: a minimal loop that is extremely unobtrusive, but also very moving.