In further Skinny Puppy related news, a new album has been released by collaborators of Skinny Puppy musician cEvin Key, titled Beehatch. “Brood” is the second album by Beehatch, a term that Urban Dictionary tells me is a disrespectful slur aimed at a woman and her vagina. I suspect largely because it sounds like Too Short’s “Beeyotch”, but I’ve never heard “beehatch” used by an actual human being before. What ever the case, Beehatch is comprised of Download veterans Mark Spybey and Phil Western. The first Beehatch album never made it on my radar, which is unfortunate since I have always been a big fan of Mark Spybey’s work. “Brood” certainly has Spybey written all over it, with otherworldly sonic experimentations entwined with the occasional vocal track and some minimal techno electronic work.
For anyone unfamiliar with Mark Spybey, he was a member of the Skinny Puppy side project Download, which released its first album “Furnace” in 1995. Spybey contributed to “Furnace” and “The Eyes of Stanley Payne”. Spybey also was a contributor to legendary experimental ambient group Zoviet France, and the leader of his own group Dead Voices on Air. Spybey has contributed to a wide variety of other projects, and collaborated with a seemingly endless number of notable underground musicians. Spybey’s work definitely has a signature sound, though it is often difficult to pin point why since it is simply otherworldly. Spybey uses improvised and invented instruments with a variety of interesting effects to create the bulk of his work.
Western is a long time contributor to Download. I am not familiar with much of his other work, what bit I have listened to seemed a little too “Techno” for my tastes, and later Download (everything after III) simply didn’t do much for me.
So, my assumption here is that a lot of the minimal techno on this album is Western and the otherworldly strangeness is Spybey or both of them. The very noticeable electronic music mixed within is simple 4/4 drum patterns coupled with long filter sweeps, a basic combination I haven’t much enjoyed since about 1996. The overall production is top notch, the sounds are all brilliantly distinct and mesmerizing. Occasionally some ethereal female vocals float into the mix, swirling and dancing with the sonic surrealism the pair has concocted.
The minimal techno work does not, in any way, interfere with the music. In some cases, it adds a bit of gravity to the music, which often gets so strange and hypnotic it almost needs something to pull you back down from the sky. Some may see this as interfering, and while I don’t really care for these minimal beats, I do think it accentuates instead of hinders. A lot of the beautiful sides of the music are composed with slowly plucked sting instruments, and highly organic textures. The music is definitely slow and progresses from piece to piece with a very careful deliberateness.
Despite these gentlemen being from Download, I am not sure I would compare this to Download in any serious way. However, this is definitely a very notable Spybey release, so any fans of his previous output will enjoy this. Anyone else interested in unusual soundscape material ought to give Beehatch a listen.