It’s that bloke, the guitarist from SWANS. Yep, here’s Norman Westberg’s solo work and he has been a prolific contributor to various projects over the years; from film appearances to bands Five Dollar Priest and The Heroine Sheiks. On 13, Westberg manipulates his guitar through a series of effects giving them reverb and delay galore. It’s a minimalist, often unsettling sound which is generated, but always enthralling and transportative.
Previously only available in an edition of 75, Room40 release this in a re-mastered edition.
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- 13 by Norman Westberg
7/10 Jim Staff review, 16 November 2015
Norman Westberg is best known for his guitar work with Swans; his charismatic serpentine presence, curved tall and thin as he sways over his guitar, will be familiar to fans of the band. Sticking with Gira and co. through thick and thin, through styles ranging from the hellish atonality and brutal physicality of the early years to the sprawling arrangements of interwoven textures and interlocking melodies of the last fifteen years or so, this solo recording sees him in minimalist, cinematic drone mode.
The first of the three tracks here, ‘Frostbite Falls’, starts with a deep, menacing drone that forms the base for the melancholic and sparse, cello-like phrases that Westberg wrings from his guitar and effects rig. It’s terse and intensely atmospheric and paves the way for ‘Bunny Bill’, which starts of with a similarly moody drone but slowly develops a more serene tonality. The final track, ‘Oops, Wrong Hat’, is probably the most developed melodically, with some gorgeous delayed lines peeling off into the distance, tracing shapes like hills disappearing in mist. Amazing how such an understated approached can yield such epic results.
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