Ignore Grief by Xiu Xiu album review by Stephan Boissonneault for Northern Transmissions


Ignore Grief

Xiu Xiu

Xiu Xiu, the two decade old experimental noise project of Jamie Stewart—and for the last 10 years—Angela Seo, has always been a group that threw all convention out of the window. It’s the kind of band that you show to people when they say they love experimental music, and usually, their response is “what the hell is this?” I remember being introduced to the early record Knife Play and it opening a new world of chaos.

Xiu Xiu at times sounds like a passengerless airplane about to crash, as the buzzing and alarms sound before the impact. The latest album, Ignore Grief has pushed Xiu Xiu into even more opaque waters. It’s a series of darkened sonic vignettes, sometimes pure static noise or reverbeing vocals that allow you to only make out a few of the words.

For this album, Stewart and Seo grabbed David Kendrick (a drummer for Sparks and Devo) for the auxiliary percussion. The result is definitely a mixed bag. Ignore Grief is apparently a pastiche of stories about abuse, mental dysmorphia, suicide, with the noise acting as an underbelly of current to push the themes forward. I can tell you that 15 minutes into listening, you won’t get that sense. The songs are bleak and gothic tinged yes, but there’s so much wacky noise going on, that all meaning is kind of lost.

There are a few tracks like “Maybae Baeby” or “Tarsier, Tarsier, Tarsier, Tarsier,” that keep your attention, the latter being more of ambient drone with the odd vocal outburst. Stewarts lyrics are much more theatrical than Seo’s whisper spoken word, but again, there’s usually too much to really appreciate what is going on. The industrial mark of “Border Factory” is also a top moment on the album, but unless you really love noise music, it will probably lose you. The strings in “Dracula Parrot, Moon Moth,” are also a soundscape marvel, but the rest of the song sounds like cathartic ramblings of the singer and not much for the listener.

I really thought I knew what experimental noise was, and I think I still have some semblance of it, but Xiu Xiu’s Ignore Grief is too out there for more than one listen in my honest opinion.

Maybe that’s the point. To convey what you can really record and call music. If the band wanted to make an album that feels and sounds like a nightmare, I’d say they succeeded, but who among us wants to constantly revisit our nightmares?

purchase Ignore Grief by Xiu Xiu HERE


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