RECEIVE THE FLAME
ALBUM MUTE, PLAYGROUND RELEASE: DECEMBER 6, 1999 REVIEW: JANUARY 10, 2000
I think I’m learning to like Boyd Rice. I’ve always known him to be capable of truly exceptional music and true beauty, but neither of his last three albums ”In the Shadow of the Sword”, ”Might” and ”God & Beast” saw him reaching his full potential.
That’s no wonder, considering the time he has been spending on his various other projects. Whatever Mr Rice wants to do, he does. Some of you may have read about the rather extreme pranks he pulled on an unsuspecting society in his youth. Lately he has been acting in films (as a hit-man, of course…), written books, presented eccentric artists, done photography (fetish, S/M) and of course recorded with friends like Rose McDowall.
The first spark of Rice’s new inspiration seems to have been the soundtrack music to Allison Anders film ”Pearls Before Swine”. An excerpt of the music appears on World Serpent’s 1997 collection album ”Terra Serpentis” and this funky deranged monster jazz tune is simply irresistible.
On ”Receive the Flame” Rice has retained the organic quality of the soundtrack, even if noise is the prevalent ingredient on the record. But this time it is a warm noise, kind of washing through your aural faculties and cleaning them out. Non’s repetitive, offensive musical technique seems to be working this time; it pulls you into another world, creates new thoughts and leaves you changed. The noise is inviting as well as repulsive, which makes for fascinating listening. If you want to give noise music a chance, this might just be the record for it.
As opposed to earlier Non records, drums have been left out of the picture as well as vocals, which removes the last obstacles for being totally immersed in the dronewaves of sound and noise constantly balancing between beauty and ugliness. Also, ”Receive the Flame” isn’t burdened with theoretical concepts like ”Might”. It is simply about fire, and like fire. Beautiful but lethal, a good servant but a dangerous lord, cleansing and destroying.