Posts Tagged ‘Eamon the Destroyer’

Bearsuit Records – 21st October 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

To recap on a long and often retold tale of mine: I love weird shit, but I’m not quite so mad keen on remixes – unless they’re inventive and interesting. So what to make of a remix album of Eamon the Destroyer’s A Small Blue Car?

When I reviewed the album on its release back in November of last year – which barely feels like three months ago, let Alone the best part of a year – I was perhaps ambiguous in my appreciation, describing it as ‘downbeat’, gloomy’, and ‘soporific’. It is very much all of these things, but these are reasons to appreciate this understated collection of songs, with their lo-fi bedroom production style being integral to the Eamon the Destroyer listening experience as he rasps away darkly to aa droning backdrop in a crackle of distortion

One frequent niggle with remix sets is the repetition, but here, only a handful of tracks appear twice, with three interpretations of ‘My Drive’, which is fair enough having been the lead single, and dispersed among sixteen tracks in total, it doesn’t feel like overkill.

The reimaginations of the original songs certainly capture their spirit and essence, from the stop/start glitchy gloopiness of the wandering Like this Parade remix of ‘Nothing Like Anything’ to the longer, more abstract reworkings, like the six-and-a-half-minute festival or reverb and cavernous slow-mo, downturned echo that is Société Cantine remix of ‘Tomahjawk Den’ that’s as experimental as you like and quite disturbing in places, to Michael Valentine West’s seven minute spin on ‘My Drive’, A Small Blue Car – Re-Made / Remodelled is the definition of eclecticism. There’s low-level pulsating electronica and swerves into electronic chamber pop, against ambient electro and scraping industrial noise.

Yponeko brings swirling synths and grating distortion together in a drowning space-rock drift, while MVW deconstructs ‘My Drive’ to a junkyard of spare parts that’s somehow elegant and delicate as well as a wheezing, droning hum that wheezes and groans.

There are no obvious rehashings here, no lazy no-effort remixes that do the usual thing of whacking a booming beat behind the original. In fact, there are absolutely no stonking beats, techno or disco remixes here: these are all most sensitive to the original intent. Sometimes there are beats – as on the thrumming Ememe remix of ‘Avalanche’, but it’s a stuttering wall of drilling noise, ploughing into a mess of glitching loops, a mangled cut-up collage of sound – and often there are not: The Moth Poet’s take on ‘Slow Motion Fade’ is nightmarishly dark, a whirling churn of sound, which drifts into sepulchral opera at the end

Across the course of the album, there’s a lot of cut-and-paste splicing galore, resulting in an ever-shifting sonic collage, and John 3:16 brings gloomy, stark industrial to ‘Humanity id Coming’. House of Tapes turn ‘My Drive’ into a throbbing grunge beast, with additional helium. It’s hard to imagine anything further removed from the original, and that includes Halai’s twisted tribal techno take on the same song.

Alongside one another, it should all amount to a horrible mess, but is, in fact, an absolute triumph, because this is exactly how it should be: Eamon the Destroyer’s original work was a kaleidoscope of darkly disorientating oddity, and this revisitation is more of the same, only different. It’s unlikely to land any spins in nightclubs across the land, and even less likely to find any of the tracks landing Radio 1 playlisting, and it’s even unlikely to win many new fans – but then again, Eamon’s acquired some admirably influential fans, and moreover, that’s not really the ambition for any artist releasing work through Bearsuit. And it’s so refreshing when so much emphasis is placed on not just sakes, but airplay, streams on Spotify, and likes and followers on various platforms, that there are still those who value artistic freedom and exploration above all else.

A Small Blue Car – Re-Made / Remodelled is a source of pleasure, not only because it’s genuinely interesting, but simply because it exists.



Bearsuit Records – 12th November 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

It’s unusual to open an album with a B-side from the lead single, but there’s nothing usual about Eamon the Destroyer or Bearsuit Records, and the scratchy soporific drone and distorted / filtered vocals of ‘Silver Shadow’ – which reference the ‘small blue car’ to which the album owes its name – makes for a worthy introduction by means of introverted minimalism. It’s largely representative of an album that’s slow sparse, minimal and somewhat lugubrious.

I take the nom de guerre Eamon the Destroyer ironically. That may be wrong, it may be some unpleasant prejudice, and if so, I do apologise. This isn’t a PC matter or issue. But names come with certain associations, and the connotations of Eamon aren’t particularly warlord, at least to my mind. No diss to any Eamons, but the name is about as warlord as Gavin, Kevin, or Craig. No doubt there are some brutal twats by the name of Kevin, but, well, y’know, it doesn’t evince fear. The concept of ‘the destroyer’ is one of something harsh, brutal, obliterative, too, but that also isn’t the case here. Consider Ah Puch the Destroyer, Mayan god of death and disaster whose coming would mark the end of days. There is nothing explosive or devastating about A Small Blue Car – it is not a violent sonic blast of earth-shattering, annihilative proportions, yet it does, strangely, evoke a sense of near-finality. There is an all-pervading sadness that hangs over the album’s entirety, a sadness that’s slow-creeping and heavy, like a weight that pulls you down, bending your back with the effort

‘Humanity is Coming’ is downbeat, gloomy, and things get particularly dark and dense on the short instrumental ‘The Conjuring Stops’, with a heavily phased synth yielding a pulsating throb in the style of Suicide. ‘The Avalanche’ also brings some weight, with lots of granular sounds and bolds bursts of sweeping synths in the choruses that contrast with the woozy drone and is perhaps how Leonard Cohen might have sounded in the early years of his career if he’s chosen Moods instead of an acoustic guitar. The end result, musically, is like Stereolab on Ketamine.

The slow rasp of single cut ‘My Drive’, with its whistle of feedback and detuned radio in the distance while the picked guitar – spacious and delicate – curls like smoke into the darkness, and it piles on the melancholy.

‘Uledaro’ follows, a dolorous jumble of discord. ‘Nothing Like Anything’ is conspicuous by its near-cheeriness ‘wake up / the sun is out / we’re almost home’, Eamon intones in a rare glimmer of optimism. There’s whistling and levity, and it’s almost, almost a pop song. But of course, it’s not. And perhaps it’s more me feeling autumnal, but the happiness only accentuates the sadness, as if the jollity is a mask to sorrow so inexplicably deep that it has to be covered up. The nights are dark, the world feels a very long way off and a long time ago. It’s time to hibernate, with A Small Blue Car for company.



Bearsuit Records – 25th June 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

Home of all things odd from Edinburgh and Japan, Bearsuit Records, has a new signing, in the form of Edinburgh-based singer/songwriter Eamon the Destroyer. Eamon also records as Annie & The Station Orchestra, and is one half of Edinburgh purveyors of noise Ageing Children, both of whom have received mentions here. If his name has the hallmarks of a mythical war deity or some evil comic book character, his music is altogether less megalomaniacally threatening. The press blub describes it as ‘lo-fi miserablism with a side order of noise / mumbling & whispering – or something’ – and on hearing these two tracks, which serve as a lead-in to Eamon’s debut album, A Small Blue Car – this vagueness makes perfect sense. And, of course, like most Bearsuit releases, it’s about the only thing that does.

It’s rather welcome to see a release that resembles a conventional A-side / B-side single release in 2021, and what’s noteworthy about this one is that the two tracks are actually quite similar, sonically and stylistically, leaving no confusion as to what the Destroyer’s sound is.

Against a minimalist backdrop of quite country guitars, the Destroyer croaks flatly about, well, what, I’m not entirely sure – every line seems to turn on a contradiction or some bathetic construction, like ‘Nobody knows it / well nobody ought to’. Instrumentally, it’s sparse and scratchy, and the vocals sound like they’re coming from a CB radio that’s only just tuned to the edge of the channel. But in the mix there’s a scrape and chatter of extraneous background noise and some cronky feedback, and around the mid-point of ‘My Drive’ it takes a massive left turn into altogether louder territory.

The whole vibe is downbeat and melancholy, and driving emerges as a theme in ‘Silver Shadow’, alongside some vague but wistful images that drift around in a wash of sad, Cure-esque synth and a crashing tide of distortion. It’s more mood-affecting than you would likely expect, and while very much appreciating the unusual mix, it left me feeling downcast and slightly sad, which is a clear indication that either I’m heading for a mood slump, or there’s more craftsmanship to Eamon’s songs than the surface suggests.