Reviews for Experiments in Feedback...
Without question one of the biggest surprises of the year. Porn have created an ambitious cd that straddles the line between drone and heavysludge/riff rock. Listing the members former bands gives more than just an inkling of their sound as they are comprised of former members of: Ritual Device, Buzzov.en, Acid King, Swans and El Dopa. Kicking things off is a marvelous cover of Pink Floyd's "One Of These Days". They dispense with the minimal vocals and give the Melvins version a run for its money.
After that the album alternates between songs and feedback dronescapes. "Capp Street" is an endearing sludge rock number about the infamous San Francisco street where prostitutes sell their wares. "Feedback II" is the first of the drones, and is just a quick (2 minute) sample of what's to come. Then the first of THREE (!!!) versions of Motorhead's "I'll Be Your Sister" appears, entitled the "Valium Mix". Fans of Sons of Otis will love this one. Why did they do three versions? They felt like it. Why did all three appear on record? They couldn't decide which one they liked best. Why did they pick such a bizarre Motorhead song (what was Lemmy thinking when he wrote those lyrics...)? Who knows? Obviously, Porn are playing by their own rules.
"Feedback IV" is next and is a slowly building number that is almost recognizable as a "song" but never quite breaks out into structure or melody. "Outta Site" cranks up the tempo considerably to what sounds a bit like a sludge cover of a Gang Green song. The second version of "I'll Be Your Sister" appears next and is very noisy and spacy. And I mean spacy as in space-rock. Lemmy's roots. Hawkwind doing Motorhead? Let's do that time warp again! "Feedback VII" is the most high pitched and unsettling of these pieces and leads into the final version of "...Sister" called the "Nod Mix". This version is the heaviest and straightest of the three and features some of the most crushing slide guitar the I've heard. Highly distorted vocals render it virtually unrecognizable, which after two previous versions is a good thing. The album closer is "Loop" is a 14 minute magnum opus (I say that with tongue firmly in cheek) of repetitive feedback that is actually one 15 second long piece of "music" that is looped over and over and over... something like a locked groove on a record. You are unlikely sit through it unless incapacitated by heavy drugs. Which, come to think of it, might be the point of the wholerecord
Walter HoeijmakersNovember, 2001
In the 60-minute Experiments in Feedback, we hear Porn's ambitious attempt to enter the realm of the avant-garde. Recorded during the winter 2000, band members Tim Moss, Brian Hill, Joe Goldring, and Sean Tyler embarked on a personal odyssey to "journey through the light and dark of sound, the answer and response to the very soul of music." The result is a boring melange of feedback, distortion, and poor Motorhead covers. Still, the album has its moments. The 12-minute opening track (Pink Floyd's "One of These Days") is a trance inducing psychedelic wonder guaranteed to dilate your pupils. "Outta Site," a raging guitar rock frenzy reminiscent of early Sub Pop recordings, is perfect for high-octane street-corner drag racing. Unfortunately, whatever the band has going for them is soiled by Moss's vocals. Although a noble attempt, "Experiments in Feedback" ultimately falls short."
Reason to Buy: At least you're not spending your money on crack.
Best Listening Experience: "One of These Days" and "Outta Site.
Ryan BartekOctober, 2001
Why this 10-track, 60+ minute mind-melting behemoth is labeled an EP is something which escapes me. I donĂt confuse terribly easily, but I suppose mental confusion is damn near a guaranteed by-product of heavy exposure to the monstrosity that is Experiments in Feedback.
Heavy, noisy, experimental. Those are the three words youĂre bound to hear whenever this CD is mentioned, so letĂs get them out of the way now. Yes, this band and this CD are all three of those things, but letĂs not confuse them with the others who are squatting on this same bombed-out piece of terrain. Neither as doomy as fellow ManĂs Ruin (RIP) alums Acid King nor as maddening as the Melvins at their most, uh, maddening, Porn manage to retain the punishing heaviness youĂd expect from a glance at the membersĂ resumes (Swans and Buzzoven, among others) while sidestepping any of the nasty after-effects associated with those bands.
There are moments of artiness, sure; take, for instance, the aptly-titled closer ˘Loop,÷ which consists entirely of 18 seconds of feedback looped for 14 minutes, and the three tracks simply labeled "Feedback." There are also three (count 'em) versions of Motorhead's "I'll Be Your Sister"; one's a thumping punkish raver, and the other two are swirling, sopor-fueled gusts of sluggishness that curlicue off into nothing. And there's a harsh 12-minute version of Pink Floyd's "One of These Days" that'll have your head swimming by the halfway mark.
So I guess it sounds pretty artsy-fartsy after all, huh? WeeeelllllÓ.I suppose so, but not enough to ruin any fun to be had. There are some tough moments, but it's not the brutal self-punishment that trying to play an entire Earth CD is. What Experiments in Feedback reminds me of more than anything is prime-era Butthole Surfers. Porn isn't nearly as psychedelic or insane as the Buttholes, but there's something about the grungy grinding that brings to mind "22 Going on 23," Locust Abortion Technician's awe inspiring closer. And, provided you don't have to share a bathroom with them, the Buttholes are some pretty good neighbors.
Brain VarneyOctober, 2001