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splendid > reviews > 12/15/2005
Double Leopards
Double Leopards
A Hole is True
Troubleman Unlimited


Format Reviewed: CD

Soundclip: "Chemical Wedding"

Buy me now
Double Leopards are a big name in the new noise underground, but most people probably haven't heard them -- though not for lack of trying. Tracking down the NYC-based act's early, hyper-limited CDR, LP and cassette releases would take infinite patience, not to mention a well-funded PayPal account. Live shows are almost as elusive -- occasional club dates with Sonic Youth sit alongside a slew of performances in people's living rooms, art hovels and deserted church basements. Unless you've stumbled upon them at a festival, or know them personally, A Hole is True is likely to be your first exposure to their disquieting alien-industrial soundscapes.

Given the group's reputation, you'd expect the three compositions that comprise A Hole is True to approximate field recordings of mass genocide -- shock-torture screaming and debilitating guitar-work splattered across a canvas of broken bones and barbed wire. The reality, however, is a bit more listenable, especially considering that Double Leopards are often lumped in with extreme noise terrorists like Hototogisu (with whom they share bassist Marcia Bassett), Bastard Noise and Wolf Eyes. Rather than rupture eardrums, Double Leopards channel chasms of feedback and metaphysical drone into quasi-orchestral movements of light, sound and particle mass. "Chemical Wedding", in its softer moments, is soothing and serene, waves of wintry distortion coalescing with minimal electronic emissions to mimic the sounds of melting glaciers. "White Cadillac" goes through a series of metamorphoses during its twenty minute cycle, shifting from chilling and apocalyptic to ghostly and meditative in short order.

Double Leopards will never earn an easy listening tag, but their muted take on extreme noise is slightly more accessible than the work of many of their contemporaries. Some might say that they've taken background noise to a whole new extreme, but A Hole is True isn't noise for the sake of noise -- it's a thoroughly mapped dissertation on the way the sounds around us shape our day-to-day lives. It's as thought-provoking as Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works, but nowhere near as dogmatic.



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