The remarkable new single from Cincinnati, Ohio’s Hissing Tiles is probably unlike anything you’ve heard in awhile — scroll to the end of this article to listen. Called “Keynote” and taken from their upcoming full-length album Boychoir out August 30 via Whited Sepulchre Records, the song packs super heavy guitar lines and apparent experimental electronic work right into the same mixture. Neither element gets dialed down — instead, you’re left taking in thundering guitar work right as you’re also glitching out into a horizon of strange but exciting electronics. The band truly feel like they’ve held nothing back in their ambition, and “Keynote” shines with a captivating force and apparent confidence.
“Keynote” feels like a song of confronting the chaos of life — the lyrics tell a tale of plane crashes after keynote lectures and more — and the unique way in which the band have captured this sense deserves some serious attention. Their musical ambition translates into emotional power packed into their song too. They’ve taken unnerving mania and made it more captivating than before, dialing into the complexity of a situation like “hideous male archetypes” and portraying the frenzy that defines them all the way down. This song is insanity made comprehensible without erasing any of the energy so that hopefully we can do something about it. The sonic and thematic realism impart that sense of empowering catharsis.
The band’s guitarist Michael Squeri explains:
The song “Keynote” is basically the plot of the book Alive, except there are only two survivors, and one of them is the blowhard who spoke at the conference you attended the night before, and he ends up falling to his death before you get to eat him. Of all the songs on this album that prod at hideous male archetypes, this one is surely the silliest.
Musically, we made a conscious effort to really tighten into a singular, grinding throb. The drums and bass lock into a syncopated lurch, while I focus all my attention on trying to make my guitar play submarine noises. This is probably the most “suite-like” song on the album, starting with an homage to that lingering piano sound from “Ride Around Shining” by Clipse. Live, we accomplish this tone with a pocket piano synth, but immediately decided to transpose it to vibraphone when we found one in the studio. We also managed to fit in a blast beat section and some pleasant (I think!) harmonies, before ending with some world-ending noisy slams.
It’s true — there’s lots of craziness in this song, even including an absolutely insane blast beat section towards the end, but there’s always a sense that the parts stick together and keep the drive going.
Check it out, and pre-order the full-length now. Whited Sepulchre is offering vinyl editions; they’ve released other notable experimental acts like Planning for Burial and Midwife.
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