There isn’t a lot of information about Bleach Boys, a project of Melbournian Maya-Victoria Kjellstrand. Last year I saw her perform as part of Sabbatical’s summer series, sprawled across the floor, creating these mesmerising drones that just filled the space, via a couple of cassette players, a mixer and some guitar pedals. Yes sounds like that performance.
A limited cassette and download, it opens with these peculiar, ill defined and strangely treated field recordings before morphing into a rumbling bass (that may or may not be a continuation of the field recordings). As the piece evolves these lofi sweeps of sound just begin washing over you. It’s quietly beautiful, there’s a kind of stasis in the thin drones that you could almost label lofi new age, where you begin to wonder if there isn’t something healing in the murk. Because as strange, as hissy, as elusive and lofi as these sounds are, Bleach Boys has a really unique way of crafting and combining sounds that profoundly alters the listeners experience of their environment. Yes is weird and strange and beautifully raw. Luckily it’s also just enough dark and just enough weird not to be able to be harnessed for meditation purposes – though the idea is not entirely far fetched.
With two pieces, at about 13 minutes each, midway through the second, the thinner mid frequency drones become more overt, a little more menacing, the feedback of the sweeps beginning to corrode and peak out. This would normally be a bad thing, yet here it feels entirely in keeping with the spirit of what has preceded it. At this point the piece begins to evolve into something more industrial, reminiscent of the humming of large building or a softer more ambient take on the factory drones of Eraserhead.
Throughout it’s 25 odd minute trajectory we’re never entirely sure what we’re listening to on Yes. Yet it’s such a curious, raw and seductive suite of sounds that it’s less about what it is, and more about what it does to you.