“Man With Potential” by Pete Swanson

A crushing collision of noise and industrial techno from ex-Yellow Swan Pete Swanson.



Much has been made of the re-emergence of beats in experimental music, but if you listened carefully enough to Pete Swanson’s output to this point you’ll realize those rhythms have been present for a long time. The New York-based artist might still be best known for being a member of now defunct noise duo Yellow Swans, but he’s made plenty of solo music since then, even if it has been quite difficult to obtain. Straddling a line between free guitar noise (‘I Don’t Rock At All’) and singed electronics (‘Challenger’), ‘Man With Potential’ shows that Swanson is unafraid to dive headfirst into the dank pulsing soundscapes that helped birth his old band.

Where Yellow Swans used pulses to underpin their cascading white noise, Swanson here puts the chattering 140bpm percussion at center stage, not least on the album’s opening track, charmingly titled ‘Misery Beat’. Setting the stage for the music to follow, we are thrown headfirst into chattering synthesized squeals and dense kick drums before being smacked around the head with the kind of slippery noise lead we’ve not heard since ‘Going Places’. This is Birmingham techno filtered through the mists of the Pacific Northwest, and is all the better for it. Elsewhere ‘Remote View’ explores a more downtempo sound; coming across like post apocalyptic house music as heard from a club bathroom.

With ‘Man With Potential’ Pete Swanson has crafted his most defining statement to date; a blistering collection of contemporary club music with a deafening noise twist. It might not be easy listening, but who said life had to be easy?