Burning Star Core - Inside The Shadow
Burning Star Core is the public moniker for C.Spencer Yeh, a Taiwanese born violinist who constructs aural performances either collectively or alone. Taking an innovative and improvisational approach to the violin Yeh’s bow sends out massively affected electronic drones to create minimalist landscapes of noise. Inside The Shadow was originally released in 2005 as a tour only product but five years down the line it’s being reissued via Hospital Productions.
This release comprises three tracks, beginning with ‘Inside The Shadow (W. Metals)’, a fourteen minute piece featuring deep, humming drones that begin quietly but which soon building to an all encompassing intense, mantra-like backdrop. Set against this is the high-pitched clatter and clamour of hundreds of shards of metal cascading into one another, creating blips of random noise to counterpart the regularity of the violin's eternal loop. Resigned breaths mirror that of a failing dystopian society as the debris of the past crumbles on the floor. It’s a suitably harrowing but resolutely intense opener that takes no prisoners.
The second piece ‘Now United’ features a more recognisable violin sound, finding Yeh less reliant on a continued hum as he sways through an ever increasing tempo of notes to an eventual fevered pace. Such focus on the flight a single instrument can produce is enthralling; every second of its nail-bitingly tense seven minute ascent into madness is captivating.
Closing the album is a return to the longer strokes with a repeat visit to ‘Inside The Shadow’. This time a shorter version of the track is presented and the cacophony of metal is also absent. Here the violin is allowed to bristle with electricity - pushing on the borders between drone and distortion - balancing on that thin line; bubbling and fizzing with charged intent.
This isn’t an album to play whilst doing the washing up. It requires dedication and a silent space to allow the undeviating and relentless waves to cleanse your mental pallette. It’s without doubt a challenging listen but putting the effort in will reap the rewards.