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Stop Mute Defeat

by Jon Mae Linus
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Jon Mae Linus
The dismal realities, political or otherwise, that are part of our modern world naturally
influence our creative voices. It is in this context that White Hills re-evaluated their
approach to creating a new album. Having continually refined their sound, pushing the
boundaries of psychedelic music, White Hills flipped the script on Stop Mute Defeat.
Dave W. and Ego Sensation have brazenly produced an industrially-charged record that
pulsates unlike anything theyve released before.
Hard-line, gritty, and intellectually engaged, Stop Mute Defeat is a New York record
through and through. With this in mind, White Hills drafted Martin Bisi (Sonic Youth, Brian
Eno, Afrika Bambaataa) to mix. White Hills recorded with Bisi on two of their previous
releases, Frying On This Rock in 2012 and its follow-up So You Are...So You ll Be, however
Stop Mute Defeat is the first time they worked with Martin The Beast Bisi in control of
the mixing board. A native New Yorker who made his name in the city s early hip-hop and
no-wave scenes, Bisi was attracted to White Hills new material for its distinct early-80s
Mudd Club feel. A dance hall, drug den, and bar, the Mudd Club was one of New York s
legendary haunts in the late 1970 s. As a center of an distinct art scene the club served as
a major influence for White Hills and Stop Mute Defeats sound.
Following similar techniques to those propagated by William S. Burroughs (a regular at
Mudd Club), Stop Mute Defeat sees White Hills break free from the guitar-driven structure
of their earlier releases. Reassigning William Burroughs word cut-up technique to music,
Dave W. and Ego Sensation deconstruct sound clips to create minimalist but rhythmically
complex phrases. Title track Stop Mute Defeat layers turbocharged bass loops with
squalling guitar samples, to create a sound that calls to mind Xtrmntr-era Primal Scream.
If... 1... 2 goes even further down the rabbit hole, oscillating into the experimental
electro-sound of early 80s Sheffield, UK band Cabaret Voltaire. Meanwhile the taut brawny
grind of Attack Mode industrially hardens White Hills rock boundaries to tribal densities.
Appalled by the rampant consumerism and the proliferation of post-truth mythology,
White Hills defiant lyricism is at their most philosophically scathing. Condemning
doublespeak as Subliminal seduction...a serenade with a grenade, the song Overlord
laments political and economic opportunism, where In travesty, theres always another
dollar to be made. On Attack Mode meanwhile, a clenched-jawed Dave W. channels
the perverse cynicism of Throbbing Gristle, throwing scorn on societies where misogyny
leads and the objectification of young girls runs free. Exposing Western vulgarity in
bright light, Stop Mute Defeat is a fearless and necessary denunciation of the political and
economic powers that be.
Writing in his seminal postmodern oeuvre Naked Lunch, Burroughs states: Desperation
is the raw material of drastic change. Only those who can leave behind everything they
have ever believed in can hope to escape. Rethinking their musical norms, personally and
musically diving into uncertain waters, White Hills at once embrace and demonstrate the
raw power of such abandon.

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