If you’re a regular reader of this website chances are you’ll be aware of the work of Mike Vest. Mike is the guitarist on a plethora of bands, such as Blown Out, Melting Hand, Bong, Drunk in Hell, Haikai No Ku, 11 Paranoias, Basillica and Dodge Meteor. Each of these bands put out music that is heavy and dystopian, and often are like sledgehammers pounding away at granite rock face fashioning out huge statements of fuzz and wah wah laden psych/ space/ stoner/ [you name it] rock. What is also present in most of the bands is a driving rhythm section that drives the music forward, providing the perfect foil for Vest’s guitar work.
With these two albums from Lush Worker, presented here in cassette form by Cruel Nature Records, is a Vest solo project. To say these albums are stripped back would be something of a mistake. ‘Impervium’ is Vest’s guitar alone, while ‘Reformer’ does have some drums down in the mix, following rather than driving. Both albums were recorded by Vest last year and together they provide an hour-long series of soundscapes that are topographical in the way that they are mapped out.
I must admit that I wondered how this would work in practice since it has always struck me how much Vest’s undoubtedly amazing riffs are so well matched to a really heavy chugging bass and massive pounding drums. Yet I think this solo work holds up very well, and the ‘Impervium’ set is particularly set apart from his other work. The sense of absence adds to the bleakness of the music and you get a real idea of something that is experimental and, at times, difficult to listen to in the sense that it is dark and unredeeming.
All in all this is a really good release that is well worth listening to, and showcases Vest’s guitar work in a more revealing manner than perhaps any of his other bands do.
‘Impervium’/ ‘Reformer’ is available from Cruel Nature Records on one pro-produced black C60 cassette with full colour double-sided inlay, limited to 50 copies world-wide.