These Are Powers make music like cashmere lightning.
“We are free. We are a language of sound. We are hymns piggybacking on noise collages, club beats and ragas. We are a celebration. We are present in dreams and energy. We are the dynamics of being and the infinity of possibility. Union and improvisation strengthen us.”
These are words taken directly from These Are Powers, residents of both Brooklyn and Chicago who have created their own manifesto through sound. Pat Noecker plays subsonic bass frequencies often mistaken for synthesizers and robotic whales. Bill Salas creates a cascade of deft sonic effects and electro acoustic rhythms. Anna Barie stabs guitar and skulks like a she-wolf with a microphone.
These Are Powers utilize a wide sound-driven musical vocabulary in their visceral constructions –songs are born from improvisation, then emerge as fully realized sonic pieces.
It’s chaos turned to beauty, fractals coming into focus. This is music that relies as much on instinct and intuition as it does composition or melodic structure.
These Are Powers’ experiments in the studio transform live into a powerful low-end sub-rumble and high-end flutter established by Noecker’s prepared bass. Combined with the cacophony of abstract beat sound emitting from Salas’ electro-acoustic stand-up drum kit a powerful wall is formed. Piercing through is Anna Barie’s guitar while she and Noecker call and respond on vocals. Barie is a force of nature, blasting through a litany of expressive, inventive guitar sounds, full-throated yelps and howls underscored by a confrontational, explosive energy that finds her entangled with audience members, leaping through the air or sprawled on the floor in front of the stage. Ferocious, intense and unhinged, when These Are Powers perform live, it is a sight and spiritual journey to behold.
Taro Tarot is the finest document of These Are Powers’ prowess to date. Following the departure of original drummer Ted McGrath, Chicagoan Bill Salas brings together the bands’ musical ideas concisely and cohesively in just over 20 minutes. It is no easy feat, but on Taro Tarot, These Are Powers demonstrate to the world the power they wield. The low end undercurrent emanating from Noecker’s sub bass tones is like no sound you have ever heard from the four stringed instrument, while the tribal and primitive rhythm of “Chipping Ice” shows that while this band’s music is known to be a heavy sonic excursion, you can also fucking dance to it. The frequency-analyzed sounds of “Cockles” are a thing of beauty, while “Twin Remains” shares a melodic sensibility with SST-era Sonic Youth. These Are Powers pack an eclectic infinity into these six tracks, channeling far-flung musical ideas with their undeniable intuitive sense into an epic, focused statement. Upon one listen to Taro Tarot you will realize These Are Powers have arrived.