Martin Bisi, “The Mermaid Queen”

J. Edward Keyes

By J. Edward Keyes

on 04.14.14 in Listen to This

Martin Bisi is perhaps better known for the bands he’s produced than for any of his own work — he’s been behind the boards for Sonic Youth’s Bad Moon Rising and EVOL, Swans’ The Burning World Unsane’s Total Destruction and Cop Shoot Cop’s Consumer Revolt, to name just a few. Given that resume, you’d expect a measure of heaviness from Bisi’s resume, but what his latest album, Ex-Nihilo actually delivers is gravity. Witness “The Mermaid Queen,” a seven-and-a-half minute bonkers chamber noise track featuring an eerie, undead choir, rickety, stabbing guitar (that’s often walking in the opposite direction from the choral melody) and Bisi’s own mad howling. Its beauty comes in fleeting moments, which makes its darkness that much more unnerving.