THE PEELED EYE

sh01 peeled_eye_cover_promo copyReviews:

le son du grisli
Après « s’être fait enregistrer » par Martin Siewert (National Parks), Boris Hauf l’invitait à prendre place dans un quartette où trouver aussi Christian Weber (basse électrique) et Steve Heather (batterie) : The Peeled Eye.

Dans les pas de Sonny Sharrock (I’ve been trying to find a way for the terror and the beauty to live together in one song. I know it’s possible), Hauf s’essaye une fois de plus – rappelons que certains de ses essais ont été concluants – non pas à un mélange des genres mais à quelques rapprochements. Le saxophone (baryton, ici) fait-il le jazz ? Et la guitare électrique, alors, le rock ? L’empêchement qui gangrène l’un et l’autre instrument dès la première plage du disque dit assez bien ce qu’il faut penser des trucs et astuces de musiciens qui s’abandonnent (presque) tous désormais à l’improvisation libre.

Les morceaux ne sont pas de même longueur, mais tous composent avec des gestes rugueux (guitare et basse peuvent rappeler les cordes électriques de The Ex) et une soif de sons inattendus (ici, un larsen à sculpter, là un tambour qui agace, ailleurs des cris de hyènes calqués sur les graves de la basse). Une atmosphère sous tensions, voilà le propos de The Peeled Eye, celui qui l’inspire, en tout cas.
Vito Camarretta, Chain D.L.K.
English-born composer, performer and multi-instrumentalist Boris Hauf recently rekindled the old flame of his own label Shameless, which reprised the production by a strictly limited edition (300 copies on yellow vinyl) of The Peeled Eye, a fourtet whose stuff got labelled as noisecore/doomjazz by Boris himself, who plays piano and baritone saxophone (the leading instrument, according to my ear response over the seven tracks of the album) along with the guitar-player Martin Siewert (we recently met his sound art within Trapist’s “The Golden” and Radian collaboration with Howe Gelb), Swiss double bass and bass player Christian Weber and drummer Steve Heather. The cover artwork looks like a hint of the idea that could evoke the listening of their music, which could be described as something in between improv, more harsh noise-punk-jazz entities (I could mention Alboth! in order to check some bands from closer regions) and Starfish Enterprises, the noisy rock band which preceded the birth of Starfish Pool. Even if I said that Boris’ baritone saxophone, which makes entrance on the abrasive session of the opening “kind of”, is the leading instrument, the role of other instruments is likewise important as you can check since the track I’ve just mentioned where the theme ignited by Boris manages to trigger a reaction the strings of Martin’s guitar and Christian’s bass sound like catching Boris’ sparks over a drumming session, which spreads the fire. The style is more or less the same over other tracks, but dynamics differ such as on the amazing “diiiiisko” (guitar interlocking within a daring variation of 4/4-driven getaway are really super!), the sooty 12-minutes lasting “heavy quarters”, which manages to evoke the ticking-time bombs of some boroughs in every city of the so-called “civilized” world, caused by almost completely untrammelled capitalism and likewise savage contemporary social mechanisms, the sense of forthcoming crash evoked by “finale”, where the wheels of The Peeled Eye’s car seem to be worn to nothing, before they seem to change tyres on the risingly furious “pp remains”. 3,5/5

Glenn Astarita, all about jazz
Berlin, Germany-based Shameless Records is managed by seasoned and well-travelled multi-instrumentalist Boris Hauf who resides as a prominent Euro-jazz improviser and experimentalist while also recording with members of Chicago’s fruitful improv circuit. No doubt, Hauf is known to trek into unchartered musical arenas, evidenced by the band Efzeg where micro-textures and minimalism often serve as a forum for expansion. But the plot thickens on the debut release of The Peeled Eye which is billed as a “noisecore/doomjazz quartet.” Fans of the New York downtown scene, guitarist Sonny Sharrock and metal-jazz should be up for the occasion as the quartet delivers more than just a few sonic booms here.
I received a CD for review, but the album is solely offered as a limited edition (300 pressings) LP and available via digital download. Otherwise, it’s evident that the musicians gave it their all on this brash outing. Hauf’s vicious baritone sax lines and electric guitarist Martin Siewart’s distortion filled skronk and grunge phrasings frame the battlefield for the ensemble’s variable improvisational exercises. They cover a surfeit of possibilities atop the rhythm section’s thrusting cadences.
On “Heavy Quarters,” streaming EFX processes paint the background, accelerated by Hauf’s ravenous choruses and Siewart’s elephantine sound-sculpting forays. Think of death metal coupled with free-jazz tactics, but they spawn inferences to Ornette Coleman’s electrified, free funk albums of the 70s and 80s during “Diiiiisko,” marked by the guitarist’s strenuously executed and jostling chord progressions above a boisterous rhythmic deportment.
The quartet consummates the album with “PP Remains,” which is a free-floating, intensifying and jaunty improv fest, featuring the frontline’s call/response dialogues, heightened by Siewart’s scraping and wily phraseology. Overall, the band zooms in for the kill as they aggressively tread through hazardous musical terrain amid a take no prisoners’ mode of operation. 4/4

Massimo Ricci, touching extremes
The Hauf/Siewert/Weber/Heather consortium just registered at the chamber of commerce of hard-socking quartets, and immediately started to work. The seven tracks of this debut album do not concede anything to bucolic serenity; from start to finish, The Peeled Eye put their robust fingers in action to knead, mold and stretch a flexible matter whose components hybridize a somewhat ominous variety of avant rock and modern-sounding free improv. The obvious point of comparison for a superficial analysis would be Last Exit, of which this unit replicates the instrumental constitution. But Boris Hauf plays baritone sax, a gradation that alone shifts the group’s racket into areas where crying out with a bleeding heart is less important than walking through the relatively contained violence of certain dark alleys.
The overall sound is extremely solid: the lower frequencies are masterfully enhanced by Christian Weber’s growling – or at the very least quietly threatening – bass, whereas Steve Heather’s rhythmic demarcations oscillate between “cleverly undomesticated” and “vigorously square”. That leaves us with Martin Siewert’s buzzsaw methods on the guitar: the disfigurement of linearity walks hand in hand with the fetishization of a putrescent type of pseudo-blues, sometimes with truly exciting effects. Still, my favorite moments belong to the 11-minute “Heavy Quarters” where, among other visions, we’re even treated with gorgeous glissandos within a mounting tension. Great beginning of a hopefully long-lasting story; now shut up, play loud and feel your ass kicked.

Massimiliano Busti, blow up magazine
l’album d’esordio del quartetto formato da boris hauf (sax bari- tono), steve heather (batteria), Martin siewert (chitarra) e chri- stian Weber (basso) evoca lo spi- rito del free europeo di stampo brotzmanniano per ricollocarlo in una dimensione aliena, laddove il basso si sfibra in oscure distor- sioni (Kind Of) e il sax si contorce nel solco di quella tradizione jazzcore che dagli inglesi God conduce sino agli Zu (Albino Fox- trot Uranus). Heavy Quarters è suono elettrico in saturazione che non sfigurerebbe nel catalogo della southern lord, mentre PP Remains chiude il tutto con un’improvvisazione rumorista e liberatoria. album di genere ma carico di notevole intensità. (7)

Bill Meyer, dustedmagazine
The four men who make up The Peeled Eye have been around a while now, long enough to forget first impressions. Certainly nothing about their self-titled debut is going to make you remember the restrained and/or minimal sounds of efzeg, Kahn-Korber-Weber, Trapist or SSSD. While a snapshot of Boris Hauf (baritone saxophone), Martin Siewert (guitar), Christian Weber (bass), and Steve Heather (drums) might cue you to think you’re going to hear jazz, what comes out of the speakers when you put the stylus down is more of a Godzilla tap-dance. Heather drums like a machine-gunner clearing out a field, Hauf’s horn flails like the tail of a toppled brontosaurus, and the guitar and drums careen like they’re crashing an audition for The Ex. The opening tune may be named “Kind Of,” but there’s nothing tentative about its determined heaviosity.
There is, however, a strategic side to The Peeled Eye’s music that refutes parts of the description proffered above. They might sound like they’re flailing, but each blow lands exactly where it’s intended. The combo’s dynamics move too fluidly from pummel to scrabble to be accidental, and when they want to ease up, the complementarity of their contrasts is far too effective to be the product of chance. “Heavy Quarters,” which occupies the second half of side one, proceeds through a sequence of bleak mood inducers — triggered film samples, slow stomp, Sonic Youth-like guitar screams — like an effective film soundtrack.
[…] The meaty satisfaction dealt by The Peeled Eye suggests that free improv apprenticeship is a worthy pre-rock tutelage.

John Eyles, All About Jazz
The Peeled Eye is the debut release from Boris Hauf’s revived Shameless label, which has switched from being a subscription-only limited edition label to releasing experimental rock, noise and pop recordings. This release is an edition limited to three hundred copies pressed on yellow vinyl. Collectable, eh?
In The Peeled Eye, Hauf’s own baritone saxophone is joined by Martin Siewert on guitar, Christian Weber on bass and Steve Heather on drums. Between them, the four members have impressive improv credentials behind them in groups such as Efzeg, Mersault and Trapist, so it was surprising to see this grouping described as “a noisecore / doomjazz quartet” with no mention of improv. Although definitions of such sub-genres tend to overlap after a while, this designation does successfully convey the bottom-heavy, density of the quartet’s soundscape as well as their music’s predominantly dark mood, a combination which makes for compelling, addictive listening.
On the seven tracks, ranging in length from just over two minutes to just over twelve, the four members meld together into an awe-inspiring unit whose adrenalin-fuelled bravado at times sparks memories of Last Exit. All four contribute equally to the ensemble sound with no pecking order at work, and no hint of a distinction between solo instruments and “rhythm section.” They all take on both roles, the four strands weaving together into a rich tapestry in which the instruments remain clearly distinguishable, never degenerating into noise.
When Hauf plays his baritone’s lower reaches, the combination with Weber’s bone-crunching bass guitar is thrilling stuff, the quartet’s trademark sound. However, this is a group of equals, with Siewert and Heather just as important to the totality. The Peeled Eye creates music that is greater than any one of the four. More soon, please, Shameless.

vital weekly #1005
A new release on Shameless, a label of Boris Hauf. Around 2001-2002 he released several
of his projects on this label. And that was it. Not that Hauf turned away from music.
Far from it. But Shameless no longer seemed a useful outlet. But now it is again, with
an excellent first release by The Peeled Eye. The quartet consisting of Martin Siewert
(guitar), Christian Weber (bass), Steve Heather (drums) and Boris Hauf (baritone sax,
piano), make a powerful and convincing statement. They are a “noisecore doomjazzquartet”
in the words of Hauf himself. They construct thick and noisy musical pieces. Seven in
total. Sometimes all seem to follow their own individual path, resulting in a wonderful
cacophonic whole, as in the opening track ‘Kind of”. Evidently free jazz is an ingredient
in their music. Also the prominent sax playing by Hauf clearly comes from a jazz attitude.
Like in ‘Heavy Quarters’ where his playing is embedded in a slow but brutal sounding
rock environment. The intro and the outro of same piece illustrate their interest for
pure sound textures. ‘Diiisko’ has Hauf and Siewert in a fine battle. In all pieces they
sound very tight and together. Complexity and rock primitivism are in a perfect blend
here. This is not just a hell of noise, but free rock at his best. (DM)

Philip Montoro of the Chicago Reader: “Describing music as “deconstructed” tends to suggest a heap of dismembered limbs—a formerly vital organism reduced to its constituent parts. But while The Peeled Eye feels deconstructed, insofar as its amplified improvisations hint at patterns but rarely cohere, its implied motion is in the opposite direction, toward increasing structure. It’s as though these four musicians are applying a vast electric current to the primordial ooze of their songs, using their considerable energy to assemble an embryonic precursor of horn-fronted instrumental noise rock.”

freistil #63
english: Together four notorious engineers design a vehicle of a different kind. No frills. Sleek design. Schematic without hierarchy: rhizome electronics. FreeJazzSax gearbox. In three seconds from zero to twelve tones. With screeching tires and drumming heartbeat the vehicle whizzes through stringed thunderstorms. On dark streets of bass-lines into a serious nothing. Unlimited Doom. A poly-logical Inferno, a decrepit ghost, a swarm, a lamenting Ghul, yet another inferno pass outside. Occasional longer stays in abandoned parking garages. Volume and degree of tonal density drop, but not the tension. The ceiling lighting flickers, raindrops whisper, windows steam up. An electronic pulse starts up the engine. In driving a motive makes its way inside the sound body, gets developed and in its best moment thrown out the window. And then again, the same. Greetings to the noise of that night, it’s tinkering, it’s punch. Hinted phrasing, amorphous force, Patterns without stencils, a fine net of questions becomes the answer. To what? Exactly. The tank is full of relations. No more space for vanities. In this dark miracle musical ride. (steroid) [translation Boris Hauf]

freistil #63
german (original): Vier berüchtigte Ingenieure entwerfen gemeinsam ein Gefährt der anderen Art. Kein Schnickschnack. Schlankes Design. Schaltplan ohne Hierarchie: Rhizomelektronik. FreeJazzSax-Getriebe. In drei Sekunden von null auf zwölf Töne. Mit quietschenden Reifen und trommelndem Herzschlag saust das Vehikel durch ein Saitengewitter. Auf finsteren Bassstraßen in ein schwerwiegendes Nichts. Unlimited Doom. Draußen ziehen vorbei: ein polylogisches Inferno, ein klappriger Geisterzug, ein Schwarm, ein lamentierender Ghul, noch so ein Inferno. Gelegentlich kann es zu längeren Aufenthalten in verlassenen Parkhäusern kommen. Lautstärke und Grad der Tondichte fallen ab, die Spannung nicht. Die Deckenbeleuchtung flackert, Regentropfen flüstern, die Scheiben laufen an. Ein elektronischer Impuls wirft die Maschine wieder an. Während der Fahrt gerät ein Motiv ins Innere der Klangkarosserie, es wird weiterentwickelt und in seinem besten Moment aus dem Fenster geworfen. Und dann gleich nochmals. Grüß uns den Noise dieser Nacht, ihr Gefrickel, ihren Punch. Angedeute Phrasierungen, amorphe Wucht, Patterns ohne Schablonen, ein feines Netz aus Fragen wird zur Antwort. Worauf? Exakt. Der Tank ist voll mit Relationen. Für Eitelkeiten ist kein Platz mehr. In dieser dunklen Wunderkarre aus Musik. (steroid)

Ron Walkey (Vancouver & Athens)
So I sat down in that big leather-covered armchair and put on a pair of large and efficient earphones. I wanted to give Peeled Eye some ear-time, without surrounding interference. Hear where they are ‘at.’ Out the night window of the 5th floor apartment crashes of lightening fractured their way down onto the tip of the Berlin tower. Perfect background for this music!
Let me begin with three simple things. First this is serious music. It’s not just a gig. Something fine is being played, something unified, something shared. Second, each of the musicians is an expert. Care and proficiency are felt throughout the entire work. Third, this group really cooks together — each of the four an absolute necessary part of the whole.
With that said then there’s the delight in the complexity of what sounds are being made. My ear followed one of the players, heard his path beside the others, then followed another. The musical patterns they’re working with are far from familiar to me. I paid attention. At many points cohesion is not at first obvious, each seems to be blowing to his own wind, but not so. Sitting there and listening they opened my mind to many questions, just as all good art should. Is this in some way a fractured mirror to our society, where an individual cry in the complex night might, or might not, be heard by someone else? Gone the days of total agreement to what’s groovy? Maybe. Maybe not. All sorts of tasty questions.
A lick starts, gives a hint, then peters out. The sax heads into a painful wail, or was it ecstatic? Or a complaint? Or a shout of loneliness? Rhythms build, dissolve away into somewhere else. Electronic sounds come forward to blossom, add spice, sometimes dive in, but never steal the show. A piece ends, leaving a heart-filling drone to bring momentary ear comfort. Then some tinkles off to the side before a thump. It’s a landscape, and a beautiful one.
As another flash from Zeus raced down to touch the Berlin tower. Very fitting.
At the end of the second side of that yellow vinyl disc I lifted the earphones off into the silence of the room. Moments passed before I realized there’s a clear emotional stance of urgency in this music, and it’s one I’m not particularly comfortable with. I’d probably be more soothed with a bit more space between these sound conjunctions, but that’s just me. It gets a bit desperate at times, but don’t we all. Just like life.
So, do get yourself some good earphones, slice off a bit of time and sink into what these guys are doing. They’re pros.