Long after man has ceased to exist; long after the mountains have fallen into the sea; long after the oceans have boiled dry; long after the sun has burst and evaporated planet Earth - humankind’s mark on the universe will still be felt. There will be a circular ripple of radio waves created during the 20th and 21st Centuries traveling ever outwards into the cosmos for all eternity, as if caused by a tiny pebble dropped into a perfectly still pond. And this thin, elegant wave will contain the only remnants of what we were. In it will be all of our films, radio, television, electronic communications and internet activity. It will contain all of our art, history, news and entertainment, in all of its stupidity, glory, inconsequentiality and brilliance, heading outwards across the void to the ends of time itself.
And riding this wave, out past the Shoulder of Orion, through the Tannhauser Gate, way out into the Hubble deep field will be the brightest of pulses of information encoded into peaks and troughs. And when this pulse reaches out where evolution itself has evolved into something new, it will hit the equivalent of a being, who will turn to the equivalent of a friend and use its equivalent to a mouth to say the equivalent of: “Dude…. Seriously… Dude… Did you just hear that?”
Because New York space rock trio White Hills are the opposite of a comet. They suck up an explosion of energy on the surface of the Earth; from the history of amplified rock music, from the weather, from spirituality, from adrenaline, from the history of synthesized electronic music, from substance use, from philosophy, from friends and enemies alike, from mother fucking electricity, and they focus it into a blinding beam of energy which they reflect back out into the void. And this beam is a message. It is a statement which reads: “Fuck you. We are here. We rock, therefore we are.”
August sees the release of their seventh full-length studio album, which is entitled So You Are… So You’ll Be. Featuring Dave W on guitars, synthesizer and vocals, Ego Sensation on bass, synthesizer and vocals, and Nick Name on drums, this is their most concentrated blast of psychedelic interstellar rock to date. The band also appears in Jim Jarmusch’s upcoming film Only Lovers Left Alive, which premiered at Cannes earlier this year, alongside Tilda Swinton, Mia Wasikowska, and John Hurt.
The LP is a blazing totem of rock & roll empowerment and will to power achievement, as if overseen by the spirit of Nietzsche wearing leather trousers, mirror shades, a well fitted Cuban shirt and wielding a Flying V. Building on the solid foundations laid by last year’s excellent Frying On This Rock, they went back to BC Studios, Brooklyn to record once more with Martin Bisi. This time they could easily have released a great triple album but felt that they would sooner abandon most of the material in order to get the most concentrated blast of White Hills at their fullest potential possible onto one disc.
After the deconditioning and deprogramming blast of electronic noise which is ‘InWords,’ the album opens properly with the call to arms, ‘In Your Room’ – a skyscraper razing slab of Mudhoney strength mantra metal, which bids you abandon all doubt and fear so you can start your quest into inner space. For tuned in, turned on heads there is ‘The Internal Monologue’, an ecstatic shivering sliver of celestial acidic drone followed by the post-Hawkwind, post Loop transmission of ‘So You Are… So You’ll Be’. There is more computerised deprogramming via ‘OutWords’ before White Hills command that you cower before the altar of the Stoogian proto-riff, the holy Ur-riff, the mind warping, silver machine-tooled hyper riff, that is ‘Forever In Space (Enlightened)’. But after this cataclysmic shock, there is barely time to process what just happened before you are lowered into the howling lysergic swamp rock of ‘Rare Upon The Earth’ with only the echoing synthesized landscape of ‘Circulating’ offering some respite. The album builds effortlessly to the sumptuous ‘MIST (Winter)’ which features a John Carpenter synth line engine inserted into glistening La Dusseldorf chassis, forming some kind of god-like chariot.
In their eight-year history that has seen the release of seven studio albums and countless collaborations, split albums, EPs, live CDs, tour only singles, 7”s, limited edition CDrs and other spin offs, this is White Hills’ finest achievement to date… and that’s saying something. But this in turn says something about Dave W’s need to keep on bettering what he has already achieved. He certainly answered his calling - to boldly lead the faithful into the furthest and most uncharted reaches of cosmic rock.
Since then they have gone on to set the international gold standard in what it means to be a space rock band in the 21st Century. But perhaps it’s best to let Dave himself explain what space rock actually means to him: “Heavy psychedelic music can deliver the thinking mind through a door to the greater universe. I want people to find a space for meditation. We all are constantly barraged and beaten down with a lot of bullshit today. Personally, I find that spaced-out extreme music transports me to a very tranquil place. I hope, more than anything, our music brings others to that place of enlightenment and ecstasy."
Far in baby. Far in.
-John Doran, May 2013.
Spirit of Exile
You Dream You See
In Your Room
Pads of Light
I Write A Thousand Letters
The Condition of Nothing
White Hills (Live at ATP)
Three Quarters (Pt. 1) (Live)
Three Quarters (Pt. 2) (Live)
Walks For Motorists (Official Album Trailer)
Pads of Light (Live)
Life Is Upon You