Album: Savages & Bo Ningen – Words To The Blind


Words To The Blind sees two of London’s most exciting alternative bands, the post-punk institution Savages and Japanese noise rockers Bo Ningen, perform simultaneously. At the heart of this 38 minute long experimental track is the early 20th century art movement Dadaism, in which artists valued and expressed irrational thought through visual chaos and unconventional structures.

Words To The Blind finds the practice of automatic writing embodied by music, forming a simultaneous aural poem. As such, the track fittingly begins with Savages frontwoman Jehnny Beth and Bo Ningen’s Taigen Kaiwabe’s spoken word poetry intertwined. This first section feels both loose and lucid, Kaiwabe’s Japanese and Beth’s French combining into an eerie opening, followed by a wave of soft feedback.

After the track finds its feet and begins to run, the two bands hit full force; you can all but pick out each separate member’s particular sound, both combining to form a sprawling and erratic groove. Each sound then begins to wind down as the track then reaches a psychedelic peak indebted to Bo Ningen’s calmer moments.

Being a live recording, the crowd begin to cheer only to be interrupted by aggressive guitar feedback. We are, at this point, midway through. What happens next could be a particularly sparse Savages track, Beth’s vocal ring in a section of order, a mesmeric break from the chaos. Beth’s vocals are fairly low down in the mix, obscuring the syllables and letting her words function as another textual layer of instrumentation.

The track then reaches a natural and haunting end, leaving just the two softly spoken vocals ringing out. Then there is another cheer from the crowd and the bands suddenly explode back into chaos, three minutes of pure aural assault, a wall of sound barely punctuated by any semblance of style, but gripping nonetheless. Words To The Blind is a truly experimental endeavour and, for the most part, is exciting, pulsating work.