Swim in an ocean of noise on 'Aloha From Beastview Maul' 

click to enlarge PHOTO BY ELLA TUNIS.
  • Photo by Ella Tunis.
Beastview Maul, the experimental noise duo of John Schoen and Joe Tunis, has one of the best band names in Rochester. It also fits the music: heavy and unexpected, with a bite.

Four droning compositions comprise their latest release, “Aloha From Beastview Maul,” which Tunis’s Carbon Records released in March. Listeners may unconsciously try to identify individual instruments in order to grasp what actually creates the sounds flooding into their ears. But on “Aloha,” the noise is the instrument.

Two songs stretch out for nearly 15 minutes each. In that time, Schoen and Tunis make a potent cacophony befitting the opening track’s title. (A “Fata Morgana” is a mirage visible on the horizon line.) Their beautiful racket — made from copious amounts of guitar fuzz and electronic adjustments — plays tricks. Sonic figures can be heard that simply aren’t there.

Hellacious siren wails at the nine-minute mark? A phantom helicopter around 4:50? By the time the mirage recedes, the logical brain understands these as aural apparitions. But the ears know what they heard.

“Iron Wheels” offers a cyclical churn, like the warm whirr of heavy machinery. The closer, “Horripilation,” deals in comparatively psychedelic color as the pair add textures the way painters approach landscapes. The dedication is not far from the work Tunis and Schoen maintain in their other group, Pengo; it also follows the thrum of Beastview Maul’s first album, “Lido Scuffle,” which dropped in 2022.

Then, there’s “Gonna Reach out & Stab Ya,” which plays like William Basinski’s “The Disintegration Loops,” if the loop in question was a warping cassette copy of Steve Miller Band’s 1982 pop hit “Abracadabra.” It offers a reprieve from the thick murmurs and even poses a commentary on the nature of music itself.

As Beastview Maul melts a number-one song down into audio goo, the unknown comes to the fore. They’ve killed the familiar. They’ve also spawned new life.

Patrick Hosken is a freelance writer for CITY. Feedback on this article can be directed to CITY Editor Leah Stacy at [email protected].
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