Black Needle Noise / Human feat. Jarboe

Our Black Needle Noise feature this week is Human, featuring Jarboe. I was already excited about this song well before I got to it. The artwork always seemed to stand out as I scrolled through the Black Needle Noise tracks on Bandcamp, but since I was going back through his catalog chronologically, I’ve had to patiently wait to get to it. I’ve also limited myself to listening to these tracks on the week I’m going to cover them, so that each experience is fresh as I write about them, and I’ve not cheated yet! So, finally, Human is under the spotlight…

As soon as Human introduces itself into my audio space, a mood is immediately set. John Fryer is the master of setting a tone, and with Human the place it took me was a shadowy place…dangerous? Maybe. Hard to tell, but I’m alert, and I’m paying attention. Once Jarboe’s majestic vocal work takes over, it adds a whole new layer to the song. Her lyrics pull themselves up out of the shadows while Fryer’s dark score reaches up and pulls them back down. It’s an amazing dynamic that works very well…and like always, the collaboration works.

So, did Human meet the lofty expectations I’d set for it? Like all of John’s Black Needle Noise work, these collaborations never disappoint. I love the restraint, however tenuous it might be, of the darkness in this track. It’s there…you know it is…but the balance between Jarboe and Fryer keep it in check. Brilliant stuff. As always, Human can be found with all the other Black Needle Noise tracks on Bandcamp!

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