Broken Bone - Willowbrook - Aperture


Broken Bone is a duo from Yorkshire, England consisting of Daz Quayle and Tony 'Bone' Snowden. Daz is one half of Scarletron, IL.EK.TRO and owner of scsi-av. Tony has performed extensively in noise bands such as Crumbling Spine and Yorkshire Bone. 2014 represents a milestone for these two artists as they have released their first LP together. Entitled “Willowbrook”, the album has been put out in digital format and vinyl by Andrea Parker’s Aperture Records label.

Sometimes reviewing music can become an overwhelming task. “Willowbrook” is one of those touching works that make you thank God – or whoever– for having the opportunity to give it a listen. It helps you to realise how the most infamous place can be used as a tool and inspiration to create a real masterpiece. Let’s put it in context. Willowbrook State School was an institution for developmentally disabled people, designed for 4,000 residents but with an actual population of over 6,000. There, defenceless children suffered all kind of atrocities for 40 years until its closure in 1987, making the school a true “snake pit” in words of Robert Kennedy. With this album, Broken Bone have amazingly expressed that idea. If Frank Zappa said “music is the most physically inspiring of all the Arts”, “Willowbrook” undoubtedly underlines this fact. Dark ambient, noise and industrial rhythms perfectly assemble throughout the 12 tracks, walking listeners back to the school itself. The sound is full of distortion, low frequencies and persistent kicks. Built on an extremely effective physical dialogue, the composition talks about anxiety, illness and darkness. It opens with “The Echoes They Left Behind”, which offers a dark ambient compound of textures, cacophonies and drone layers. “Blood On Your Hands” epitomises the guilt and cruelty by means of a low bpm constant beat, dark soundscapes and state-of-art noise sculpting. Of course, post-industrial genre has a dominant role in the LP in pieces like “Coercion”, “Catharsis” or “A Home For Phthisis” - brutal, intense, obscure... In essence, this is an album that goes beyond the boundaries of shape and potential.

“Willowbrook” is a superb and impressive work. It is an explicit expression of pain. A pain consented by a world and a system that “does not need” mentally disabled people. A system that sees them, and all of us, as disposable beings. Not only do Broken Bone manage to capture the insanity and darkness of that snake pit, but they have used it to create an exquisite noise album as well.

Willowbrook is available on Aperture.

About Author

Armando Valdés, the man behind Secret Thirteen album reviews, is a translator, music journalist and a member of noise-ambient + spoken word band “Granny On Donkey”.

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  1. Pingback: Broken Bone - Secret Thirteen Mix 181 | Secret Thirteen

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