American Dollar Bill – Keep Facing Sideways, You’re Too Hideous To Look At Face On is the result of unrehearsed, completely non-premeditated jam sessions between SUMAC and Keiji Haino. For those who may be unaware, Haino has made a career as a multi-instrumentalist, who has worked with the likes of Boris, John Zorn, and Faust. What’s important to note before jumping into the LP, is that even though SUMAC has a solid presence throughout the material, this is primarily Haino’s record. While the post-metal/sludge tone of SUMAC’s music makes its way into all the songs, the music has Haino’s artistic personality all over it. His use of space, timing, and hectic compositions are what make the album the unique trip that it is. The noise experimentation sets the tone from the very beginning, presenting this weird and captivating ride. While there are only five tracks, they each span a great amount of time; the shortest song lasts nine minutes, with the longest just coming in under 20 minutes.
The opening self-titled track begins with a lingering guitar distortion, the drums beating in sporadic patterns. Eventually, all the instruments come together, presenting a more industrial sounding metal side to the music. Haino screams periodically over the song, bringing in an additional flavor of madness. By the halfway point, a good portion of all this drops off, leaving room for lots of empty air, the guitar and drums popping up at times to add energy. “What Have I Done? (I Was Reeling In Something White and I Became Able To Do Anything I Made a Hole Imprisoned Time Within It Created Friction Stopped Listening To Warnings Ceased Fixing My Errors Made the Impossible Possible? Turned Sadness Into Joy) Pt. I”, picks up the intensity found in the previous work, expanding upon the metal aspect. Great waves of distortion roam throughout the progression as the drums blast away. The guitars bring in a brightness into an otherwise dark and hefty composition, spastically rocking around.
The album barely has any sense of traditional song structure, at times entering a state of dark meditation with hellish screams and weird instrumental tones. It’s this unconventional manner, however, that works for the material. The odd noise structure, combined with the metal elements, end up creating their own logic. It isn’t a sort of musical logic that one hears and bobs their head to like a rock song, but one that provokes a curious intrigue. There’s a great range of experimentation to be found throughout the LP. “I’m Over 137% A Love Junkie and Still It’s Not Enough Pt. II” kicks things off with a hectic barrage of distortion, spurting in strings of brightness. The instrumentals fluctuate with high and low energy, eventually leading the material into this eerie progression of ominous air.
American Dollar Bill – Keep Facing Sideways, You’re Too Hideous To Look At Face On is not an album for everyone. That being said, anyone who is already use to noise music will understand where the sound is coming from. Overall, Keiji Haino and SUMAC have put together a fascinating collection of haunting songs. The instrumental diversity is extravagant, playing at various tempos, tones, and styles. This is a record that is able to take so much chaos, present something interesting and different.