header: Reviews

Reviews for [RL80]
Swim Ignorant Fire "Belly of the Whale"

  • Cassette Love
    Musical Content: Chicago’s Stephen Holliger (aka Swim Ignorant Fire) produces ambient/drone/noise that is all over the place. The segues are seamless, yet he manages to travel from the heavens to the depths of hell within moments. It doesn’t feel unnatural, probably because he recognizes that heaven and hell have a lot in common. Verbed-out guitars are suddenly interrupted by the hum of a bad patch cable (“The Stillness Between”). You have to wonder if that was the plan all along, or just a happy accident. Regardless, Holliger makes the sound of equipment malfunction musical, almost melodic. Elsewhere, he channels Frippertronics (“A Fogging Spirit”). Guitar is all over Belly of the Whale, but it’s always part of a greater sound and never slips into cliché. Packaging and Sound Quality: The black-shell tape includes full color j-cards. Rok Lock is also including a free poster with early orders. Sound quality is excellent, even while played back on a thrift store Walkman.

  • Tape Famous
    Upon receiving a copy of Swim Ignorant Fire’s new album “Belly of the Whale" in the mail, I was shocked. About four years ago I got to see Swim Ignorant Fire perform while on tour with BOAR and it was actually the first time I had purchased a cassette from a touring band! They also had these pins that were two bodies swimming into each other, so it just looked like two pairs of legs stuck to one another. I was real into it then, and nothing has changed. Belly of the Whale is what you would expect it to be, the Moby Dick of ambient albums, seriously one of the best ambient performances I have heard recorded all year. Primarily guitar driven, Stephen Holliger (Swim Ignorant Fire) creates lush guitar swells that create a beautiful textural landscape. Pushing the listener into a state of bliss. Meditative in the way they were constructed these tracks seem like they were hashed out from beginning to end in one extremely focused sitting. You really can see Holliger flex his chops, because he shows restrain where he needs to and never lets anything drift on for to long. He gets you lost without actually being lost himself, which often isn’t the case with ambient performers. Anyway, this is good, I don’t know what use me going any further with this review would do, because I would just be rephrasing what I have already said. Get this tape!

  • The Deli Magazine
    New York's Rok Lok Records recently released the latest cassette from Swim Ignorant Fire (aka Stephen Holliger), Belly of the Whale. The release spans 30 minutes in three separate tracks, and is filled beautiful tones and moments. Holliger's music can best be described as ambient, and it is so easy to get lost in the incredible textures he creates.

  • Tuning Into the Obscure
    Fresh avant-garde art rock! Swim Ignorant Fire has quite an extensive back catalog with releases dating back to 2005, some physical, others digital. This cassette, released in early 2013, packs three lengthy tracks and is a stark contrast to what I’ve listened to thus far from Lok Rok. That’s not a bad thing, of course! Lush guitar and synth pads create lo fi ambient soundscapes that ebb, flow, layer, deconstruct and apex all over the place, at times branching out into noisy bits of distortion and other times, reaching cool calms. Neat stuff! (4.7 out of 5)

  • Raised By Gypsies
    What does Swim Ignorant Fire mean? They’re three words that really don’t go together, especially since fire can’t swim unless you’re talking about that one time that lake near where I used to live caught on fire, but that was because of trash not the water in which you would actually swim. Whales swim, so that’s kind of connected, but maybe you don’t need to understand this band name to appreciate the music. It is instrumental, ambient and there are loops. There is a great deal of crashing static. It also sounds like an amp is trying to plug in, and by that I mean something trying to plug its cord into an amplifier, and then we end up with a lot of dead air on Side A. This might be because there are three songs on this tape and the first side is outnumbered, but who knows. We get some horns on the flipside, but mostly it’s the same sort of noise I liked on the first side. I just wish we could do without the dead air.