Musical destructionism used to be the domain of acerbic power-electronic musicians and deadpan no-wave trouble makers, but Secret Secrets have shed the nihilism even as they tear it all down. The sparsely combined ideas on the duo's debut album, Chiromagica, a morphing synth thrum, a hard-nosed but fluid drumline, a singular bass note plucked at varying intervals, a sitar-sounding guitar, an Ono-esque stack of repeated vocals - seek relationships other than mere harmony, perpetually building new moments even within repetition, but keeping the listener engaged with a staggered but rolling pulse and tantric energy.
The true mission of the band, featuring Shana Palmer on sampler/pedals/electronics/vocals and Melissa Moore on guitar and drums, is more generative,using contemporary and avant-garde musical tools and processes to generate something meditative yet disorienting, akin to Sufi Dervish whirling. This is not purely an ecstatic rite, though - menacing and churning threads appear as Moore's drumming regularly turns from tribal to martial, Palmer's haunting chants and siren-like croons shift to sinister wails and even sneering screams, and jarring shards of cymbals, fuzzed-out industrial squall, and reality-crushing bass frequencies bubble up from the warm, throbbing drone.
Palmer, who performs solo as Childe Bride, has experimented extensively with elements of noise, folk, and sound collage, sharing bills and collaborating with the likes of Jenny Graf, Tony Conrad, Zeena Parkins, and Lexie Mountain, and touring extensively across the US. Moore, whose solo act, Whisper For Wolves, features percussive finger-picking acoustic guitar, vocals, and electronics, also works with field-recording composition and electro-acoustic music, often using unique instruments that she designs and builds herself. Most recently, Moore has been exploring polyrhythms using self-invented polyrhythm machines, electric guitar, electronics, and African drumming records. She has performed in the US, Canada, and Europe.