Shots – Private Hate LP
This is the first full length LP by Shots, a project which has existed publicly through recordings and performance since 2015. Private Hate stands apart from previous works as an encapsulation of a pivotal stage in the group’s development, pushing towards an emphasis on events, movement, and locations presented as a challenge for the listener to perceive through audio. Sounds happen at the wrong time in unexpected places. Sometimes they go missing and you’re left holding the bag. Free music is somewhere murmuring behind the walls but it’s not really about that. Three monkeys in the jungle, a jest on managing expectations. If one hears an object being struck enough times and the resonance of the room, is this at all useful in extracting a narrative? We’ve all read about cryptophasia. These are just some scenarios to be interpreted. I heard “D.C.” on Nice Weather for War in a car driving along Queens Blvd four years ago and wanted answers. I’ve since become familiar with who made it and kind of what they do, but mostly all the same questions itch when I hear their recordings. I can’t really even prove that it’s them except for maybe “K&K”. I still think about the photo on Can We Win when I listen to this record; how that thing was clearly embedded in broad daylight, defiantly real and on display as if to antagonize whoever saw it into coming up with an explanation. It’s a lot funnier than all of this, actually.
Review by Howard Stelzer (Vital Weekly):
“Private Hate” is a thrillingly confounding mystery. Very generally speaking, it lives in the same anti-musical world as Sukora, Gabi Losoncy or Jon Dale’s magnificent “Theater” album, or at least close by. The sounds on this record are almost, but not quite, nothing at all. Previous albums by Shots have been more conspicuously the work of people rattling around on metal objects with recognizable percussion, interacting like improvisers, building and releasing tension. “Private Hate”, however, is far more severe in its refusal to gel into any semblance of music. The presence of humans behind these sounds is close to zero. In fact, if someone told me that they left a tape recorder in their backyard for an hour and just spliced some random moments together and pressed them onto 12” wax, I’d believe them. The events (such as they are) that (barely) fill this record are both brittle and grimy at the same time. Footfalls in empty rooms, traffic heard from open windows, tinkling glasses and soft line hum are pretty much all you get. Apparently, three people made “Private Hate”. Wow. Were two of them sleeping? Or all of them? There are stretches (like on “PH1”) that sound somewhat more recognizably like people making intentional intermittent textural (but rough and fragile) percussion sounds, which are interrupted by tape recorders being turned on and off. Then there are tracks like “Bulla Nota”, consisting of creaks that could either be the work of a person playing an instrument or else just the arbitrary, accidental sound of a section of fence blowing in the wind. “PH2” might be the sound of an elevator in a parking garage near a highway, or it might be a person striking an oil drum with remarkably random-seeming cadence. Minutes pass with almost no sonic events aside from open-air and distant cars. “PH3” contains a soft electric hum that reminds me of a cord plugged in and left alone for nine minutes. Are these “field recordings”? Is Shots a band? I don’t know and don’t much care. It takes guts to make a record so devoid of conventional pleasure or satisfaction (who needs those, anyway?), especially a nothing that’s neither precious nor imbued with any apparent conceptual conceit (at least, not one that’s shared with the listener). As soon as “Private Hate” finished playing, I listened to it again… and then a third time. And I still have no idea what the heck this is, but I’m so happy that it exists.”