Volcano The Bear have, in the words of The Wire, "produced some of the finest, wildest British music of the last 10 years on record and on stage…”. Or, as Losing Today puts it, “No one sounds, has sounded or will ever sound quite like Volcano the Bear.”
A calculatedly hysterical melting pot of This Heat, Robert Wyatt and Faust, seen through a prism of occasionally theatrical improvisations and unhinged set pieces, VTB so excited Nurse With Wound's Steven Stapleton that he brought his United Dairies label out of cold storage to release their first album proper, 'The Inhazer Decline', in 2000.
Since then, they've graced such labels as Beta Lactam Ring, Textile, Digitalis, Pickled Egg, Alt Vinyl, even NO-FI with their peerless product.
VTB live is the duo of Daniel Padden and Aaron Moore - you'll know Padden from his sublime The One Ensemble, whilst Moore is also highy regarded for his performances as part of Boredoms, Airway and A Hawk And A Hacksaw.
On record, Volcano The Bear offer stark and stunning absurdities, in the most bizarrely beautiful way. Live, the adrenalin and invention drips from their earlobes as they thrust spectacular oddities and questing multi-instrumentalism in the faces of their audiences.
Once seen, never forgotten, or as this review from 2007's Avanto festival puts it: "Volcano The Bear...combines improvisation and playful experimentation with a conception of music that borders on the anthropological. Their extensive knowledge of the traditions of both experimental and folk music, combined with their other influences, makes the band a difficult one to categorise. Although VTB has been mentioned in connection with bands such as Vibracthedral Orchestra, Jackie-O Motherfucker and No-Neck Blues Band, VTB differs from the aforementioned as it consciously avoids the trance-inducing pulse in its music. Rather than trying to reach a trance through repetition they set up a ritual space where a large number of instruments associate freely. Absurd humour and eclectic ways of producing sounds are characteristic of VTB's live performances, which are largely built on improvisation.
Familiar themes can be introduced as milestones on a journey towards a result, which remains unknown. The band records everything they play, and uses these recordings as raw material for their albums. For Volcano The Bear, post-processing is part of composing; their records are reminiscent of how This Heat and Faust used collage methods in rock music...The surprise element of their performances is further emphasised by the fact that their records - combinations of disciplined studio work and recorded improvisation - often sound nothing like the music played by the band on stage."
2011 saw Volcano The Bear release the excellent Hotbites Live At The Nightlight lp and 2012 sees their first release for the excellent Rune Grammofon and hopefully also the release of an album recorded at the legendary Faust studio last year.
Volcano The Bear tour the UK this April.