As the main axe man and beat keeper for Melbourne’s loudest and most uncompromising band Grey Daturas, Robert MacManus has some how found the time in between touring and recording like a demon with the Daturas to produce what was essentially inevitable, his debut solo album. An album like this was always going to happen, weather it was now or 5 years down the track; a solo album was always on the cards. You don’t work as hard as Robert does and play in as many bands as he has and not deliver a solo release. When you’re recording constantly you soon realise that certain ideas don’t work in certain situations, that’s when the thought of a solo release comes into play. It’s like the 4th dimension; it’s that space in time where everything makes sense.
Rather than making the obvious statement of going under his own solo name, Robert has chosen the distinctive approach of going under the moniker of a sudamen, and that being Black Widow, a deadly spider that’s famous for it’s neurotoxic venom. Designed as an avant garde noise project in 2005, Black Widow was spawned out of frustration whilst on tour with Grey Daturas, with Black Widow Robert went out to explore more personal experimental ideas that weren’t suitable with in the confines of Grey Daturas. With limitations set in place, Robert wanted to create spacious guitar based ideas that incorporate elements of minimalism, mild percussion, affected vocals, electronics and drone. He wanted it to be as far removed from Grey Daturas as possible. Where the Grey Daturas are the masters of aggressive noise rock, Black Widow is the under graduate of textural and meditative avant-garde.
Over the past 3 years Black Widow has been a quite achiever, in between Grey Daturas hectic touring and recording schedule Black Widow has found the time to record two collaborative albums with Melbourne avant-garde noise artist Blarke Bayer (Ben Andrews of My Disco & Agents of Abhorrence) under the name Blarke Bayer / Black Widow. Both these albums have been hailed critically on web sites like Aquarius Records (San Francisco record store) and in magazines like The Wire (UK), VICE and Mess and Noise. Even though Blarke Bayer / Black Widow have done a hand full of shows in Melbourne, essentially it’s just a recording project. A third album is in the pipe works. Black Widow has also recorded with Magic Dirt, he was a guest guitarist on there 2007 experimental behemoth, Roky’s Room. Aside from the recordings, Black Widow has done numerous solo performances both in Australia and the US. Tours of Australian and Europe are on the cards for mid 2008.
Night of the Raven is an avant-garde album consisting of 5 tracks / 30+ minutes of music thats suitable for fans of Earth, Sunn O)), Wolf Eyes and Einsturzende Neubauten.
It’s out now on Heathen Skulls.