Meat Glue is a difficult project, not just because of the sound but because their releases are so illogical, mysterious, and unlabeled that it’s hard to document them or review them for something like Memory Wave Transmission.
I take pride in keeping a fairly well-organized blog of information about many limited-release noise albums that might not be readily available on the Internet, but everything Meat Glue does kind of undermines that. I had to search high and low to figure out what exactly this release was called, because the packaging I have for Winona is simply a double-sided CD sleeve with lots of graffiti-ed paper artwork, all of which tells me nothing about this release. The only thing I managed to find was a scrawl on the CD-R that says “Winona,” as well as being able to compare the sounds to an Archive MP3 Meat Glue uploaded.
With all of this in mind, with no track titles (or tracks themselves) to guide me, I sat down to listen to Winona. All 74 minutes of it. That’s a long time for any release (it completely fills a CD-R), but for a project like Meat Glue, 74 minutes feels like an eternity. That’s not because I hate their noise or I think it’s bad, it’s just that Meat Glue loads this release with tons and tons of sound. It’s hard to keep track of everything that’s happened after you finish with it.
That’s one way to look at noise – to dispense with all the trappings of “music” and to piledrive the listener with sound. Meat Glue lives up to their moniker; like the pasty substance derived from mounds of waste meat from all different animals, they take any bit of sound they can get their hands on and then mush it all together.
That means Winona is both crushing and frustrating at the same time. There are parts of this release that I really loved, and then there are parts (like the first few minutes of vocal collage) that I could have done without. But since Winona isn’t divided at all, and it’s thrown together haphazardly even though it seems it was recorded at different times and then edited together, you’ll never have the chance to just go back and revisit the good moments. You can fast forward, of course, but that’s time-consuming in itself.
That leaves you listening to the mountain of noise on this release just for key moments, and maybe you don’t have the time to invest in over an hour of trash-banging analog and reverbed samples. But there’s a reverse edge to this as well; if you can’t listen all at once, Winona works well as a CD-R that you can pause and come back to, as though every time you listen it’s a different recording.
It’s up to you whether you like this sort of thing, and I can’t say that I have an interest in going back to Winona anytime soon. But Meat Glue present this CD-R simply as-is, and they don’t make a claim that it’s anything more than a pile of shredded noise molded into thick, clumpy mess. Take it at face value.