Volcano the Bear: Exploring the sonic wilderness of experimental music

They are weird, but if you’re open to it, consider a journey through the eclectic soundscapes and unconventional creativity of Leicester's avant-garde ensemble called Volcano the Bear.

VOLCANO  THE BEAR : "The Inhazer Decline"

Sometimes we like to explore the boundaries of what may qualify as classic rock, and that includes looking at experimental/avant-garde acts. On that note: Volcano the Bear is an experimental music group that formed in Leicester, England, in 1995. The band's music is known for its eclectic and avant-garde nature, encompassing a wide range of genres including experimental rock, free improvisation, folk, electronic, and more.

Their sound often defies categorization, and their compositions can vary from delicate and atmospheric to chaotic and abrasive. They're probably a little too out there and esoteric to easily label as "alternative rock," yet their videos often get thousands of views.

The core members of Volcano the Bear are Aaron Moore, Daniel Padden, Nick Mott, and Clarence Manuelo. However, the lineup of Volcano the Bear has changed over the years, and the band has collaborated with various other musicians as well. Their prolific discography includes a diverse array of releases, ranging from studio albums to live recordings and collaborations.

Some of their notable albums include Yak Folks Y'are"(1999), Five Hundred Boy Piano (2001), Classic Erasmus Fusion (2006), All The Paint I Can Breathe (2004), Amidst the Noise and Twigs (2007), The Shy Volcanic Society at the Bear And Bird Parade (2009), and Commencing (2015), among others.

Why you might want to give Volcano the Bear a chance

One of the defining aspects of the band's music is their willingness to experiment with sound and structure, often incorporating unconventional instruments, found sounds, and unexpected sonic elements. This approach has garnered them a cult following within the experimental music scene. Of course, this better guarantees that their approach will not be for everyone. Still, if you're into this type of stuff, Volcano the Bear is a group that thrives on pushing musical boundaries, challenging listeners' expectations, and creating unique and enigmatic sonic experiences.

In one interview, Nick explained that the band really just resulted from boredom with playing rock: "Aaron and I were in a kind of more regular rock group, maybe still quite strange rock, but rock all the same. We got bored with that so we just decided to start trying to make some music that was much more loose and much more improvised and more exciting for us to play so we didn’t have to keep playing the same songs over and over again. So we kind of disbanded that group and just started making noises out of anything that made a noise, you know, non-instruments...and just play various things." They often say "Poverty is the mother of invention," but similar things could be said about boredom, too.

In an admittedly mixed review by Pitchfork, Volcano the Bear is described thusly: "Their knack for marrying the absurd to the sublime places them in the eccentric lineage of art-rock bands such as the Residents, Henry Cow, This Heat, and Nurse With Wound." Similarly, the late, great Mojo Nixon may ahve been relatively too edgy and out there for some. All of those groups may be outsiders in a sense, but they are all successful in their own way, and so is Volcano the Bear.