Friday, August 3, 2007

various artists "BRUTAL SOUND FX COMPILATION AND EXHIBITION OF STRANGE FACT" (Enterruption)



So you might want to go ahead and purchase this compilation before the Europeans snap up all the copies with their strong currency. That’s right, the strong Euro against the weak dollar means those continentals are increasingly raiding our fertile underground music stores – just ask anyone who runs a decently prolific label. It would be a real shame if people in other noise pockets around the country failed to hear this record because it presents some of the weirdest most forward thinking noise around. Really, it’s the patriotic thing to do. Don’t let our important cultural relics leave the continent. Now, Bay Area noise is different to say the least. Often more neon and psychedelic than other regional strains and an Oakland loft show can be the sight of some serious deep listening on the part of audience members. There are clear nods to the Residents in some places…and plain indefinable weirdness in others. But this community is also very open to sounds from a variety of different genres, something that is somewhat uncommon in scenes as niche oriented as the Brutal SFX tribe. At one point my vision of Bay noise was a general sort of “bleeb blorp blip” feeling, but there has been undeniable morphing of this psychedelic randomness into bizarre frontiers – some of them almost entirely melodic in nature. Purists will likely insist that a track like Liz Allbee’s “Leisure Sport Overlords” doesn’t even belong on a noise compilation. It’s pretty, languorous and sounds like a warped Herb Albert track, but its subtleties make it shine; well deployed distortions and alterations to the indolent waters keep the track from becoming background music. The album’s opening track comes off almost as a statement of the purpose of the whole. Diatric Puds & the Blobettes produce a piece ranging from cavernous swells of delay to ergot poisoned chants with weird funk underbellies. And then there’s the kingpin himself, Sir Grux, a staple of the Bay’s black light weird-out scene. He contributes a track from his Spider Compass Good Crime Band showing off his prowess in dishing out completely deranged midget circus jams with brain frying noise compliments as a side dish. And that’s not all. He contributes a more noise oriented attack in the form of Commode Minstrels in Bullface, which the first time through really scared me silly with its off-kilter bad vibes. But if you’re the type who desires to straight-up RAGE there’s no shortage of that either. You get 16 Bitch Pile-Up’s disaster swell accompanied by high-end clatter, or Ettrick’s deep jazz thrash. The fact that this double tape is all over the place sound wise is it greatest asset. Well, besides the rather elegant packaging, as if clearly this is not amateurish material. The only complaint I have against a compilation this varied and interesting is that, it perhaps has too much music on it and therefore perhaps it is a bit self-involved. Tracks tend to be somewhat long and the tape sides clock in at over 30 minutes a piece. And yes, there are some slow parts, but the benefits far outweigh the faults. I guess, more bang for your buck, bro.