Thursday, April 30, 2009

CM "Erotocomatose Lucidity" c30 (Closet Sorcery)



Usually don't like to google people / bands before I review them, it can give people and unfair (dis)advantage depending on what the ol' net serves up and then sometimes it is actually helpful (thereafter i'd go back and adjust my review) this is a great example of both of those cases. I was into this tape and had a fair amount to write about it: it would have been something about mechanical pets- what pets / domesticated animals represent to people and how mechanical reproductions of those externalized needs have an extra eerie air to them because they represent a totally perverted projection of those desires; also something about machine animals purring and maybe hunting instincts...

All that feels a little funny now knowing this is the work of Todd Brooks from the Pendu organization, a group dedicated to all sorts of buccaneering projects including one of my faves, Artists with Cats: http://www.pendugallery.com/artistsandcats/. Reading his page I was also informed his source material are homemade/modified oscillators, synths etc. You see where this is all going? The man has a wholeness of purpose. His manifest interest in occultism, cats, automatons, etc has come to pass on this tape. The first note (yes, i take notes!) I took while listening to this tape was "Animal electronics, calm" and I mention it not to point out my perceptiveness but instead Todd's evocative abilities with his electronics, atmosphere and arrangements. The tape is a great merging of canopied high end swirling and low earthy grumblings changing speed and desity slightly.

One other point worth mentioning, I suppose, is the cover. True to his interest in eroticism CM explores a motif in noise tapes I'm not entirely convinced of- a naked woman emblazoned on the front of the tape. Though she has her face collaged with some form of esoterica to remove it from the 'extreme' nude images that usually grace the cover of harsh noise / power electronics tapes, it feels like a forced version of 'erotic' whereas the suggestive elements of the music had more of an effect of me than anything that brazen. A minor point, but it speaks to the power of the music over the somewhat crass imagery.

Not sure of the label or the edition as my internet fishing turned up an empty hook. Definitely recommend spending some time at the pendu organization website:
http://www.pendu.org
and check CM's (Chaos Majik) blog for more info on the music and to possibly get yr hands on this tape:
http://www.chaosmajik.blogspot.com/
Pick it up if you can.

Monday, April 27, 2009

CAVE BEARS: “Horribble and Useless” c31 (Yod Tapes)

The entity that is the Cave Bears has been around for quite a while now, with a constantly rotating cast and a discography just as equal in variety, ranging from slowed down drone to acoustic boogaloo. This is, by far, my favorite release of theirs to date, and probably the closest representation of their “typical” live show. I put that word in quotes because when you go to see them, you never really know what you’re going to get. I hesitate to use the word “destructive”, but I think I’m okay with the word “messy”. I’ve seen them do everything from smash lightbulbs, pour mud across the floor, wear costumes made out of (operating) electric fans and (full) watering cans, and even bang on buckets while suspended upside-down from a tree while another member threw fireworks. So yeah, they’re a little all over the place, but they also have a general set-up of guitars and drums that they use more regularly, so even when it does lean towards being improvisational, you can usually tell it’s them.

There’s actually a surprising amount of differentiating composition on this tape, but it’s entirely cohesive. Cut-ups and samples flow freely and intermingle with original work very suitingly, foreign musicals laced through shrieking howls, guitar warbles, and a variety of squawking brass and harmonica. All of this is even edited at times, chopped & screwed on analog reels, still not upsetting the rhythm. There’s a large section of instrumentation that gets a little too calamitous for a little too long on side two, but that’s barely a beef, like a nuttier No-Neck Blues Band (bear in mind, I’m also notorious for preferring everything ultra-short). A solid starter for anyone looking to get into this band, or to prep them for their upcoming split LP with ID M Theft Able (who we all obviously can’t get enough of around here).

http://cavebears.suchfun.net/

Thursday, April 23, 2009

ID M THEFTABLE "id m + jay z" (mangdisc)



I was told when given this that a friend of id m's was sicklyillin and wanted there to be an id m theft able & jay-z concert. It unfortunately could not be arranged so mr. id m provided the next best thing - set up some studio time with jay and made a tape.

best rapper alive, what's up, I told you. turn the music up. woo.
I'm in my zone.

a good 45 minutes (plus) straight of
tiny cuts of jay-z acapella spliced together into quick sputtering rhythms, layered with shout-outs chopped short. everything stuttering and skipping in avalanche form, a few pebbles start it off and then it quickly gathers more, collecting all of jay's syllables and turning them into a crushing rumbling. unrelenting. like Steve Reich's
Come Out, after a bit, the words that are recognizable lose their meaning and become pure sound - parts of the rhythm. and/but also, like David Mahler's Hearing Voices , the tiny chopped speech lets us hear every part of a single sound, minuscule moments, isolated, and dissected to their basic parts.
It is also impossible for me to not mention Wobbly's Wild Why , which this tape is most akin to. (This is not a bad thing! I listened to that album with reckless abandon for a good month... mind blowing, if you haven't heard it - please, find a copy right away!) though while Wobbly is throwing fire crackers at your feet from his BMX, id m is in the woods, melting mirrors with a flamethrower.
entrancing and completely consuming.

http://kraag.org/
http://kraag.org/mangdisc/

(and now that I am done writing this very first review of mine, upon putting in the links above, it seems like maybe this isn't an available release! well, keep an eye out all the same...)

Monday, April 13, 2009

TRAVELS "Dripping Down The Walls" c20 (905 Tapes)




For a period of time in my life I was uncharacteristically drawn towards the mythology of warfare and the military. I know for some people the 'dark' side of humanity 'rules' and the order and discipline of enlisted life meshes perfectly with their choices but for me it always had an air of the unreal, something not of this world that didn't mesh with any of my logical choices and as a result I couldn't get enough.
Many of the most famous war movies are also my favorites, Deer Hunter shares the upward realms along with Apocalypse Now, Thin Red Line and Full Metal Jacket among a host of others not necessary to list in order to understand this tape. Of those movies Apocalypse & Thin Red Line each share a certain quiet element to them that is in complete contrast to that which is actually being experienced; how in the world can chaos be so placid? How do you distinguish between detachment and focus?

The scene comes to mind wherein Martin Sheen arrives at the bridge under bombardment, with fireworks and gunfire meshing perfectly the question he keeps asking is "who is your C.O?...Who is in charge? Who is the commanding officer?" To which he gets an "I thought you were" for an answer. This loss of / gaining of control lends itself perfectly to the aforementioned disassociation. At what point are we listening for a lead and do we expect, from the chaos, there to be a distinct (in the case of this tape sonorous) intent. 'Dripping down the walls' imposes one side of aftershock inducing chaos and a second side that relents just enough to expose a skeleton of what's attacking you but never enough to suggest yr going to be able to tell the fireworks from the gunfire.

Full color cover of melting dude (though in a domestic setting) works perfectly with the analogy. Edition of 33, still in print:
http://www.905tapes.com

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

BIG KIDS/PHASED OUT: “Friends Don’t Die” split c20

To continue with the news from Vermont, although Brattleboro’s Tinderbox, an amazing, central studio and performance space, has sadly closed for good, leaving the city nearly barren of interesting live music, it turns out things are still bubbling behind closed doors. What I’m trying to say is, this tape totally rules, I love it. If there were a best of 2009 list for me to contribute to, this would definitely be on it. Two quartets, fucked as punks, indecipherable lyrics, blowing out doors, and just generally being loud, fast, and full of audio clips from movies about skateboarding.

Big Kids have a pretty crisp sound, evenly recorded with killer screeching vocals, while Phased Out went more with the dogshit style of recording that I have a very tender place in my heart for, the way super loud instruments sound to a portable tape recorder placed in the middle of the room. Kind of surprising considering they’ve got some pretty complicated instrumentation executed by simultaneous members of bands like Witch and King Tuff. Nevertheless, it’s duly appreciated.

Xeroxed inserts, edition of 200. Only available by mailorder, and almost out of stock!

http://www.myspace.com/phasedoutloccosonly
http://www.myspace.com/bigkidzz

Sunday, April 5, 2009

NERVE CITY: “HELL” c17 (Amateur Depression)

I gotta admit, I was kind of disappointed when I actually looked this up online and realized that the BAND is called Nerve City and the TAPE is called “Hell”, because at first I was like “Damn, this dude has serious balls! How audacious is that to call your band ‘Hell’?” With that misconception in mind, I didn’t know what to expect, but this is a really great, albeit brief, listen. Somewhere between the lonesome drifting of Mammal and the jangly semi-surf pop that’s currently taking New York by storm (i.e. Crystal Stilts, Blank Dogs, etc.) lies Nerve City, where a distant voice from a swinging telephone sings to you from the end of a tunnel over steady gusts of guitar and the occasional drum or organ. With three songs per side, this Richmond, Virginia loner vibe merchant Jason Boyer (who also indentifies himself with the omega symbol, sort of like Prince and his funky ankh) drifts by quickly enough to knock your hat off, but slowly enough to get a good whiff of what’s in the air.

Spraypainted, orange-foil tapes with xeroxed inserts.

http://www.myspace.com/nervecity
http://www.myspace.com/amateurdepression