Monday, May 18, 2009

GASTRIC LAVAGE "Bloody Knuckles" c31 (Yod Tapes)

Chris Dooley! There are legends in western mass about him. Hell, there are legends all over the world about him, for real, whenever I go on tour and tell people I'm from Western Mass they're like "oh yeah, you know chris dooley?"! It's rumored there are multiples, people will see him skateboarding while he's on the radio and working at a flywheel benefit two cities away. He has an absolutely insatiable appetite for making things happen. That manic energy is maybe a little muddy in the tape but you can definitely tell that he's really having a go at it, totally shredding up guitars (and curbs!), screaming with a winter hat pulled over his face into an amp for 45 second before ripping one of the most unusual / intense drum solos ever (though the drums on this tape i believe are played by Andy Kivela).

The title of Bloody Knuckles for this tape is totally apt, there's even a sound clip of Chris saying "oh shit, are you alright, do you need a towel or something." Everything is shredded to pieces and flying, confetti style, in the air as Dooley lets his legendary energy loose on this c31.

Yod Tapes site doesn't seem to be up yet, but check back:
www.yod.com

MARK LORD "Pussy St. Tape" c27 (Nazot)

An absolute tarantula festival. Seeing Mark Lord perform a few times over the last year he has played easily some of my favorite and most captivating sets, one night completely unhinged another almost spartan, actually sitting (sideways!) on a stool adjusting his synth and barely talking into a mic. While live it was captivating, you were focused on the individual performing, whereas on this tape, like the best music, there is almost nobody present, you feel absolutely within the realm of the music and it is a convincing listening environment.

Whereas people are often looking to grab your listening attention with swiftness, unpredictable shifts and unrecognizable manipulations, this tape has an economy and intent too often missing from 'noise tapes' these days. Remarkable for not only its fidelity but (even more so) for its absolutely even arrangements and mixing, slight reverb on the tonal background is not lost amidst the staggering, stammering pulsing in the foreground.

The first side features some vocals that, in their lack of emphasis, find an almost authoritative tone that matches the dark but commanding presence of the synth work.

I can't say enough good about this tape. I really hope it sees a vinyl re-issue.
Highly, highly recommended and of course there's no site listed and nothing I can find on the internet. Good hunting, if you can track it down, it's worth it.

CONTAINER "Container" c30 (I Just Live Here)

At INC this year I bumped into a favorite dude/band/label guy of mine Ren from God Willing / I Just Live Here and asked him how his trip had been so far to which he simply responded "just long drives jammin minimal techno." Then we talked a good bit about the virtues of the genre, I probably made a dick of myself and he probably finished his slice of pizza.

Well, lo and behold, a few months later I set up a show for him in western mass and he hands me a tape by Container and whispers 'it's my new minimal techno project.' Well, if he ain't a man of his word!

The tape starts with what sounds like a creeping synth but very quickly it's apparent the dude was not lying, rhythmic to the core, mostly low end stuttering with the necessary 303 tweaking flourishes and bubbling, burping and percolating weird worlds on top, building and deconstructing the whole way. Slight reverb on the hi hat, heavy envelope effects end up eating the thing alive. Side two is a lot more thumping and has a more thudding 4 on the floor feel with a bit more background "noise" you might expect of a beat tape coming from a noise dude, but i'll be shit on if Ren didn't just deliver two sides of minimal techno for you all!

Always recommended!
I Just Live Here site is giving me some internet grief, but maybe not for you:
http://www.ijustlivehere.net/
and ren's god willing myspace:
http://www.myspace.com/innercarpet

Saturday, May 16, 2009

ISRAELI INTELLIGENCE: "Buffalo Hump, Moon Face, Thin Skin" C20 (Grimeology)



Crisp, clear harsh noise on a label that does great mastering to cassette. This is loud and bereft of so much hiss that would ruin the experience.

Aside from such cliched nonsense as "flesh peeled from bone by molten rusted metal" I can say this is well executed and dynamic. Israeli Intelligence wastes none of your time. The a-side is a deftly assembled collage of snippets of everything gross: overblown vomit growling, reverbed out tape scratching, feedback loops and metal abuse. Its all there. In spades. Love it. Everything last long enough to be savored, and cuts to the next serving before there's one iota of boredom sitting in. I wish my recordings came out this good. For real.

The b-side starts out similarily, but rolls along with a slower pace, more psychedelic a molten floe, not violent erruption .

I'm happily sitting in my kitchen flipping this cassette over and over whilst writing. After deluging myself with some downloads of the Japanese harsh masters this week, I'm still finding Buffalo Hump, Moon Face, Thin Skin exciting and inspiring.

Edition of 50
Grimeology.com

QUEEN VICTORIA: "Apocalyptic Field Recordings Vol. 1" C20 (They Live We Sleep)



Wes Anderson should ditch his hipster-defining retro fitted mix tape style soundtracks for this. Breezy, lite summertime music. Eerily nostalgic. 16mm film footage of a girl in a sundress dancing in a field. Like someone's first student film circa 1989. Naively arty, bereft of pretention.

The first side is more song-oriented, a blues riff quickly cut off is replaced by a toy melody Baroquely meandering around someone's reverbed out singing. That soon morphs into a pulsing rythmic electronic groove, which again, cuts deftly into a soft rock crooner by for the neo-hippy set.

The second side rules. Toy keyboards plink away in the foreground, while the other elements, drum machine and singing, are simmered down to a fine atmosphere through reverb, delay and the loss of tape-to-tape generations. Cherubic is a good word to use for Apocalyptic Field Recordings Vol. 1, but the image I used before, of a grainy film documenting lithe youthful innocence may yield a broader understanding of the total vibe presented here.

Theylivewesleep.sitesled.com

Friday, May 15, 2009

**vintage review** LADDERWOE: "Mourning The Late Jennifer" C30 (USAGOLDEXCHANGE, 2006)




Delirious, lo-fi, lilting gothic out-folk from some New Jerseans. I picked this up from a smelly guy on tour a while back and it's shifted from car tape drawer to bed room tape drawer to shoe box under a bureau and back. Housecleaning yields peculiar treasures.

New Brunswick bands liked to tour these parts a lot from 2003-2007. This project is/was related to, if not part of USAGOLDEXCHANGE, Door, and maybe even King Darves. In fact, the show I spoke of had three of the four bands just discussed playing and is the show where King Darves went folk. I got a big pile of CDr nonsense that night. I also miss the noise Darves, but I digress.

Mourning... is best at being succinct. More than 30 minutes of this would be too much. But two 15 minute slabs of eerie feedback, acoustic guitars and harrowing howls are just right. This appealed well enough to me when I was entrenched in my Neo-Folk fandom, as it does now as I'm starting to finally develop a taste for what some of my friends and I simply refer to as "hippy-drone-noise." I guess that's what I'd file Ladderwoe under. It's too weird to be anything really close to "folk," but there's still too much song structure (especially on the other Ladderwoe recording I've got) to really let this be straight up noise. In my opinion anyway, and I'm the one writing, so, yeah, this is my god damned opinion!

On here there's enough scuzz and hiss to keep anyone's inner experimentalist happy. This could have been recorded room mic style with a couple guys cuing tape players as they moaned about The Late Jennifer and plucked away on a guitar and hit some things resembling percussion. There's even parts where I hear dinner ware clinking. This reeks of a humid coffee house show in late sumer. It's as cozy as it is unnerving.



Monday, May 11, 2009

TERRORS: “Inequipoise” c30 (Monorail Trespassing)


Don’t let the fact that this is on Jon Borges’ harsh/drone-notorious Monorail Trespassing label fool you, this thing is straight-up pop music. True, there’s a little bit of ambience on the edges of these songs but, for the most part, it’s pretty structured. I don’t actually know who the members of this band are, where they’re from, or anything like that. I can’t even tell with great certainty what instruments were played at specific parts, the production effects make guitars sound like pianos and vice versa, which I believe are the key mainstays (with a couple of additional string appearances). The style is slow and echoic, sparse instrumentation, but a dense sound, with so much reverb that the lyrics blend into one another and the music seems to hold on forever. The liner notes state that it was “recorded in a window” (assumedly the one on the cover), and it’s almost as if you can feel each chord drifting away, out into the night air. Maybe it’s better that the source remains a mystery for the time being, this might even be their first release for all I know. Hell, this could BE Borges’ work for all I know, but take what I don’t know and stuff it in a sack, this tape has a great sound and a lot of replay value, highly recommended.

Ltd. edition of 125

http://www.monorailtrespassing.com/

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

EARN: “Away” c20 (Ekhein)


Earn is the new(er) identity of Matt Sullivan, also known to many as the hyper-harsh Privy Seals, and it finds him casting a comparatively gentle spell on his six-string to ring loud and ring proud, with a couple of tape samples trailing to boot. After a brief introduction, he delves right into “Wax Man”, which almost reminds me of a crisper Skaters recording as he drums on the guitar, creating a back-beat for his fingers to skip around. This is quickly followed by “Running on Soft Feet”, a super glitter sound that will really lull you into your comfort zone and get your serotonin flowin’, perfect to relax to on a hot summer night. Side B has another quick introduction, then completes with the title track, which (I think) is a general display of his chops, definitely most closely resembles what I saw him do live. The whole thing is a real pleasure to listen to, calming, drifting echoes, but it really hits you differently at the end when it fades into a sort of television static with strange “Poltergeist”-like sounds over it, almost gives what you heard a bit of a twist, leaves a new, eerie disposition in your mouth. Was that a spoiler? My apologies. Anyway, great melodic ambience at a perfect length by a real sweet guy.

I only more recently heard about Sullivan’s Ekhein label, but he’s putting out some really killer stuff by himself and others and, although he doesn’t have a website, his wares are readily available online if you look around.

http://www.discogs.com/label/Ekhein

Sunday, May 3, 2009

YEAST CURD: “Barefoot in the Dark” c47 (Excite Bike)

There’s a really surprising subtlety to this tape, a strange and almost hushed production quality that really sneaks up on the listener. Like the feeling you get after shaking hands with someone who has a cold, you walk around thinking “am I sick? I just sneezed, am I sick? Is my throat scratchy? I think my throat feels scratchy...”, and then you go to the movies with friends and halfway through you KNOW you’re sick. Maybe that’s too personal of an interpretation, but that’s the feeling that crept up on me...

Yeast Curd is another one of the endless number of music projects of Eric Frye, proprietor of Scumbag Relations. This one finds him squeaking, squealing, and sputtering sounds generated by what I can’t even imagine. The first side is more beat-based, loops that you can nod along to, while side two is more of the stuttering stereo sound, the radio station you just can’t seem to get to come in, slowly sliding into outer space echoes. A real solid formula from one of the lab’s weirdest (and hardest-working) scientists.

Edition of 70, sold out from the label, still available from all the regular distros.

http://www.scumbagrelations.net/yeastcurd.htm