Wednesday, November 10, 2010

CHARLIE MCALISTER - "COLD WAVES" - C30 - (SPACE CULT)


if you plunder your resources both electronically & in print, from the last couple decades you may find some words here and there throughout the sub-underground about the crazed madman antics of one c. mcalister. its the stuff that legends are born from, or so it seems. since the mid 1980s up until present day charlie has been constantly churning out his own brand of what-have-you glory on many a micro-label and beyond. his discography could fill a gin tub, with upwards of 80 or so tapes, records, cds, books, videos, jars of sauce, experiments...not to mention drawings, paintings, performances, etc. etc.
he smears and blows spontaneous creative juices like a rabid dog, and throughout the years he never seems to falter, constantly re-arranging his art. many seem to dub his music "folk" - which is accurate if you take it in the sense of storysongs by and for the people. if there was still a real sense of oral tradition these days, the bog man could rival john henry. its true his mainstay of instrument choices usually consist of the banjo, acoustic guitar, violin, etc...but they seem either handcrafted or inflicted with dry rot. what mcalister does exceptionally well is deconstruct pop melody and craft his own self described psych dixie music. and it dosent end there...the influences are vast, and often times change from release to release.

mcalister also compiles from time to time works of sound collage, and cold waves is one such release.
the thing about this release is, although new, if you have been following his output - this thing has seen the light of day at least three times over the years. cold waves keeps cropping up. it leads me to belive this album has been in a constant state of flux. additions and subtractions. new cover images replace the old, which still seem to bleed through on the xerox. previous track listings scrawled over. new catalog numbers...
well it seems that it has reached some sort of apex with charlie dubbing it under his new label moniker space cult (previously tar owl / previously flannel banjo) - and what you get is a wild ride shifting spasticly all over many terrains. re-worked audio detritus. hypnotic rhythms from which no samplers were used. everything is as organic as dirt. skipping records made from various household ingredients being applied, and actually occasionally being constructed of said ingredients. meat, asbestos, wood, metal. interlaced are the sounds of horns, organs, steel drum, boxes and cans. you name it. both brooding and soothing.
and quite different from other mcalister releases. it may have taken four or five years for this cassette to become fully realized, but it has been well worth the wait.
my suggestion : reach on into that satchel, pull out a few clams, put them in an envelope, and mail it off into
the abyss. in a fortnight you are sure to receive a mangled manila envelope full of sweat and goodness.
C. MCALISTER : PO BOX 20095 / CHARLESTON, SC / 29413

and if you are feeling like frying plenty of past releases are still available if you know where to look.
i would recommend starting with : DOORMAT TX, UNREAD, LITTLE MAFIA & TICK-TOCK.