Sunday, November 20, 2011

HIDEOUS UNO / BANK OF CHRIST split
THE BAD TRIPS / VESTRON CANNON split
(No Basement Is Deep Enough)

This split tape from Serbo-Belgian label No Basement Is Deep Enough offers up two slices of Bay Area music in one hand-sewn pouch. The Hideous Uno side was recorded in the late 90s and sounds like a cold wind whipping over the bodies of dead mountaineers, rending the flesh from their bones. A very sparse and beautiful vocal piece with delays and loops very much in a Henri Chopin vibe. My research tells me that Hideous Uno is none other than Grady Runyon, former lead guitarist and vocalist of the squalling mid 90s dose of bad acid, Monoshock (!!!) and also of Liquorball. While this sounds nothing like those groups, it's nice to know that Runyon had other things up his sleeve. If you haven't heard Chopin or Runyon's other work, run don't walk...

The Bank Of Christ side is a really apt choice of pairing, accomplishing the same sort of effect, but this time using more traditional instruments: violin, synth, tumpet, bass, percussion. The music here was recorded in the last few years and and is mostly very eerie and atmospheric, until it picks up for the last few minutes with an upbeat drum figure. The recording quality is really cool, sort of like old wire-spool technology.

Well, maybe I don't get a whole tape, but No Basement Is Deep Enough offers up another split with a more contemporary Grady Runyon project. The A side here is by The Bad Trips, a trio of Runyon (guitar/sound), Jeff Grimes (guitar/sound) and Gordon Roberts (keys/bass) recorded in 2007. This is about as different from Monoshock as Hideous Uno is, though I find it slightly less compelling. Basically a lot of eerie sounds and echo that sort of hang in stasis for awhile and then vanish. Doesn't so much sound like a bad trip as it does a pleasant one in some nice spooky old woods. The natural sound of the guitar becomes more apparent during the last third and I really like that part a lot.

The B side of this tape is by Vestron Cannon, a trio of Damon Sturdivant (guitar), Dusty James Hill (bass, keys, sax) and PK Maunz (drums). Listening to this side made me actually appreciate the Bad Trips side a lot more. While Runyon and co. are very methodical in their sound creation and the whole A side has a nice arc to it, Vestron Cannon's music has much more of a "let's just jam" feeling to it. The results features plenty of screechy saxophone, Les Rallizes Denudes-esque guitar rifferey and propulsive drumming, but the group never really seems to develop any of its musical ideas and I'm left wanting more. The most interesting thing about this side is the recording quality, which has a half-submerged feeling to it.

The packaging of this tape another extraordinary balkanbridesdotcom creation: an embroidered piece of fake leather that wraps around the cassette and is clasped together by an overcoat button.

To hear tracks from all NBIDE releases or make contact, go here:
http://soundcloud.com/nobasementisdeepenough
You can also find most of their uniformly great releases here:
http://www.discogs.com/label/No%20Basement%20Is%20Deep%20Enough

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