Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Savage Relatives "Phantom Uncle"

Let me start off by saying that if you purchase cassettes based upon the artwork or design of the liner notes and you get your hand's on Savage Relative's "Phantom Uncle", you are in for a surprise. When I received this cassette for review, I assumed this was going to be some decadent and confused "golden age of digital collage" music similar to Extreme Animals. The cover of this cassette is as gaudy as a middle schooler's myspace page from 2004. The cassette looks like Lisa Frank was tripping on some dark, dark drugs, locked herself in her studio and came out with this kaleidoscope of surreal, tacky bullshit.

The music, in contrast, sounds like one of those Haunted House soundtrack tapes you can buy around Halloween except slowed down and with way more fog horns. There is nothing frantic or energetic about this cassette. it doesn't even chug along like a stoner caravan because there is no rhythm. It's what you'd call a harsh noise drone tape.

This disconnect between the design and audio is frustrating. It leaves me questioning the intension of the artist/artists. It's as if the two things cancel each other out, the full impact lost through horrid juxtaposition. It's like ice cream on pizza, I like both ice cream and pizza, but ice cream on pizza sounds terrible. I wouldn't go as far as to say I feel swindled, but the audio of this cassette does not conjure up images of bare skinned sexy ladies, poodles getting their teeth checked out, sparkly pomegranate colored text or navaho rugs.

This music is great if you've just got dumped by your long distance girlfriend via mail while militarily serving in Vietnam or are just watching some creepy snuff movie with the sound off. It does portray dread, hopelessness, emptiness and loneliness pretty well. None of the sounds are recognizable. I can make out a delay pedal here and there and a distant vocal track, but it all lumps together to sound like one big, mean air conditioner from hell.

I guess this is a pretty good release if your thing is harsh noise drone, but it does not hold a candle to the pain and agony harsh noise masters are able to express. This sounds more like the harsh noise of an opium addict stuck in a lotus field as opposed to a dying Warrior like "Prurient".

Also, this thing gets major points taken away for having completely illegible text. The track listing reads "1.Mo(?)e Th(?)n I Owe (ok, I got that one) 2. ????? side (?) - ugh, you get the picture. I don't know where it was recorded even though the artist is trying to tell me.

The cover was done by (????) S(????).

--Jack Turnbull www.jackturnbull.com

1 comment:

  1. Cover by Abbey Lee Sarver,
    Recorded in Philadelphia 2013

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