Monday, November 3, 2008

WORK / DEATH "Le Corbusier" c20 (Three Songs of Lenin)

First off, Work/Death aesthetic of all Crass style lettering always gets him bonus points in my book, sometimes the releases can look a little similar, but heck, i can go elsewhere for fetishized packaging, and anyways, this is a two color silkscreen on butcher paper, pretty nice looking. The insert unfolds to reveal the series of statements "you think i am ugly," "but this is beacause," "you are a philistine." The assumption is these quotes are relative to the title, Le Corbusier the famous brutalist architect whose work we all know and has been unfortunately the template for low budget 70's population boom buildings (my state school alma mater is perfect example.) The connection isn't insignificant, it's easy to draw a parallel between the critiques of Brutalist architecture and the music (noise) that Work/Death is creating. Often perceived as, well, brutal, huge hulking masses, totally devoid of the flair or signature embellishments associated with a famous architect, his work was often cold, repetitive and made concrete. Still, they conveyed a certain strength, a unity of purpose that made you consider the whole instead of it's parts.

All of this carries over into the recorded work on this tape - one long piece interrupted only by side one of the tape ending - the trajectory is clear and the movement of the music is well controlled. Starting off with a long mid range tone that gets really thick without a lot of low end there isn't an obvious use of loops of layering that usually bothers me when people are trying to build up dense textures. Distorted chunks cut in and out without feeling unharnessed, acting as an accent. (flip the tape) Replacing the heavy chunks the piece enters the shrill territory, creating sound fields that feel like insect swarms or more like the buzzing of a powerline late at night. Just you standing there, staring up above you at massive powerlines and you can hear the energy moving through them in some frantic race. The pieces thins out, ending naturally with pieces falling back and minimizing their role in the structure till yr left with only a minor buzz.

Can't find a website for the label, but you can use the regular old mail
if you're interested:

Three Songs of Lenin
POBox 29680
Providence, RI
02909