Monday, August 6, 2012

Sindre Bjerga and Daniel Spicer - "Voice Studies" #9 & #10 (My Dance the Skull)

On Sindre Bjerga's site this text heads the page in the top right corner, "…cassette player drones and kitchen sink psychedelia, sound ghosts hidden deep in the molten magnetic tapes.. always aiming for that mind-altering head trip…" That statement of purpose pretty much sums up his "Voice Studies" tape as well. The tape features three live performances two in Norway (A side and half of B) and one in Russia (other half of B). Side A is called "The Demise of Personal Hygiene" and I laughed and laughed and laughed some more upon first reading that. How fun! The music is not exactly funny however. A series of gurgles, blonks, boings, and thuds, represent the demise I reckon. The second side has two performances, "Procrastination is the Square Root" and "A Possible Outbreak of Clinical Hysteria." Both continue the contact mic clashing crashing guttural rumble of the A side's piece (with "Outbreak" being an extremely short cut). This makes for a demanding listen. As pure sound, I love it, but for a stroll or vacation drive, I wouldn't listen to this particular experimental tape. The mood just has to strike YOU.
What we have here is a rare opportunity for the reviewer to be the reviewed. Daniel Spicer is a broadcaster, musician, and writer for Wire magazine, if not the best music mag (I think it probably is the best), then certainly the most consistently well-written. Spicer's entry in the "Voice Studies" series (put out by My Dance the Skull - see my previous reviews of Jaap Blonk's and Janek Schafer's contributions) is music for the adventurous listener, not just an adventurous listener. "Let the Body Attend (for Angus MacLise)" is the title of Side A and as you might expect from the dedication, it is a percussion rattling ode to original Velvet Underground member and musician/poet/crazy person Angus MacLise. Spicer yelps the title phrase along with other Gertrude Stein-esque circular verbiage while Evie Spicer (Daniel plays too) beats the hell out of some percussion instruments. This piece is about ten minutes long and quite entrancing. It's definitely an appropriate ode to one extremely idiosyncratic musician. Side B is called "The Diamond Life (for Henry Flynt)" and, like the A side, it is a specific tribute to a music maker who is as out there as they come, Henry Flynt. This piece consists solely of the title phrase, freakout Ornette violin crushing by Spicer and a gaggle of friends making assorted sounds in and around the furious bow & string action. This is wild energy music and something to be excited about. The piece on the A side was good, but "The Diamond Life" is great. CRAZY LISTENING. I would hunt this tape down just to listen to the B side. Daniel Spicer's knowledge of left field music obviously contributes to the success of this cassette. Musicians like MacLise and Flynt are not widely known names, but anyone familiar with the avant-garde would know them. Bravo!

Buy and Listen HERE.

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