MMNNSSD “Exiting the Infirmary” (self-released)

Philly eats its own tail, the snake chomping down, feasting on shit and entrails. But that’s Philly. You can’t explain Philly to someone who hasn’t spent an inordinate amount of time there (like I have). Basically, you have to hope the person who needs an explanation can hack it long enough to decide whether they love it or hate it. Some just run screaming within minutes of getting caught in traffic along the Schuylkill Expressway. Others decide it’s just better to not get off 95 after all.

Then, there are those who love it. Those who can tap into its idiosyncrasies and curiosities. Those who draw inspiration from its decrepitude hidden just beneath the surface of a thin veil of respectability. (And, truly, the veil is thin.) MMNNSSD, the duo of Mark Dilks and Marc Zajack, sticks a needle deep into the city’s vein and extracts some kind of blood-substance that they subsequently sprinkle on their recordings. “Exiting the Infirmary,” a painfully accurate summation of what it’s like to wake up every morning there, is an off-kilter barrage of electoacoustic/found-sound/folk/noise/tribal  sound art, a surprisingly penetrable series of pieces that continually warps itself in surprising ways the further it goes.

Perhaps nothing gets to the heart of the MMNNSSD vibe than “Longest 3 minuetes [sic] of my life,” a squirrely mashup of source material that sounds like the cassette deck it’s playing through is situated underneath an industrial magnet. It’s gripping stuff, certainly not drawn out, nor does it overstay its welcome. By the time a hip hop track breaks through the static and the noise, all bets are off. It’s Philly in all its trash-heaped mayhem and glory, catalogued in three minutes, a microcosm of a cassette tape and a lifestyle. I wouldn’t even begin to change anything about it.