Monday, June 22, 2009

Hammer of Hathor - Tooth Eeth or Teeth Ooth (Shimmering on a Dim Tide LP)

Got this one a little bit ago as well, this time from Hammer of Hathor with the first LP release on their new label, Shimmering on a Dim Tide. A duo comprised of Mark E. Kaylor and Heather Vergetis, the LP looks, I dare say, spankingly wonderful. Nice uber-light image on the front and white vinyl gives it all a real ethereal look. Rather than complimenting the music though, the look serves the sound more in its opposition than in any mood setting role. Apparently the duo more or less shows up and plays whatever's lying around, making for a raw improv sound that is often focused on repetition and slight change more than endless momentum.

This is apparent from the get-go as "Run Run" features drums and guitar engaging in some pretty minimal dialogue. The guitars endless strumming of one chord rumbles on while the drums clatter along with it. Change does occur, but its more in the way the instruments are hit than in what's getting hit. Almost like some super minimal and loose Branca experiment or something, with a real focus on the repetitious aspects and the variations found within it. The next track is aptly named "Plum Blossom Killer," not necessarily because it sounds like one but because it's such a righteous name and the track is righteous as well. More or less all rhythm, the thing is a real experiment in garbage can gamelan, with some highly capable and taut drum work and odd inside of the piano (maybe?) strums. Nice little mini percussion orchestra thing, and again it goes nowhere, just drifting on nice and nimble-like, skeleton fever style. Seems to be a real focus here on digging themselves into a hole and setting up shop, which I'm all for. Refreshing to hear a rhythm thing too that doesn't veer into tribal pseudo-spirit conjuring. Just sounds straight fun to play in fact. Though I would say that by the end the plum blossoms are still in tact, if a bit loose on the vine.

The second side opens with an odd guitar and drum jangler called "Lady Hermit" that's odd as can be; angular and repetitive, the thing builds into some kind of crunchy take on minimal free jazz, almost like some Blue Humans thing or something. The drummer can really play here, and the odd meter and movement of the guitar lines are well on point. Nice and curious stuff that drifts on for a ways, cresting and crashing back to its origins over and over in some perverse take on verse chorus verse format. The closing "Black Butterfly" is a super stripped back drum, flute, trombone (?) thing that's equal parts Art Ensemble of Chicago and Chicago City Dump. Not unlike Alloy Orchestra's score for Man with a Movie Camera at parts actually. Clattery thumps and bumps accompany the spare order of the various tonalities before some wood block comes in to take it back inward. There's something very structured about all of this actually, almost meditative like some shakuhachi thing. Zen thing going on even, Monkish and ceremonial in the best kind of way. Get the feeling this could have gone on for eight hours, which is always a good feeling and a great way to end this one, which really has a fantastic overall shape and some spectacular moments in there. Nice.

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