Monday, May 3, 2010
Mortuus Auris & The Black Hand - Freiheit ist immer Freiheit der Andersdenkenden (Stunned Records CS)
Latest batch from Stunned is, as always with that glorious operation, sold out completely. Seems they've got a healthy enough following by now that they've been eeking the production runs up ever so slightly, which is great news always for the world. This batch is amazing as always, so it's no surprise either, though a sad day did arrive in the form of the label's last CD-R edition (an incredible disc by Sparkling Wide Pressure). The CD is dead and the tape is back? What is this world coming to?! (Something good)...
Anyhoo, speaking of strange operations, Mortuus Auris whips one out here in a big way. A full hour long offering, the album starts with a blast of screwed screams and chopped noises before tapering out into blooping oscillations and wooden rotary blades tapping ping-pong balls rapidly against a mare's back. Apparently the whole thing incorporates patterns found in spider webs, fishing nets and tantric sex as it's organizing principle, which might explain the sensuous quality of each little snippet that's together here. There's a warmth to it all, but also a hollow shell, an empty space outlined by defining principles. Geometric it may be, but it exudes a more organic loose feel than that, despite it all appearing fairly closely composed and restrained. Hold it together with a silk thread and maybe you'll achieve enlightenment. In a strictly post-industrialist, pre-arachnid way of course.
Always seemed to me like people just took their releases on Stunned more seriously than usual. These things are always well conceived, always carefully concocted, always well recorded, etc. etc. Each little world on this label has got to be met head on, and whether you like it or not you've gotta give props for that kind of commitment. This work isn't drone, but it's got elements of it. It doesn't read as composition either, but that's there. And it's not noise at all, but it's playing it's part here too. More like a soundtrack to some tropical noir film, two worlds clashing up against one another and finding a new space. Good stuff, and lovingly treated as it always is. Sleeper status on it, so have a zonk.
On the Riggs tip I just mentioned, it's great to see established dudes taking new blood under the wings and giving them some exposure. Riggs certainly deserves it, and so does Chris Dadge, Bug Incision head honcho and percussion maestro deluxe. Fresh off a trip playing with dudes like Eugene Chadbourne (a personal favorite...) Mats Gustafsson, Dadge met up with electric guitarist Simeon Abbott for these two jams, and he sounds stronger than ever. Maybe it's that special Chadbourne punch, but me thinks it's just Dadge doing what Dadge do best, collaborating in super loose improv sessions that dangle ideas around like fireflies over a pond.
First track moves through some wild territory real quick. The percussion is always drawn out and glommed up, like splashing a bag of nickels on a diamond back skull and letting it rust over for a few millennia before picking it up with a contact mic. Abbott's jangling guitar cycles around itself with a hollow reverberation that's often prettier than your usual extended technique go-to's, chiming along like some undersea buoy signal. WIld stuff that convulses out once in a while before settling into a groove, nodding it's head down for a snooze before waking with a snap just as soon as the REM sets in. And hwen it wakes it wakes, fritzing about like a Carl Stalling score played on a kitchen sink next to the refrigerator box. Maniacally quick discussions that change topics speedy as a binge drinking flea frat. But more fun than that. Come to think of it, what could be less fun than that?!
Second track opens with some Atari style electronic mulch which, by the way, they've been incorporating in various forms throughout the proceedings. Sounds like a straight up Speak & Spell glitched over, and while that usually leaves me cold as ice and willing to sacrifice, this time around Dadge jumps on board for a duet with the thing, laying all his spoons out in disarray for some real illogical motivational speaking. Orator: Spell CAREEN. Kid: Z-O-N-K-E-D L-O-G-I-C. Or something like that. Sometimes you get straight up moments of hoe-down hijinks, but mostly it's sans hoe-down and pro high-jinx, Dick Dale gone awry. Killer sets both, and grabable where grabables are had.
Gino Robair / Christopher Riggs - Punishment Allows the Evolution of Cooperation (Holy Cheever Church Records CS)
Riggs dropped his latest batch yesterday, which got me thinking about this little number again. I've been spinning it on near repeat for nigh a month now, but as so often happens with these kinds of tapes it gets stuck in my deck and without a review. Well here's a review, damn it.
Gino Robair is, I believe, the drummer for Schnuffler, whose tape on Holy Cheever got the review treatment a ways back. Beyond that though, dude's played with the likes of Anthony Braxton and Tom Waits, so right off the bat you know he's a heavy hitter. So this one really fits the bill as a meeting of the minds, cross pollination, generation Q merger of sorts, Riggs repping the new style hard while Robair brings a taste of class and history to the proceedings. Not that it matters at all of course once it gets down to the sounds... whole thing begins like some malnourished farmyard get down, chain link fence and corn huskers rattling away over the rooster caws. Really strange stuff that opens up into a slinky of textural gratings and percussive mishaps. Incredible how on the same tip these two are right from the jump off... not a single move sounds out of place. Robair even pulls of some Tietchens bloops and plops on his kit while Riggs saws gentle nocturnes into your cranium from behind. Restless stuff that sounds as process oriented as it does improvisational. Where are we in the continuum?!!
Halfway between the AMM types and Mimaroglu, that's where. Skittered acoustic textures that sound like circuitry gone wild in a basement gamelan setup while some throat singing yak herder thaws out his skins and sings a little tune. Just as gone as it is there, just as rich as it is bare. So great to see Robair and guys like Morris trading jabs with the younger crowd, as it signifies the life of what is too often considered a dying breed of improv. The whole beauty of it, it seems to me, is that there's an infinite variety of combinations due to the internal logic of the best's playing. So just mash em up and see where it goes. Thick bass dub over string cries? You got it. Droned out hyperbolic Himalayan artifacts? Sure. These tapes are going to be classics by the time Riggs is done with it, so if you're not on the bandwagon you best get there now. Get your kids through college easy... hell, if you're nice to him I bet he'll even sign it for you: To Johnny. Scriiiiiiiittttttttzzzzzzzzccccccchhhh. Best Wishes, Chris. Now there's an artifact...
Sunday, May 2, 2010
Whoa whoa whoa. A lot of stuff to cover from the front here (Bug Incision, Holy Cheever, Stunned, Anarchymoon, etc. etc.) but I had to start with this little guy from local yokel Nathaniel Brennan's spanking new (well, officially anyway...) label Ghetto Naturalist Series. Brennan's been at it a long time under the Cruudeuces moniker, always releasing killer little oddities from the backside of his brain but now he's taken on new screwballs too in the name of dispersal of his twisted aesthetic. This one finds the label kingpin matching minds with Gii, who is Joe Hydoski who is, well, who knows actually?! Perfect introduction to the label of course.
First side kicks off with the Hydoski mystery man himself, , whose "Meth Rage Wore Off, Maybe Not" is a totally glommed and bombed bit of funky distorto crunch that lurches around in true crud fashion. Couldn't be a more perfect name for a label that houses something like this. Dirty stuff that grinds and splices its way through itself, barely holding on by a thread as it wraps around and in on itself. Hangover cure galore before "Lost Extremities" cuts the hands off the first track and torches them back onto some broken tree legs. Skin meets bark, heart meets trunk, synth meets scuzz, buzz meets hush. Real nowhere goings here, weird buzz beamed episodes of bugged out melodrama. Melodic though, real pretty and twangy. Almost like Duane Eddy's gone and jammed over some Small Cruel Party or Yeast Culture track but with a real direction forward. Undulate restless vibes, undulate. Blown to bits too, for the too-drowned-to-function crowd. Holler.
Brennan's side offers up two tracks as well, untitled both and straight from some illogical foreign terrain. Lung fish meet Saturn squish stuff that's rudderless enough to warrant some real zoned vibes, but with a thoughtful (as always) treatment of mood and feel. Explorations of the strange atmospheres created by strange atmospheres, where mind meets ribcage. Brennan's sense of shape and internal logic has expanded so much over a pretty short period here, and the rate that he's moving at is outrageously exciting. Tea kettle whistles and a thick drone line delayed to nowhere are all the man needs for his tactile traipsing about. Then the clarinet comes in and it's like a whole Heath Moerland thing, only still and dark and without the elastic gyrations of Sick Llama's stuff. Just straight weirdo haven't-a-clue pops and fizzes here. Beautiful stuff in the vein of other beautiful stuff (you fill in the blank). Grab it at label headquarters: limited to 30, and you gotta catch em all!