Bull Tongue 28
Exploring the Voids of All Known Undergrounds Since 2002
by Byron Coley and Thurston Moore
Make Sense is a cassette from Projekt Hat released on the thinking man's Swedish noise label, Segerhuva. A great label which has primarily issued LPs and CDs of harrowing music abuse from stalwart nightmare creeps like Mnem, Sewer Election, Edwige, Blood ov thee Christ, Ochu and Blod. All very heavy and essential death drip listening. Projekt Hat is unknown to us but have some kind of pedigree with those following the Swedish hell scene. Or maybe they don't, but it certainly sounds like they are really in the moment of an amazing and supremely horror-blasted noise bloom. This is a killer recording as good as anything "pro" from the contempo noise world, which means nothing, but it's a striking session with more rhythm and harmonic shitstorm killerness than a lotta the wall of spray gunk so prominent.
Brian Berger is sort of a maniac and dangerous to encourage, but this new book that he and Marshall Berman edited, New York Calling (Reaktion Books) is really a great anthology. Everybody we talk to who remembers New York before it became a fucking Disney subsidiary moans about the current lack of soul on Gotham's streets. It's not easy to say exactly why we loved the place more when it was a mess and a disaster, but it's clear we do. There was a crazy vibrancy to the town that has clearly gone missing in the new Trump era. New York Calling collects essays by a swell bunch of writers - from Jim Knipfel to Richard Meltzer to Tom Robbins to Robert Sietsema - all of whom memorialize things and people and places that seem to have been lost forever. It's a wonderful read, and brings the scent of five day old garbage to our snoots like nothing else we can think of. Breathe deep.
Man just when you think you got the whole Finnish folk-sex-kosmiche-love-trip-psyche cassette lal-lal-lal maniac's dream machine down, along comes a strange new cassette comp called Puistokiitajainen (Carabus Hortensis) (Bem Bole Cassettes). All the names on this lovely spinning flower of a hissing ferrous oxide wonder are a mystery to us. No islaja's or Kemialliset Ystaevaets but some new weirdness from Adolf Hiller, Amigo Result, Krax Orchestra, Jump P.A. and the Guitar That wasn't Mine, Kanttoripoika and a bunch more all playing the delicate sub-fi lilt we crave. Finland sliced our brains out with early '80s hardcore amazingness and now they are soothing us into sweet snowy guh. Love it to death. Not sure where the hell you can find this but seems Aquarius in S.F. still has some listed.
Another version of Finnish fever is available on Uton's Alitaju Yliminai LP (Dekorder). Uton is Jari Hirvonen, who has released about a jillion cassettes and CDRs, but this is a proper album and the ease of format is a plus. The music is a crumbling, abstract landscape, created from whale bones, tied together with windharp strings, and blown into tuneshape by Olympian lips. It's hard to tell where one sound begins and another one starts, but the mood goes from droning elegance to tattered woolen thuds faster than any man could ever blink his ass. Parts are very psychedelic, but not as overall psychedelic as the cover art, which almost glows like Huichol bead work. A happy day awaits you.
The Chicago Underground Duo/Trio/Quartet/Whatever is fine band which has existed in a variety of formats over the years, while remaining a vehicle for the work of cornetist Rob Mazurek and drummer, Chad Taylor. On Chronicle (Delmark), the pair is joined by bassist Jason Ajemian, and the results are boss. All the players double on electronics and percussion at various times, and the music - while rooted in jazz - is no more doctrinaire than the oddest of Don Cherry's albums. Recorded live (there is also a DVD of the performance available), the music is a splattery, flowing mix of improvisational inventions that take all sorts of forms. All of the players stand out on their primary instruments at points, but they are as likely to fall into waterfall of electronic gushes.
If the first slough of tapes from new UK label Abandon Ship is any inclination we're in for some sweet sailing with these squabs. The first release is from Los Angeles mystery index (VxPxCx) whose Reticent To Manifest tape is classic NOW thought-drudge od a post-Skaters-ism holding hands with Pocohaunted haze. Truly choice and a worthy intro to the Spectre Folk (Pete Nolan of Magik Marker's solo joint) and Quetzolcoatl tapes which follow in this label's excited series. Nolan yu know and Quetzolcoatl you need to know as they've been drooping cruicial huzz for a coupla years now all of which is continuously boss.
Irukandji's Prey for Me i-v LP (RRR) is one of the better sounding noise peckers of recent vintage. From Cape Cod, Michael Page (also of Fire in the Head) manages to create an aura of screaming agony without tearing your head off in the process. The one-sided album (which actually has two sides, but both are the same) approaches the harshess of power electronics is some ways, but always manages to pull back and mess around with a bunch of swiggling croak generators just about the moment your attention is getting ready to flag. While not exactly make-out music, there's a weird depth to this piece, making me think of having sex on hot cinders in the ruins of a freshly torched Walmarts. Or something like that. The companion cassette, Pulp Electronics i-xi (Anxiety Attack), is a little more relentless, but still eminently beat-offable, with lots of pseudo-music wedged into the cracks between the rasps.
We've been wanting to hear more from the strange world of Maine, a state mostly "remembered" by us for the hardcore head-scratch of The Neos, whose Hassiban Gets The Martian Brain Squeeze 7", although actually Canadian, had us convinced it was the Northern Northern New England tits straight up when it first appeared in the early '80s. Those more in the actual Maine "know" hang at the Strange Maine store in Portland, which germinates much local musical weirdness, or..uh..strangeness. An excellent place to hear some of this outsider lovetoneism is on the new L'animaux Tryst (field) Recordings cassette comp If A Tree Falls In The Forest Can We Record It? Wonderful spook hoot form Aphelion Shelter, chooped and chewed tape manip from the always dependable Id M Theft Able and sweet moves from the fascinating Visitations, from who we NEED to hear more from. Also klassik krazed kroog from hyper-documented Crank Sturgeon.
Taurpis Tula used to be a pretty mild mannered kinda unit. At least at times. But with this new LP, Cadillac Sitting Like a Ton of Lead (Ikuisuus), they seem to have really left that all behind them for good. The band is a Scotland-based trio, with Alex Neislon on drums, Heather Leigh Murray on vocals and lap steel, and David Keenan on guitar. Both of the side-long wanders here are free range form blow-outs, marked by deliberately stumpy psychedelic guitar moaning, and rhythms that collapse as they build like tin foil skyscraoers. Prmitive in the extreme, this is a skull-load of other-world-music blasted out of plugged rifles. Very gear indeed.
Milwaukee noise resident Peter J. Woods has a project called Raperies (Like Draperies), either the worst or best name for a noise act ever, and he has just released an intriguing cassette called Romanticized Nights Alone on the VFE label. It is fantastic. Woods seems to be one of the new generation youth-masters of creating hybrid old school/new death noise pollution without the putrid sense of having to showing off arcane references. Fresh meat thrills. This cassette is already a significant session for 2007 and worth hunting for.
Michael "Mick" Flower has followed up his tip-top collaboration with Chris Corsano, by releasing a brilliant solo LP called Return to Knowing Nothing (QBICO). Like other members of the Vibracathedral tribe, Mick is best know for the generation of scrambled long tones, but this collection of tracks from tour CDRs, is as busy as a bucket of beavers. Most of the work is string-based (or so I assume) but it clucks like several carloads of fat red hens sitting on railroad tracks. It's tough to decide at times what the heck instrument Mick's playing or if he's screwing around with recording speed or what. The music has a tenndecy to blur at the edges and then curve back in on itself like some sorta extra flexible princess. Which isn't to say there aren't any drones; there are, they just happen fatsre than most drones you know, manifesting an edge at times recalling the late, lamented Sun City Girls. Anyway, this is a good one. And you knw what they say about good.
Belgium has amongst its Flemish finery some of the most outstandingly bizarre 'n bonkerific artistes on thee planet. One of the best and weirdest is . Jelle's work has graced some beautiful record covers, cassettes, etc. the last few years. Our Belgium boy has a new cassette label called Zeikzak and one release on it is Treetops, which is Mike Pollard, the dude who runs the Arbor CDR label. Big droned out reverb chambers of howling moisture fill the tape and it's a sometimes gorgeous, sometimes night-splitting yowl of a flow. More Treetops can be found on the split they have with Detroit's cranked and crunked Villa Valley, a group we thought we're gonna be kinda pleasant but are indeed harsh and rough and on this split, pretty goddamn ruling.
There has been a woeful lack of new reading matter (and viewing matter) sent in recently., which is really sort of a drag for those moments we want to rest our ears and damage our eyes instead, Still, there have been a few things. Issue #4 of Mule had provided some relief. This Tennessee and/or Chicago-based 'zine mixes art and music coverage in a far better than average way. There are interviews with folks like Sun Ra's old sideman, Phil Cohran, Roky Erickson documentaty director Kevin McAlester, and a funny question session with Josephine Foster done by Plastic Crimewave. There's also a bunch of fashion pics, art stuff and writing about culture that doesn't press any kinda instant-gag-button. Which, right there, is enough to make us say thanks.
Bee Mask is this dude Chris who lives in Cleveland, Ohio but we think he may have inhabited some space and time at the legendary Hampshire College of Amherst, Massachusetts. That's where we spied him hanging out on the Emeralds / Tusco Terror tour earlier this year. He handed off some of his wares to us, which was hep particularly since we were curious about this Bee Mask kid from some nice n' gnarled drone guh we'd experienced on various tapes with his name attached. We recommend searching out his Dark Address cassette on the Sound Holes label. As described by the label: "Know that scene from the nikk cage version of the wicker man movie (film rules) when the villagers put the BEE MASK over his face...... "NO...NOT THE BEEEESSS"...... A side = villagers state of mind B side = nikk cage's PAIN......." - well yeh the A side does evoke a certain kind of sweet nihil psychosis, but the B side is hardly a blood and pain splatter, though it does have a nice ripping shard storm going for it. Totally NICE in its own right and it actually returns to the more harmonious nature of side A by its final salute. You owe it to yourself to get to know Bee Mask.
Tom Darksmith from San Francisco, known solely as Darksmith, has been scrambling mental waves ever since releasing two weird and wired tapes on his own label Mom Costume Tapes. Real zonked home style industrial wobble and real focused and listenable. Turn that rotting fan blade into killer cassette sound. Dead in the concrete visuals make the pain even more excellent. Boss shit and Darksmith has a new gnarler on Hanson as well.
Super Scissors (Rainfall) is an extremely lovely 3CD set that combines Barbara Manning's first two LPs (Lately I Keep Scissorsand One Perfect Green Blanketii) with a bunch of bonus tracks on the latter one, and a whole 'nother disk of demos and home recordings. For anyone who considers (as we do), Scissors, to be one of the most beautiful albums ever recorded, it's kinda nice they chose to leave it just as it is - a ten song collection that is without peer. Manning had taken her roots in rock (28th Day and World of Pooh) and created a work that brought her folkie lyrics to the fore without sacrificing her music's crunchy center. The sounds here are a full-fledged hybrid, or synchretic fusion, of folk and rock and punk and post-punk, all created in the furnace of Barbara's imagination. At the time these were recorded she was (as we recall), heavily in the sway of the New Zealand underground, and her work is analogous to the best of the Flying Nun/Xpressway scene's more melodically-inclined combos. It's a superb set, and deserves to be everywhere. Now..
Arizona has the good fortune of having James Fella not only running the Gilgongo Records empire of regional experimental and thrash-damage weirdness (see/hear! e.g.: George Moshington (!)) but Fella himself releasing his solo sound-world. His cassette Nomadic Sounds, co-released with the C-Salt label is excellent. Tape rumbling, bells chiming, heart in the clouds music-love. And it's really short, like some kinda Tempe daydream.
We weren't planning to write about Kendra Steiner Editions again so soon, but what the hec? There's a new batch, and they will not be denied. Bill Shute's Rocket Attack U.S.A.!!! is the first volume in the "cinema poetry" series, and it offers a splattered cubist vision of science fiction hell. Michael Ceralo's More Euclid Creek is half an ode to a dead mother/neighborhood, and half about what a drag it is to work. Very Cleveland, these poems. And very good, too. Doug Draime & Bill Shute's Next Exit: One is great. The poets write in turn, each appearing to detail the things you can find (or not) near the varous borders of various states. An excellent conceptual pairing. Michael Casey's The Bopper is a funny set of poems about office life, which may make you shiver in recognition of traits you wished yo'd been able to forget. K.M. Sersley's Retropsective Forecasts is very English in its language, but seems rather more American in its rhythms and use of loser imagery. We need to read it a few more times to rally figure it out, but that won't be a burden by any stretch. Luis Cuauhtemoc's Without Peace is a strong piece of work, representing a cycle of eight poems that feel as though they're about schizophrenia. In all, this is another really admirable batch of work from KSE - a company that we dare say has probably issued more volumes of high quality poetry in the last year than most publishers will in a lifetime. The books are small, side stapled and created with an eye towards allowing the average dude (or dudette) a way to get into poetry without spending a lot of money. Ecah of the collections they release is bite-sized, but capable of supplying enough vital STUFF to keep your brain chewing for a good long while. Don't not-check this stuff out.
JK Tapes has started out the warm season of 2007 with a solid sampler of underground all-over-the-place outside-all-known-portals unruly rock n spoo, a double cassette called EPICOMP TAPE or just JK TAPE 1 but whatever it's called, it looks beautiful and if it's any indication of what is really happening in the kitchens, garbage cans, firehouses, bedroomz, tea parlors across this fucked North American landscape then it is time to fucking smile cuz the bulk of this puh RULES. No doubt, choice bites from Shearing Pinx, Gastric Female Reflex, Silver Daggers, Child Pornography, Foot Foot, The Sharp Ease, The Futurians, Tent City, Warmth, Treetops, Haunted Castle and a crammed record bag full of less known noms. This is primarily NOT noisenik crush but more destroyed pop basement genius.
Abandon Ship: www.abandonshiprecords.com
Anxiety Attack: www.soundofamxiety.com
Aquarius Records: www.aquariusrecords.org
Arbor CDR: www.arborcdr.com
Bee Mask: www.myspace.com/beemask
Gilgongo Records: www.gilgongorecords.com
JK Tapes: www.jktapes.tk
Kendra Steiner Editions: email@example.com
LĠanimaux Tryst (field) Recordings : Lanimauxtryst.blogspot.com
Raperies (Like Draperies): http://myspace.com/raperieslikedraperies
Reaktion Books: www.reaktionbooks.co.uk
Sound Holes: www.sndhls.com
Strange Maine: strangemaine.blogspot.com