Saturday, August 06, 2005

This is much more entertaining than this.

The previous post was supposed to be about new EAR-BLEEDING LYSERGIC RAWK instead of addiction, but I went off on a tangent. It happens. Sorry. The original point was supposed to be something to the effect that the music should be and really is the drug. After you've binged on some visceral rhythmic discord you can refile the CD and/or LP and repeat forever; the only thing you'll really have to fear is a ruptured eardrum or two.

When it comes to hearing loss, sensory distortion, maximal sound of all kinds, Matt Bower and Marcia Bassett's Hototogisu takes the shit cake by storm. "Green" (Heavy Blossom), their first widely available CD, is the kind of molten lava wwwaaarrgh and splaaaanng that a lot of people have been making lately, but Bower and Bassett wrote the book on this shit years ago, and HOTOTOGISU is merely the latest and arguably greatest realization of an endless aural orgasm. There was a brief period in the mid 90s when Skullflower played a primal free jazz/metal skree overload that was perfectly realized on their "Carved Into Roses" CD (VHF). "Green" works like that; only the duo streamlines and compresses the tantric throng down to a propulsive fireball of skull crushing fury. Not to suggest that this is harsh noise...It is, but its aim is more elevated in the biomechanicalspiritual sense. It's like the musical equivalent to some sort of cathartic drug trip where you realize/understand everything across all dimensions simultaneously. And it's heavy. Guitars, mountains of effects, drums collide as a volcano expelling a constant stream of early industrial, primitive electronica, distorted GOO whose lineage can be traced from the early Velvets and Pink Floyd right up to My Bloody Valentine, Fushitsusha and of course Skullflower. Drop the laser down at any point and I'm immediately flung into a tsunami of ecstasy and rage. As if this all wasn't enough to keep my active noize junkie ass busy, SKULLFLOWER IS BACK! Bower has closed the Sunroof for a while, given Total a break and reanimated his original Frankennzilla of rock. Skullflower today sounds sort of like a cross between ye of old and Sunroof, and yes, the Hototogisu. There's lots of lasers and flange shooting back and forth across this radioactive shitstorm, Bower's guitar stuck in a lockgroove of howling dissonance and Spacemen 3 hypno-groove. As with "Green," "Orange Canyon Mind" (Crucial Blast) is a record to be surrendered to as the ghosts of Ash Ra, Harmonia, Faust and Merzbow pass ever closer before finally fusing into one magnificent beast.

Speaking of the more mongrel among us, always fine to see the Dead C back in the game, this time sharing a split 12" (Fat Cat) with wacked out Congolese street jazz/noise ensemble Konono No. 1. They're new to me too, but the buzz is rightly reverberating around these ethno-drones, chants and polyrhythmic percussive flows. They're going to be featured on NPR's The World this Monday (08/08/05), so check those listings for the scoop on some real deal industrial freakbeat. The Dead C delivers three more brilliant slabs of clangy stomp and skree that alternates between nutty tape manipulations and more rhythmic quagmires. Seething noise blues is the end result, and Robbie Yeats is still the best drummer since Neil Peart.

That brings me to Sunburned Hand of the Man's "No Magic Man." Seems like a lotta man's, man. Sometimes I feel these guys; sometimes I don't. Their rambling free form hippie acid/turntable/noise/etc is so scattered/far out there that I find myself wishing their albums came with a skeleton key that unlocked the hidden meaning of it all. Still haven't figured it out, and I don't really care to when the results are this pleasantly burnt. In fact, this is pretty much as good as this sorta stuff gets with its warped opener of old spoken word, surface and tape noise "sounds of hell" and more eventually cooked to a crisp and chilled across 11 compact, loosely rendered sonic expeditions. "The Air Itself" is quite Sun City Girls with Brooklynite spoken word over analog whirrrs and Hawkwind whoosh. Other spots make me think of Funkadelic, Comus, Nurse with Wound, along with the usual suspects. The tribal chants and primitive kraut pulse of "Your Own Eyes and Number None" build to Faustlike proportions, and closer "Gather Round" is funky echo drenched acid party sorta like "Maggot Brain" banged out of the bottom of a well. While we're down here may as well see what the always cosmically informed Third Troll is blabbing on about. "III" (Capillary River) is I believe my first exposure to this Bardo Pond offshoot, though I've been aware of it for many moons. These are dense epics of extended drone and building space rock that run from the most primitive industrial murk (guitars, electronics, shortwave, farfisa, etc) to full on rhythmic jazz evocation (the above plus heavy percussion and sax). The 21 min "Tropic of Entropy" seems to sum it all up well enough. Tony Conrad and Faust, Ash Ra Tempel, Xhol at their most long gone, among others...

And now allow me to introduce this year's newest model, Brisbane, Australia's G55. "Who is that" you say? Almost two years ago now strange rumblings were first felt with the arrival of the mysterious Lost Domain via the excellent Rhizome microlabel. It signaled a major exhalation from the lungs of "free electronic jazz noise," that's since blown further on the even more ghostly "Sailor, Home From the Sea," courtesy of Digitalis/Broken Face. Little did I know that it was just the tip of the iceberg for the loose conglomeration of musicians and noisemakers that comprise the Kindling empire. G55, a trio featuring two members of the LD, is just the latest manifestation from this hallucination factory. If the Lost Domain is levitated and ghostly, G55 is an entirely more mechanical post punk beast. In fact these 7 charging improvisations are some of the most perfectly realized blasts of pure rhythm and sound I've come across all year. G55 might suggest many previous ground-breakers--This Heat, Bablicon, Faust and Dead C among them--but strikes out for deeper waters and a purer evocation by leaving cumbersome details like lyrics, song titles and any recognizable form behind. Elements of Lou Reed's "Metal Machine Music," the Magic Band, Vibracathedral Orchestra are dropped into a cauldron, stirred and melted down to white hot sound. The way this trio goes from a squawking minimal noise blurt, expands it into a primitive krautrock pulse and finally blasts off for the deepest regions of space over the first three tracks alone is mindblowing--makes me think of early Kraftwerk's rawness combined with the scope of their later more realized works. This lo-fi art whatzit is some of the most satisfying pulse and churn I've ever heard, no lie at all. Given it was all improvised and recorded live in one day (!) makes it all too obvious: G55 is one to watch closely and consume impulsively like so many little pink pills. Bravo, lads.

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