Thursday, May 24, 2012


A more thorough accounting of the work of the very long lived and spectacular D.I.Y. art damage unit Bomis Prendin (both an individual within the group and the name of the group itself, for those who don't know) will be running this Friday in my Ad Hoc review of their new split LP with Mama Bær on Domestic Violence Records. At hand right now though is a promo-only split CDR between Bomis Prendin and experimental electronic musician Eric Lunde that was privately issued on a related sub-label to Domestic Violence in advance of the Bomis & Mama Bær split LP and that contains almost a full further album's worth of material from them as well as two short bits of opposite-ends-of-the-spectrum extremity from Mr. Lunde. 

The Bomis material on this split release still exhibits some trace genetic characteristics of the Ralph Records-damaged DNA encoding that caused them to produce the two masterful art pop flexi-discs that landed them on the Nurse With Wound list of recommendations and most collector's radars, but with their angle of attack here having morphed from squirrely and brief song form detonations to the more distended investigations heard here, which varies between a hazy form of improvisationally extended acid rock akin to early, live Cul De Sac on the cuts "Gorgeous And Rotten" & "Saturday Space Walk" and the smeared and dazed slurry of beats, buzz and gibberish that is "My Itchy Friend". 

The sound of Bomis Prendin's earlier era will soon be made available for your predilection circa my next set of posts, via their career crowning mid 80's tape-only release Clear Memory. For now though, this serves as a perfect adjunct to my Ad Hoc review of 'em. As for Mr. Lunde's two pieces, having had little in the way of prior experience with his work, it's hard to contextualize just what's intended by the first track's untouched location recordings or the followings one's single, piercing howl of distortion or how either relate to his larger body of work. I'll just leave that to you to figure out.

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A sub-underground musical institution in Spain at the time of their existence during the 80's and 90's, Macromassa was formed around the core duo of Juan Crek and composer/organizer/writer/Renaissance man Victor Nubla but remained open-ended in the extreme, with 146 other participants having come and gone during their lifetime. For a group with so many other cooks in the kitchen, there's a remarkably strong feel of continuity between all off their work, which finds its corollary in the kind of French fringe R.I.O. of the 80's that involves whimsical art rock arrangements atop spluttery drum machines and dislocated dialogues between sax and synth gurgle, like Alesia Cosmos, Axolotl and Birge/Gorge/Shiroc. Much of their discography can be downloaded in its entirety from their own site here but as for the album of Macromassa covers at hand? Well, unless you plan on giving yourself a crash course in their music in advance, the covers heard here will be sans reference for many, but don't let that stop you. There's a fantastic range of fringe talent bringing their "A" game across this uniformly strong compilation, including the grand old man of lopsided Gallic whimsy, Pascal Comelade (the only non-Spanish contributor here), whose darkly clattering and emotional cover of Amuleto from the "Macromissa" LP sits next to the Goebbels & Harth-like pan-cultural speaker scramble of cult faves Clonicos in providing the albums peak moments.

1. Sociedades En Tetrabrik-La Facil Lectura De Los Hechos
2. Clonicos-Comunicaciones Con Cara De Asco
3. Lattosso-Sorpresa
4. Superelvis-Viejo Leon
5. Pascale Comelade-Amuleto
6. Pere Boada, Alicia Martínez & Oriol Perucho-El Espigado Aspecto De Martinez
7. El Sirera_Tientos y Navajas-Solo Pez
8. Antonio Murga & Locos de Atar-Macromissa
9. Carter Piler-Sorpresa
10. Koniec-Primeras Impresiones
11. Tina Girl-Yo No Soy El Omitologo

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Sent in trade to me a million years ago by Aaron Moore of Volcano The Bear (so hello and thanks, if you're out there...), this somehow managed to get overlooked by me 'til now, but as artifacts of the deeply inscrutable go, this one's proved to be right up there with the all timers. According to their Last.FM page, and I quote "The Köyhät Ritarit (Poor Knights) have specialised (sic) in the dramatic performance of ancient Finnish and European vocal music to the accompaniment of instruments. Their repertoire also includes commissioned modern secular and church music.", but that bit of info in no way prepares you for the onslaught of utter bizarreness that ensues here. Yes, for something about a Finnish  "Bear Feast" one might expect some primal grunting from the dark forests, but the combination of moan 'n' groan ritualistic improv, lilting acid folk and abrasive group shout-at-thons right out of the playbook of Mieskuoro Huutajat (the Finnish screaming men's choir) is truly a singular achievement and offers an equally interesting window into how this material might have influenced Volcano The Bear's own arsenal of ritualistic improv maneuvers. Alas, resisting the impulse to share the pic of them resplendent in the finest bathing gear from their Last.FM page proved futile, so, er…behold that too.

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An epic entry into the drone music canon, this work from conceptual/performance/sound artist Terry Fox inhabits a zone of long-string drone avant garde action more readily associated with the likes of Ellen Fullman or Paul Panhuysen and his Het Apollohuis productions, though Fox marks out a singular stance for himself here. Side two's Rallentando occupies the more expected territory of the two, teasing out a transportive range of vibratory excitation from rosin stroked piano wire, two cellos and a double bass. This occupies a region not at all dissimilar to the autumnally tinged universe of stacked and strafed string drag advanced by Richard Skelton projects like Caroussel, Harlassen or A Broken Consort and is a damn lovely thing to behold, but it's side A's Berlino that genuinely startles. Comprised of six sets of sounds cross-cut against each other at varying degrees and times, Berlino is both a singularly unnerving and singularly fascinating listen. Unpacking the highly involved schematics of Fox's score here is a stiff task ("Soundmapping" the region of Berlin outside his temporary studio residence, transposing centimeters to seconds, "topographical dissimilarities" being assigned letters, etc), but what's available to our ears here is compelling enough; Fox having broken down these "soundmaps" and realized them in a score involving six sounds intervening unexpectedly against one another: 1) an instrument bowed in a cavity beneath a sidewalk, 2) parallel piano wires beaten with chopsticks, 3), a helicopter fly-over, 4) a long single piano wire bowed with a steel bar, 5) rain, thunder and bells of a nearby church and 6) the same as number 1, but taped on a different day in which "it made a sound as strange as the shape of the horsehead nebula". 'Nuff said.

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Comprised of one-time After Dinner avant chanteuse Haco on voice, theremin and effects, the improvising koto player Michiyo Yagi and the sine-wave-abusing soon-to-be titan of the Onkyo improv scene Sachiko M on sampler, Happy Mail offers up a fucked and fabulous melange of art pop warpage, media virus contaminated software melee and the stacked or garlanded skeins of skittery scrape and pointillistically percussed string/bridge action wrought from Michiyo Yagi's koto.

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As an supplement to my customary five posts, I'm offering this little pointer to those illuminated by the recherche strains of junkyard exotica emanating off the Gonk CD that I shared semi-recently and who are fascinated to see where that lead to. Said folks will wanna make a bee-line over to the Worm Interface Records site, where the entirety of Dunderhead's Bee Cave Sounds is now being made available for free download. The project of one Nigel Smith, Dunderhead was his solo alias after his years of work in the Gonk duo, and sets forth a highly seductive set of electronic jazz interventions that flit around the edges of both Atom Heart territory (via Flanger or The Roger Tubesound Ensemble) and the Squarepusher of Music Is Rotted One Note, but wormholes beneath these signifiers into zones of heavy-lidded dislocation that are all Smith's own.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Heatheavyhorseblanketweather, the third and final advance track from the forthcoming Michael Alan Alien & Vas Deferens Organization collaboration LP is now at hand. Come sup from the teat of our hydra-headed beast here  

This is also a heads up to let all of you know that Michael Alan Alien's new self-titled CD on Bedbug Records is now out and, in addition to containing "Scrumpie Baby's Monkey Scabies",  his track together with Vas Deferens Organization that will also soon be appearing on our collaborative LP on our Puer Gravy label, this also contains Michael's recent collaborations with a host of notables including Renaldo of Renaldo & The Loaf, Jeff & Jane Hudson,  Kenny Scharf, Jello Biafra, Japanther and many others. It's available directly from his website here


Highly infectious idiosyncrasy of a very distinctly mid 80's vintage, with L.A. resident Ashman and his crack ensemble (which bizarrely includes drummer Gina Schock of The Go-Go's, moonlighting here at the peak of her pop fame on about half of this) engaging in the sorta boisterously tuneful horn charting bippity boop more associated with Downtown NY movers of he era like The Ordinaires and Don King and the giddy R.I.O. Big Band sounds of France's Six Cylindres En V, but defaulting at other times to a sorta primitive warped pop tack akin to Louisville KY's Stutter.

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With a cover that begs you to overlook it and a name more commonly associated with a 70's French prog band and the 60's psych pop unit, this lost slab of brilliance from the sadly deceased mind of visionary avant gardist and occult initiate Jerry Hunt managed to slip past many, with his work in Clearlight seeming to have been deliberately omitted from any discussion on the Jerry Hunt homepage or much of anywhere else online that refers to his work. Don't let it slip by you. 

Hunt's mad genius and completely singular mysticism-steeped approach rendered him marginalized during his life, which ended in 1993 at his own hand after a cancer diagnosis, though a spate of posthumous releases of his electronic works on Tzadik, CRI and ?Whats Next? managed to raise his profile a tad. Despite ultimately becoming an atheist, Hunt would litter his recordings and performances with ritualistic invocations of the sundry mystical systems that he'd once steeped himself in, from Rosicrucianism to Kabbala to Enochian Magic. I've never fully recovered from seeing an old video of Jerry's, with the grand old man madly puckering and blowing out his lips in accordance with some private ritualized system, or, elsewhere, leaping about the stage in coded occult gestures while waving about rattles and other props which in turn triggered various electronic sounds by his movements. His universe is best explored at length here, but during the time that he was engaged in his more formal solo experiments, Hunt was also a member of this Dallas-based ensemble that also featured one-time Doc Severinsen sideman turned Dallas Symphony Orchestra percussionist Ron Snyder and which would produce two albums during their lifetime, the first of which "As Above, So Below" will follow soon. 

For now though, feast your ears on the delirious swarming blear at work here. In the context of Clearlight, Jerry confined himself to playing only an Emulator, an early sampling keyboard akin to the Synclavier and Fairlight and abetted himself with Snyder on percussion, a pedal steel guitarist using his instrument as an avant garde sound generator and a woodwind player doubling on a Moog Source. If that line-up sounds unlikely, the results seem more still; a disorienting and dissociational flow of syrupy synthetic slurries, lonely winds tracing arcs in the ether and shuffling, slithering and twinkling percussion accents that cut silvery pricks through the nocturnal veil of their communal evocation. The interplay of winds and synths in an acid washed atmosphere harks back in some ways to the pioneering work of Gilbert Artman in Lard Free and Urban Sax and forms a bridge to similar formulations later wrought by 90's Dallas kosmiche icons Ohm, but this is largely inhabiting a planet of its own. And its gravity is decidedly heavy. Thanks to blog friend Craig for this treasure!

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Choice détournement and décollage ejected from the recombinant maw of four pillars of the plunderphonic, with this particular clusterfuck resulting from a one-off live grouping of these operators, each known for their individual and razor sharp sonic eviscerations of pop cultural crassness. With so many cranks in the kitchen, a four car pile-up of mediated detritus might not be unexpected here, but all of these cats are deft enough Dadaists to know how to spontaneously entwine their inspired illogic into something both indivisible and hilarious.

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Hair raising Norwegian proggery from an outfit that predates the somewhat more well known and distinctly more sympho-proggy Akasha. If anything, St. Helena over the course of this archivally issued EP seem to be riding a very specific sorta tension that weaves between barrel chested thunder and rustic escapades in a way that that I more readily associate with Finnish acts of the era like Apollo or Kalevala, with passages of the forrest frolicking here also distinctly smacking of the kinda Tull-damaged proto-progginess wrought by Britain's Sindelfingen.

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Master drummer and absurdist force of nature Tatsuya Yoshida has spent the better part of 25 years carving his post-prog/post punk vocabulary of lurches, lunges, spasms and shrieks into the foreheads of generations of freaky music fans via uncounted bands and projects; the Magma-indebted Ruins and Koenjihyakkei being only two of his best known. The kind of the splintered and diarrhea-mouthed solo conniptions of his heard across these 23 tracks would ultimately be re-tooled into the one-man-band approach that he'd undertake under the banner of Ruins Alone on his "multi-band" jaunts round the world with Atsushi Tsuyama and Makoto Kawabata, though here, Yoshida's spontaneous rhythmic articulations and verbal expulsions (a bastardized variant of Christian Vander's Kobian mother tongue in Magma) feels more like a sketchbook within the overall arc of his discography, with only half of this very obscure Japan-only release of his conforming to the title's specs (the best half of the CD, for my money), with these one-man-band bits sandwiched between drum and vocal tantrums at the fore and in-the-red effected drum concussions at the aft, the latter of which doesn't add much to this experience except potential risk of speaker cone damage.

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