reviews november 2004
The Scaramanga Six, split (Wrath) 7"
Long Blondes, New Idols (Sheffield Phonographic Corporation) 7"
The Agents of Impurity (Sonic Arts Network) CD
The tracks here range from unadulterated spoken word performance (the repetitive, hypnotic and circular argument between Erik Belgum and his wife) through to a complete lack of words (Language Retrieval Services erase the words from recordings, leaving only the breaths, lip-smacks and pops of the performer) via number recital (Neil Mills' Seven Number Poems are simply beguiling lists of numbers).
The first genius moment is Vito Acconci's Ten Packed Minutes (edited down to five for the compilation) where a couple of bars of Greek Taverna band recycle themselves for the duration while Acconci riffs with partial coherence about his baby. Think Tom Waits heard down in the wine cellar of a bad restaurant after a good session. Asa Chang and Junray could be reciting the Japanese alphabet and playing a stylophone. Or reading the football scores while the batteries on a toy keyboard fail. I don't know, but they make it sound like a dream.
The second moment of genius is supplied by Takayuki Nakano - also Japanese - who tourettes passages from Finnegan's Wake as he pounds his trap set with unbridled abandon. He apparently recorded up to page 31 and then vanished.. Angel of Death by Dokaka is the closest you're ever likely to get to humming hardcore (also features yelping) and would be the perfect accompaniment to the World Air Guitar Championships. In my head, anyway.
The final moment of genius is delivered in the compound form of Ergo Phizmiz's Sticky White Glue, an excerpt from his series for Resonance FM. Phizmiz blends accident and ambience in a mad whirl of dog chowing noisily down on Doggomeat and a drum'n'bass rerub of Russ Abbot's Atmosphere. It's a total immersion in his mind and charity shop record collection.
The whole thing is wrapped in a neat 7" square booklet containing art and writing by Samuel Beckett amongst others. It's part of a subscription series the next issue of which will be outsider music compiled by Irwin Chusid. www.sonicartsnetwork.org
Africa is a Fridge (Strange Lights) 7"
Yes, because he knows how to warp the Beatles and Barrett around a trundling beatbox core and release magic into the world. And because he knows how to make the title cut stumble, crumble, mumble, jumble and ultimately humble as it bursts off the slate with a disorientating weft of samples that resolves itself into snippets of vocals inspired by an article Chuck D wrote. And so now you know. www.strange-lights.co.uk
The Miniest Album (Runout) 7"
Schneider TM Experience, Psychedelic Queen (Earsugar) 7"
Reverb, Jack Potatoe (Earsugar) 7"
Telescopes, Winter EP (Hungry Audio) 7" and Altered Perception (Space
two new releases span just about the same time period as the zines. They're
a compilation and an evolution linked by The Perfect Needle. The opening
cut on Altered Perception, it's one of the reasons they were getting those
Loop and Spaceman nods though they were already showing how they'd be
moving on by adding frantically-bowed violin to the slowhirling guitars
and lackadaisical vocals. The same track appears, reworked, on the Winter
EP but The Perfect Needle #4 is not the sound of a band bereft of ideas,
it's the sound of a band who never stopped looking for the right sound,
who never thought they couldn't do better. The gyratory riffs have been
replaced by drone, the delivery has got lower and lazier over the years
and the focus has moved onto the mesmerising, sumptuous bass line. In
the past looking forward, or in the future with an eye on the past, it
doesn't matter which direction you point The Telescopes. www.hungryaudio.tk
home : reviews : interviews : live : features : shop : search: contact