Saturday, February 11, 2006

RETRO NOISE MONTHLY (FEB EDITION)

So here's a new, uh, "feature": once a month I'll pull out a few old noise recs from my dusty pile and reassess. One recurring objection to noise is that it doesn't "hold up" - i.e. why listen to any noise rec more than once? I've never thought "repeated listenability" was necessary to make something good, but regardless, this monthly exercise could be a way to prove that complaint wrong (or right, who knows/cares...)

THURSTON MOORE - Please Just Leave Me (My Paul Desmond) CD
(Pure, 1996)
I misremembered this as a more rock-y kinda solo gtr rec, expecting TM to stick some chords and notes inside the noise, but it's actually way more, uh, pure than that, and really good. One half-hour track full of test-tone-like scree, echoey ringing that's nearly Jandek-ian in its eerie all-alone-ness, plus a bonus track-ending sample of smooth jazz and TM drawling in the background: overall, a pretty extreme trip through TM's fertile mind. I can't think of another TM rec as abstract and unadorned - it'd make a great bonus track on the forthcoming Psychic Hearts reissue, just to show his inhuman range. I also dig the poem TM scrawled on the CD: "You can take everything there / It's cool I don't care / Yeh I need room / I'm sick of all those fuckin records man / Just take em yeh you know but / if you can please / just leave me / my Paul Desmond."

UNIVERSAL INDIANS
- (untitled) C60
(American Tapes, 1996)
This isn't noise per se - future Wolf Eye John Olson played drums and sax for this trio, and this tape is more psych-rock and guitar-jam than noise (though the longer I do this blog, the more such meaningless distinctions are gonna blur, I promise) - whatever, it's really fucking good. Touches of Dead C. heaviness, Bardo Pond smoke, and, mostly, the fuzzy extensions of the way-underrated Marble Sheep and the Run Down Sun's Children. I remember wanting after one listen to write the band and beg them to let me put this out on CD, but by the time I woke up and remembered to think about doing that, Wolf Eyes were huge and I was thrilled that John even remembered my name. Anyway, I'm too old/tired now, but someone needs to make this digital. Until then, I'll hang onto my copy (numbered 2 of 20!) regardless of what it might fetch on eBay.

WRONG - in the WRONG 2CD
(Betley/Climax/Freedom From/Ignivomous/SunShip, 1999)
Yikes, what a monster. 33 tracks over 2 CDs by a rolling group of 22 musicians taken from 16 performances and co-released by 5 labels. Wrong were (are?) primarily John Vance and Emil Hagstrom, fixtures of the 90's Minneapolis noise scene. Their basic m.o. here is random free-improv-ish guitar + a little percussion + a ton of sprinkled-in, unidentified noise. I'm surprised by how free-improv this is - for some reason I remembered Wrong as more noise-wall-ish, but some stuff here comes pretty close to Derek Bailey territory, and stands up well to the comparison. In Opprobrium, Nick Cain noted that this is suprisingly homogenous given the participant/format variety, but still pretty good anyway, and he was right on both counts. Shortwave, theremin, and electronics eventually battle the guitars to a draw (Carly Ptak even pops up on one quick, blasting track), but it's all charged with the anticipation of improv possibility. Plus it starts with a killer piece of string-bending noise (taken from a show at NYC's The Cooler (RIP)), thus winning it a place as this entry's mp3 pick, see below...

mp3:
WRONG - "Broken IN" from in the WRONG

2 Comments:

Anonymous art said...

Kudos for revisiting the past with wiser (wizened) ears and thanks for your insights. But, man, Emil and John show the effects of 10 years of noise (on the Wrong website)--at least as compared to when I knew them way back when.

1:01 PM  
Blogger MM said...

Glad you dug it - I never met Emil and John, but I'm not surprised to hear what you say - I can't imagine being a snow-bound noisenik would exactly keep one young looking...

7:51 PM  

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