Sunday, May 21, 2006


GATE - Live Boston/NYC 1994
(Poon Village, 1995)
There's really not a bad record out there by Gate (the demolishing concern of the Dead C.'s Michael Morley), but of all the ones I have, I've revisited Live Boston/NYC 1994 the least, if at all. This is due to sheer Gate volume rather than any quality issues - I've re-zoned to The Dew Line, Lounge, Golden, Monolake and even Morley solo recs like Lavender Head and Pavilion of Fools enough times that something had to get lost in the heavy plastic shuffle. This one's worth digging for, though - taken from Gate's '94 tour w/Keiji Haino and other Table of the Elements types, it has one half-hour track from Boston featuring a two-headed (w/Lee Ranaldo) Gate, plus six other short pieces from NYC w/a trio of Morley, Ranaldo, and Zeena Parkins. It's one of the few (only?) recorded examples of Morley's real-time sound-destruction, as well as his masterful ability to intertwine with other humans not named Russell or Yeats, and as such is pretty unerring stuff. The Boston cut is mostly flaming guitar battles and echoey dual-drones (plus a few sections that're too chord-y, but those are minimal). The NYC tracks are even more interesting, with a wider range of sounds and some harrowingly cave-trapped-sounding howl. Plus it's all locked in choice Poon Village screenprinted cardstock with that elastic loop holder thing, a packaging style that still stands out after 10-plus years of challengers. Though I certainly understand it, it's a shame that Mr. Morley's activity has slowed recently, as there are a lot more U.S. stages that he could be blowing people off of now than when he obviously did so in '94.

C.C.C.C. - Loud Sounds Dopa / Live in U.S.A.
(Endorphine Factory/Charnel House, 1993)
Not too much to say about this - just an unbelievably extreme noise record from one of Japan's (and Earth's) most extreme noise ensembles. I figured the years of ear-shred I've accomplished/enjoyed/endured since would make this sound softer than it did when I first hid under the table from it 13 years ago, but no chance: the two half-hour tracks here, taken from Oct 1992 shows in Oakland and Chicago, are still bone-sanding, nerve-puncturing experiences. Track one actually starts relatively mellow, but once abrasion kicks in at the three-minute mark, "relent" becomes a term that the murderous vocabulary of C.C.C.C. is painfully unfamiliary with. Sure, there's interesting stuff happening below - an infinity of turns, jolts, blasts, and even hallucinatory rhythms down there - but it's all laquered in a coat of aggressive sheen that never gets stripped away. Imagine Double Leopards if they were only allowed to play blenders and weed wackers - then imagine that you forgot your earplugs, and your way home. A pretty daunting acheivement, but my future 80-year old self is thankful for the little drops of remaining hearing that would've been long gone had I been at either of these shows. Beg me and I'll post an excerpt, but for now I'd rather protect your ear-health too.

MOSLANG / GUHL - Deep Voices
(FMP, 1977; Urthron (reissue), not sure when)
My head first got drowned by Voice Crack through their awesome collaborative LPs with heroic air-tearing trio Borbetomagus, wherein the Swiss duo of Norbert Moslang and Andy Guhl added intense audio junk using their self-described "cracked electronics" (homemade instruments like busted radios or half-alive calculators resoldered into noise-generators). Went backwards from there to 1990's Earflash, a skeleton-rattling set with drummer Knut Redmond, reissued in 1996 by the sadly short-lived O'Rourke/Grubbs label Dexter's Cigar. Then finally landed on their debut, Deep Voices, released on FMP before the duo took on the Voice Crack moniker. This is basically a jazz record, albeit an odd and often fucked-up one, especially considering it was recorded in 1977. Here Moslang plays reeds and Guhl plays bass and percussion, and though their future trash-trove is mostly absent, the lab-like devotion to mining for aural debris is firmly in place - seven tracks filled with scraping high-end (not unlike the Lacy/Parker dog-whistle battles of Chirps, also on FMP), silence-chasing restraint, and careful attention to avoiding patterns and dodging expectations. Apparently Moslang and Guhl have parted ways (there's a Moslang solo rec from a few years back that I still gotta hear), but anything with their names attached is worth sticking your head inside.

GATE - "New York 3" from Live Boston/NYC 1994
MOSLANG / GUHL - "Gut Geschliffen" from Deep Voices


Blogger stephen said...

I think you're being kind to the Gate album - not one of my faves - but I never was much of a fan of the Lounge album either. Golden, naturally, is a bit of a mixed bag.

7:55 PM  

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