Sunday, August 26, 2007


Received a massive package of stuff this week from the gracious, hyper-industrious Brooklyn label Tigerasylum. Haven't made it through it all yet, but my general impression is that Mr. Schranz has unearthed a lot of choice free-improv splatter, roughly akin to what Mr. Kriney of Color Sounds has also dutifully excavated. In fact, there's some personnel overlap there, as both Herr Kriney and La Otracina guitarist Ninni Morgia are part of the rock-solid Quivers ensemble, and Mr. Morgia also participates in both the salty splatter of The Right Moves (along with Storm&Stress/Talibam! drum-annhilator Kevin Shea) and the sprinting trio Trauma Unit. So, clearly there's some thick spice in the underground water reserves up in NY lately, and Tigerasylum is admirably swimming in it.

Despite the general Brooklyn-centric thrust of the Tigerasylum roster, so far I find myself gravitating most to a CD-R called Protection, by a Boston trio called Violence Jazz. Now, before I explain why, please indulge for a few moments my juvenile aversion to bad band names. For some reason I'm just really picky about what band names sound good to me (I think it's fair to say I don't let that pickyness affect what I think of the music), so given that rather unfair outlook, it's probably best if I stop discussing band names here...but, c'mon, Violence Jazz? Could we be a little more on the nose, for a double-sax wielding group given to noisy extrapolations on jazz-based improv? Also, using a genre in your band name? That almost never works, especially when the only other word is a super-cliched descriptor. Might as well call yourselves Blues Hammer, for god's sake...

Luckily, Violence Jazz's choice of what to play and how to play it is a lot sharper than their choice of name. Their forward-crashing improv is as raging and adrenaline-addicted as anything else on the Tigerasylum roster, but they're also fond of bigger noise and drone touches that pushes their stuff into weird, murky, unpredictable arenas. A couple of tracks here are even strictly atmospheric, kinda nightmarishly so, while others combine high-level jazz cacophony with hammering rhythm, dense guitar and electronics din, storm-like clouds of drone, and a few other things, too. I think the second of the six untitled tracks on Protection does all of the above best, carrying a blinding improv opening into a hypnotically plodding beat and back again. It also includes a weird little break with some kind of phone-conversation sample that I can't say I'm in love with, but I certainly didn't see it coming. And that's the attraction of Violence Jazz - it sounds like they're pretty devoted to finding sounds no one is expecting to hear.

VIOLENCE JAZZ - (track two) from Protection

Sunday, August 19, 2007


Been a little behind in my noise-gathering duties lately, but a big thanks to those of you who are sending stuff, and I promise to get on some of those soon as well as accelerating my seeking habits...for now, I'm gonna blab a little about someone you probably already know, Religious Knives. Anyone vaguely familiar w/me or this blog is probably sick of me spewing about Mouthus and Double Leopards, but hey, I'm not gonna pretend that I don't eternally love em both, cause I do. So naturally I pretty much loved Religious Knives (Nate of Mouthus w/Mike & Maya of Double Leopards) before I'd even heard them, and definitely did once I had. The tangent the group took the first few times I saw them - kind of droney/dreamy but structured and even rock-ish music - was definitely intriguing and tough to pin down, and their first few recs that I heard - an excellent 3-track CD-R called RK4, and this year's No Fun debut Remains - kept that mystery going, with most of their songs resisting definition through murky atmospheres and a kind of floating, beat-less forward motion.

Cut to a coupla days ago, when I got to see the Knives again for the first time since January's Winter Ends Destruction fest held in the waning months of Tonic. They've been playing a decent amount lately including a European tour, and judging by the absolutely hypnotic set they played this time, have become a bit of a rock (or even prog-rock) monster. The addition of a bassist (whose name escapes me, sorry) gives their stuff a kind of chugging locomotion, and the way they accent simple patterns with Mike and Maya's radiant guitar, warming keys, and ghostly moans is really stunning. Parts are pretty Kraut-y in a Can sense, but what I really dig is how these guys maintain their noise-sculpture sensibility in the context of structured rock. Every song, as repetitive and patterned as they got, had a core drone and attention to sonic texture that I doubt would be there if these guys weren't already experts at manipulating and massaging pure abstraction.

Mike was nice enough to bequeath me a tour CD-R before the show, a split with the Knives' Euro tour-mates Airport War. Both of the Knives' contributions are still a little airier than what I saw them play this week, but "Everything Happens Twice" definitely captures some of the vibe of their current sound, moreso than anything on Remains. Nate's beat is more prominent, the bass has definitely got the repeto-groove down solid, and Mike's guitar and the spectre-like vox in the second half are right on target. I'm now way more stoked for the band's next release, whatever/whenever - and, oddly, kinda way more into the previous ones now, as you can hear the seeds of this new sound germinating there - so prepare yourself for more sycophantic fawning whenever that next rec should emerge.

RELIGIOUS KNIVES - "Everything Happens Twice" from Religious Knives /Airport War split tour CD-R

Sunday, August 12, 2007


Made a rather hectic sojourn to heat-infested NYC last weekend - hence the lack of substantial posting last week - and finally got to hit the fabulous Hospital Productions underground lair. Surely you know all there is to know by now about Dom Prurient's amazing noise/metal store, but if you haven't been there, I can attest it's all it's wacked up to be. Unfortunately I stopped by on a day wherein not only was Dom not working so I couldn't chat him up, but I only had $20 on me. So I decided to pick something totally random that I didn't know anything about, and the best candidate was a CD with an oversized, full-color cover that read simply "field recordings," with a logo next to it that I later surmised represented the letters "d" and "p". I could tell from the inside info that the CD literally had field recordings on it, and that it was on the excellent young label Little Enjoyer, but that was all I could glean.

There's still not a ton to glean now that I've scrubbed the web - even Little Enjoyer's own site doesn't mention the release - but I did finally figure out from the CD's fine print that these recordings were made by Dave Phillips (i.e. DP), Fear of God mastermind and core brain-cell in the massive grey organism known as Schimpfluch-Gruppe. I don't know much about Dave and his previous pursuits, but I do know he's a commited noisemaker, so I think my mysterious purchase was well-divined.

As far as what's actually on the CD, it's pretty recognizably field recordings - lots of whirring wind, humming insects, gurgling frogs, rolling water, etc - but Phillips has a clear knack for capturing stuff that has the repetition and texture of the best, uh, intelligently-designed noise. Listening on the train back from NYC I initially settled into these pieces as a kind of 3-D audio closet to store my head in for the trip, but as I wrapped back around to the beginning I started to hear weird structures and even semi-themes in Phillips' collection of random, undirected sound. Of course even the numbest brain can find shapes and colors in almost any field recordings, but the best kind produce so many patterns you almost can't keep track. Such an effect only comes from discriminating editing and an ear/head/spirit for catching the right stuff at the right time. These traits, DP has.

Anyway, I'm not gonna claim that this disc is some kinda revolution in field recordings or even a singular noise disc, but it certainly deserves a place on yr shelf if yer into this kind of randomized screech...since everything on here's pretty short, I'll give ya two tastes of DP's collection style, one that he describes as a "noon heat serenade" filled with happy piercings, and one made of bullfrogs "who somehow dig themselves under the earth's outer layer," and proceed to croak in super-fascinating loops. Enjoy...

DP - Noon Heat Serenade and Bullfrogs, from Field Recordings

Friday, August 10, 2007


...but the week got away from us again. we'll be back by Monday with something you'll like, we promise...thanks for yr patience...
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