Sunday, September 02, 2007


Anyone familiar with one of the godfather genres to current Noise, No Wave (and hey, if you're not familiar and want to be, you can pre-order my book on the subject, due out this winter- yes, I really did write a book about No Wave - more on that soon) is surely a fan of the hypnotic tones of pioneering group Ut. Their music throughout the 80's was a pretty unique hybrid of No Wave dissonance and gut-punching rock that continues to be unfairly overlooked, despite Mute's recent reissues of Griller and In Gut's House (someone needs to pick up that ball and bring us new editions of Ut EP, Early Live Life, Conviction, etc etc etc).

One of Ut's pilot lights, Jacqui Ham, continued on after that group's demise with the equally mind-blowing Dial. I had stupidly slept on their output until Jacqui was kind enough to educate me with their new disc, 168k. I was so blown away by the amazing combo of primitive rock, noise, trash-punk, and whatever else you wanna call it on this disc, that I immediately ordered the other two Dial missives, 1996's Infraction and 2000's Distance Runner. Both are thorough forays into wide-open guitar clatter, snarling vocal intensity, heavy rhythmic sputtering, and so much more. I hear at times the dense plod of the Dead C. and/or Gate, the shattering distortion of Sightings, the quicksand lurch of Mouthus, and the pure abstractions of Ham's No Wave brethren, particularly the searing stomp of Mars and the harrowed howl of Teenage Jesus and the Jerks. But mostly I hear an amazingly singular take on rock that's been imploded/exploded/fractured into noise, and my jaw is just permanently dropped by how devoted Jacqui still is to making uncompromising music. She's pretty much my hero.

Anyway, as great as those first two Dial records are, I think 168k is a big step up, an unerring set of eight demolishing tunes that cover all kinds of rough sonic terrain without ever dipping into predictability, tedium, or even a single dull moment, to be honest. Ham and R. Smith's punishing guitar work meshes into knots of aural barbed wire, and Lou Ciccotelli's raw, crunching drum sound wraps the whole thing up into a thorny ball of fire. (I apologize for getting so hyperbolic - big shock coming from me, right? - but I implore you to trust me this time; I really think 168k is gonna hold up as one of the year's best, easily).

Jacqui has been kind enough to let me post a track from 168k to whet yr appetite. "Soda Wars" (linked below) is a great example of Dial's sonic mastery: opening with a rolling/truncated Robbie Yeats-worth beat, it grinds two layers of cracking guitar into a lava-cascade of fire-colored noise, nearly swallowing Ham's stomach-hitting howl, which manages to sound painfully desperate and dauntingly authoritative at the same time. If you dig this, I really beg you to get the whole thing. It'll be out soon and available through some distros, and I'll update here when they in fact have it for sale, but until then you can contact me via noiseweek-at-comcast-dot-net and I can hook you up with how to get it immediately.

(on an unrelated note, for all DC-area noiseniks who don't already know - Sonic Circuits is coming up this week - lots of amazing shit happening, hope to see you there!)

DIAL - "Soda Wars" from 168k


Anonymous Anonymous said...

that shit looks pro, yo. way to go MM. you have widely available merch.

7:14 AM  
Blogger JohnWayne said...

yup, I 'wishlisted' your book...dial sounds ffffffeckin awesome. I'll probably be emailing you in 2 seconds to ask how to pick up that album immediately! cool shit

3:33 PM  
Blogger andrea said...

The new Dial record is fantastic. I've enjoyed the previous ones, but this is on another level.

I'm adding a link to your blog over at Warped Reality!


4:52 PM  
Blogger SA said...

Re: Ut
Yes , in addition there are the UT cuts on Soul Jazz' New York Noise 2 and #3 !
Cheers M
Stuart A

5:47 AM  
Blogger sexy said...




2:18 AM  
Blogger Nick said...

Dial are playing The Luminaire in Kilburn,London on July 1st -with reborn Sperm Wails now trading as Blowhole !

5:26 PM  
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