Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Monday, May 21, 2007
Anyway, I've had minor quibbles with Jessica's records here and there (like the singing on the Ultra Eczema Can't LP), but for the most part I'm a true believer, and I'll happily defend each second of Interior Designs as the kind of Kool Aid everyone with an ounce of noise interest should be constantly chugging. Pretty much everything Jessica does well is done well here - the Raymond Scott-ish absurdist sound-effect belching (opener "Extroardinary" hits that Scott combo of surreal humor and well-considered science perfectly), the morse-code-ish / transmission-esque sort of Ham-radio art, filled with transistor squiggles and oscillator-speak ("Phantasia"), and the obligatory unexpected wild card (in this case, a really fascinating title-track that drops a trudging drum machine beat under a slightly-untuned acoustic chord strum/meditation that's kinda Jandekian and even D. Bailey-esque at times). Oh, and also the static-y loop/drone/wave thing, here done to near-perfection on "Timeless" (linked below), which uses a tactile cycle of gravelly noises to build a standing wave of sifting hum. Especially dig the way the climactic sound is both powerful and mellow, like the soothing cut of a butcher's knife through one's temporal lobes (we'll work on the metaphor issue once we're outta these woods, we promise...)
Monday, May 14, 2007
This type of stuff is pretty simple - guitar wank full of effects, backed either by nothing or a loping semi-bluesy, uh, "beat" - and, most essentially, recorded in a manner such that everything sounds like a big pile of distortion quicksand sure to suck even the smallest iota of clarity down into its man-eating muck. I'm a sucker for anything committed to tape in such a manner, but it especially works well for guitar wank, which only really clicks if it's folding in on itself, each note/sound/whatever being muffled and overlapping and catching communal fire like a California forest. Zodiacs have this all down perfectly - of the four tracks on Gone, two are more solemn, vaguely mellow meditations that still breath smoke and static, but two others - "Born Free" and "Get Off/Come Together" (the latter being covers maybe? I don't really wanna pay that much attention - close focus defeats the purpose of noise like this) - are pure fireballs of unfettered, unembarrassed pedal pushing - big red skies of rock/noise pud-pulling that reach the highs of that one great Marble Sheep record that rarely sits more than five feet from my stereo. All in all, Gone is a prime example of the kind of gunky dreck that, were it the literal mudpit that it sounds like, I'd happily drive a brand new car right into and accept it as my best possible grave.
mp3 (samples - see bottom right of page - full mp3 to come!):
ZODIACS - Gone
Sunday, May 06, 2007
ALLIGATOR CRYSTAL MOTH
Now, by no means does everything on the perpelexingly-titled Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia, the Bottled Smoke entry by Alligator Crystal Moth, qualify as noise with a beat. In fact not much of it is "noise" in the strict sense at all, but rather hippified free-jams - really good hippified free-jams, but still, closer to the drum-circle rattlings of Sunburned back when they did have the HOTM trailing behind them, or maybe a less droney Pelt, or maybe even an abstracted version of Tower Recordings, than pure noise - good company to be in, no doubt. But, you know, it has lots of flutes and rattles and acoustic detunings and distant half-vocals and wisps of electric wah etc. And more power to it.
One track in the middle, though, aims directly for my brain-bullseye, and sticks an arrow right through that mental apple. The beautifully-titled "Climactic Waste" is dense, cavernous noise that employs of all kinds of insistent, bluntly bold percussion - hard doses of rhythmic cacophony behind its gauzey curtains of distortion of feedback drone. I'm particularly enamored of a section about 2:45 in, where the bassy wind of the noise gathers into a gale and the percussion rises up to ride the wave; the first time through it had me imaging an alternate-universe version of A Handful of Dust with Robbie Yeats drumming. Overall, it's an oddly mellow piece for how noisy it is, with tons of stuff going on but nothing feeling rushed or frantic, a neat middle point between raging agression and back-on-the-ground cloud-staring.
I'm kinda perplexed by how all this sound could be coming from a duo, but that confusion is lessened by the presence of Digitalis overlord Brad Rose (erecting sonic mountains here with Michael Donnelly), who's done enough different stuff that no sound he makes should surprise me or anyone else. If you haven't sent any cash his way lately...well, you can't buy this from him since it's part of a now-sold-out subscription series, but you can still buy a ticket to the festival this series is supporting, and/or snag the Foxglove CD-R these two behemoths made a while ago...so, do so...