Chris Sienko. Continued.
Hook: "Sounds of Defection"
reading the liner notes ("recorded and mixed
using particularly fubaríd stereosÖboost the treble
and turn it up") and hearing the first few minutes,
I figured this was all about the high end, like the
Amyl Migraine tape, also formerly on Spite. After
the beginning section, though, the tape becomes a
more jolly and easily digested pup. Endlessly entertaining
to those that are already noise fans, but not something
to convert the newcomers. Tension Hook is varied and
textural/playful enough to not be helped by the Mother
Savage "extra harsh rework/remix" that he
got on the "Underground Canada" comp. This
is a very pleasing album. Like going to see Itzak
Perleman or Van Cliburn, you donít expect him to take
the medium to strange new vistas of interpretation,
but you expect solid performance and entertainment,
and get it. "Did you see the way he got that
phaser pedal all up in there? Damn, I thought Iíd
lose it!" "Yeah, and those taped voices
were just DREAMY." "Uh, hey guys, what are
you two whispering about over there? WHAT? Okay, never
mind, Iíll ask you tomorrow."
Bombs: "The Silenium Bombs."
I mentioned in Blastitude
#5, I really love the two Old Bombs tapes Iíve
heard. Thereís a great variety of sounds and approaches
hereÖlike Lode Runner, Old Bombs combine academic-sounding
electronics, junk noise, cheap rewired electronica,
turntable and CD abuse and such all in the same room,
with no worries about how to present the whole mess.
Itís amazing how radical something as simple as not
constricting yourself to one type of sounds or approaches
feels these days. I donít know what else to say, other
than 15 minutes of this (itís a one-sided c-30) is
JUST NOT ENOUGH. But it is still available, edition
of 25. You gotta jump down this tapeís throat just
as soon as you can. Itíll do the same for you.
Ruryk: "Extensions For Litter" 3
Gooding Jr.!!! Heís on this tape, along with 5 ĺ minutes
of guitar and what could only be described as "stuff,"
quick edited and extra spastic. Whoever regularly
describes Ruryk as funny should also note that brevity
is indeed the soul of wit, and this is awful damn
witty at six minutes (by comparison, the Ruryk LP
is Neil Hamburger). Rock!
Rita: "Crusty Etruscans."
Ďo Blare, or what I often call the sonic cheese-block
noise, so named because it seems very dense, with
large air pockets in it due to all the over-top static
and thick roar. Sounds like a closeup of air molecules
getting drunk and fooling around. All the stuff by
The Rita that Iíve heard is pretty much like this.
And now, the fresh
faces on the block, hot off the dubbing decks, straight
outta Kinkos, into your home prefecture!
itís really hard to come up for new words for a new
Knurl tape. If you know Knurl (Alan Bloor, from somewhere
up in Canada), he doesnít exactly change with the
winds. This is a 90 minute Knurl tape, and it sounds,
much as before, like someone heavily amplifying pieces
of metal of all shapes and sizes and rubbing the dermis
off of Ďem. Knurl has always had a much more physical
sound to him that pedal hoppers tend to miss, a real
abrading element. This one does have a few surprisesÖone
track is quite atmospheric, almost ethereal. Another
resembles Power Electronics. Another actually allows
enough klanging metal sounds to come through to make
it resemble K2. You know, for as similar as their
approaches are, itís a bit of a surprise that K2 and
Knurl donít overlap into each otherís territory more
Street: "Rehearsals and Real-Time Compositions."
bigíun (90 minutes) from Detroitís Nate Young, also
known as the electronics half of Wolf Eyes. If youíve
heard a Jean Street recording, you know that he sounds
rather like an updated cross-breeding of pre-"Bad
Mood Guy" Severed Heads (inspired looseness and
haphazard electronics) and non-dancy early Cabaret
Voltaire (vicious primitivism) with a voice that bears
more than passing resemblance to Steve Albini. This
is mostly heavy on the rehearsals, or what sound like
tapes of Nate (Jean) trying out some newly rewired
machinery, basic rhythms and ideas. The occasional
song bounds into the picture, but after a while, you
listen to it like an Inca Eyeball albumÖnot really
expecting any song to jump out at you, just enjoying
the sound and feel and experience of the record as
a whole. And if a certain song really knocks you out,
hey, bonus! The cheapest glimpse into Nateís sketchbook
as youíll ever get. Recommended for people who already
know just how much they like Jean Street. The CD-R
on Hanson is recommended as a primer.
Fierce: "Perspicacious Variance."
nice, tidy 20 minutes of highly flanged pedal noise
from Kato Hideki (to this day, I have no idea if this
is the same Kato Hideki who plays bass on the occasional
Tzadik release with peeps like Death Ambient). For
being such a short tape, this is kind of up and down,
bobbiní and weaviní. Some bits (such as about the
last five minutes of side two) are consistently great,
playing some very inventive rhythmic patterns out
of the blasts and shims. Other parts just donít seem
to know where to begin. The one thing I really noticed,
though, was the overall sound. Itís just soÖsweet.
Almost saccharine. I think Iím beginning to understand
why people with objections to certain kinds of noise
tend to dislike the all pedal variety: itís got a
very artificial sheen to it. Like a White Castle slider,
or a Twinkie. Itís not quite food to people brought
up on momís home cookiní. When Knurl is yanking on
an industrial spring with a length of chain, thereís
no doubt about where the violence is coming from.
Pedal noise at times seems very homey and unthreatening,
particularly when it doesnít mind flanging and beeping
more than splintering and poking (such as this does).
Fortunately, I love Hot ní Now, White Castle, the
two for a dollar flats of cookies at my local quickie
mart, the whole lot of Ďem. Musically and culinary.
Bring Ďem on! Delicious, I could stand to go through
the drive through againÖI underestimated my appetite.
"Blue Desert Electrique" CD-R.
LordÖa not-cassette! Could it be? Yeah, it seems so,
Joelís doing it digital for a bit. Nice little production
tooÖa funny full color cover of a blue car, nicely
designed, seemingly shellacíd onto the cover (obvious
brush strokes), disc painted blue on top. BDE is Phil
Todd (of Betley Welcomes Careful Drivers)ís "Power
Electronics" project, or so Iím told. Iím glad
he mentioned it, because that wouldnít have been the
first thing to enter my mind.
For those of
you not familiar with the sub-genre, Power Electronics
is usually defined sonically as kind of a slow boil,
a churning cauldron of generally low-end electronic
grinds and pharts, broken up by escaping-steam squeals.
Itís usually accompanied by shrieking vocalists, with
topics ranging from political activism to "the
exploration of the extremes of human emotion."
(like teasing bears at the zoo, or voting Libertarian?
That kinda thing?)
Electrique" sounds more like the glitch-y high
end digital shreds of people like Pita and Hecker,
and the "not quite sure if Iím hearing or feeling
it" subsonics of Ryoji Ikeda. Only VERY analogue.
Two 20 minute tracks of hissy spinny static, steam
and tinfoil. My guess is by Power Electronics, Phil
is referring to the "classic" days of Power
Electronics, such as the first couple of Whitehouse
albums, which often sound more like electronic simulations
of the kettle boiling than the modern floor shakers
of today. But itís kind of funny, because it seems
like the typical PE "sound" changed to the
low end with Whitehouse, the "Great White Death"
album. When they changed, so did everybody else. Except
BDE, thank heavens. The record is recommended for
those who donít need their noise to be assaultive
all the time, but would just as well listen to tiny
nebulous creatures with spiny shells twitter and play
just outside your field of vision, creating static
"Monkeys and Cockatoos, Liviní In Perfect Harmony."
album from the new Dogliveroil, now expanded to include
a couple of percussionists, more obvious moog-damage,
some vocals, and yes, a Power Electronics feel. THIS
churns and boils and rants and burgles your spare
change while youíre in the loo. Plus with the addition
of drumming, the clanging and the banging gets again
more human, and more physical. The old Dogliveroil
was more about the pedals, or at least it sounded
more like it. This one has "Study for Deflating
Balloon, Percussion and Plastic Flutes," which
sounds just like what youíd think, only much more
restrained. Almost like chamber music. For dickheads.
Like me. Two of the tracks are really short, and the
other two are about a half hour each. This sounds
pretty similar to some of their other great recent
releases: "Postcard of An English Shithouse,"
and "The Black Art of Dogliveroil," just
further refining the style. The slow ugly churn has
definitely grown in momentum, making this almost closer
in sound (if not executionÖthe song titles and presentation
are still very humorous) to a Grey Wolves album, than
say Smell & Quim.
"The Devil Has His Devil Day/Desire Runs From
couple of years have passed since the now legendary
Coits LP on Very Good, titled "these are the
noises you will hear in your head." A lot of
people, Joincey included, considered Coits a finished
project, in favor of the more unpredictable incarnation
of Wagstaff. Yet here is not one, but essentially
TWO full length Coits albums on one really long 90
minute tape. Time is all relative, and this one is
like spending time with all of your shrillest relatives
all at once for a long, hot summer.
I canít say Iíve heard much
Coits before this (a track on a 7"comp is all,
really), but I was under the impression it was more
free guitar without much distortion. This is guitar
also, but the distort is so far in the red, itís maroon.
For some, making noise recordings is kind of like
riding a wild broncoÖyou turn all the noisemakers
on full throttle, and then you get on top and do your
best to ride them through to the end of the side without
falling off. Falling off is when the feedback gets
away from you, reducing everything to a shrill, flat,
EEEEEEEEEEEEEEE sound. If you listen for it, youíll
hear the feedback get away from just about any artist
you can think of at one time or another (unless you
really smother the sound like Skin Crime, The Rita
or Macronympha). Joincey, on the other hand, seems
to have less interest in riding the bronco as laying
on the ground in the path of the oncoming animal,
slapping its ass as it runs by. There are long stretches
of this tape where ALL you get is EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE,
punctuated at times by a couple rakes of the strings.
Some of it really shimmies like a fat man, some threatens
from a fifth floor window and a lot of it is fun,
but sometimes you find yourself thinking, "What
is it I enjoy about noise again? Am I really enjoying
this abuse that much?" Due to length and irritability
factor of this one, treating it as two separate albums,
listening to each side separately and at different
times is probably the way to go. Terrific cover shot,
which could be titled, "Tonight, the bottle let
Pow: "Unsupported Format."
these guys I know. TV Pow are from Chicago, they play
here all the time. They open for just about anybody
who lists instrumentation as "_________ and laptop
manipulations," and headline regularly. And they
regularly put me to sleep. Seriously. Itís happened
a few times. Iím sorry, sometimes itís good for periods
of five minutes, but the combination of long stretches
of undifferentiated digital drone, coupled with the
visual sight of 2 to 6 people behind laptops, looks
on their faces like theyíre locked into a furious
game of Minesweeper can get a little narcoleptic.
Thank heavens, for this tape,
they donated some pretty sharp performances. There
arenít too many lags, and even these are pretty stimulating.
The moments where they actually put all 4-6 Ďputers
to use are awfully pleasing. But I think what works
best here really is the visual element. Because youíre
probably listening to this on a commute to somewhere,
or walking around town, or while youíre cooking dinner,
or driving, the temperature is just right (TV Pow
shows always seem to be 10 degrees too hot), and you
have ample visual stimulation, namely, the world around
you, which always makes for a pretty intriguing 74
minute movie (which is the length of this cassette).
Uproar: "Antibliss 2."
all the new Spite tapes are either really long or
really short. This one is 20 minutes by a somewhat
well-known and very hardworking Finnish noise group.
This is my first experience with Bizarre Uproar, and
here they sound like they might possibly be an actual
band Ė I think I hear cymbals crashing and drums pounding,
and I definitely hear a leather-lunged sasquatch imitating
Fenriz of Darkthrone in the foreground. All of this
is slathered in distortionÖnot a layer piled on top
of the mix, but soaked and immersed in a gooey mess,
kind of like pouring a whole bottle of salad dressing
on a piece of iceberg lettuce. Each side either ends
with a very low rumbling buzz, or maybe thatís just
blank tape that sounds like a rumble because Iím playing
it so loud to see if thereís anything left. Regardless,
each side sounds quite similarÖin fact, it almost
sounds like it might be the same thing recorded on
both sides! Itís probably not, but that sounds kind
of nice, like one of those cassette singles with the
same program on each side. So you can flip it over,
rather than wear out one side of the tape. And if
you really like the song, you can flip it again. And
flip it again. And flip it. And flip it. Iíve been
flipping for this tape for about a week now. 19 flips
with Peeled Hearts Paste: "s/t."
never heard MOULD before, but he and Luca Abela, Dual
Plover label head and PHP in the flesh did this show
together in 1997, finally released here. Itís not
what I would expect from Peeled Hearts Paste (which
has since grown into its own as an "extreme turntablist"
act by attaching phonograph cartridges to turkey skewers
and using them to play cymbals and other LP-like things
mounted onto industrial strength 2000 RPM motors),
as the two appear to be tuning a radio, and then processing
it. If youíre the type of noise fan who finds the
idea of hearing Elton Johnís "Can You Feel The
Love Tonight" coming out of your speakers, only
to be obliterated by a Hawaiian punch of free noise
to be funny, youíll definitely want this. I enjoy
it because itís a great set of sounds, but donít get
any real pleasure in hearing someone smack around
pop radio just because "it has it coming."
It might be nice to be able to do the same thing to
the more vapid noise artists, but noisily demolishing
bad noise just becomes good noise, and thatís no insult.
Unfortunately, I donít know how easy itíd be to write
a top 40 pop song making fun of Napalm Jesus by going
"oh baby baby, skreeeoowowoowwwwwwoooo!"
Quite frankly, I heard Elton John enough in the Ď80s,
and inflicting that song voluntarily on myself again,
even within an ironic context, seems like more torture
for me than the songís author.
Eyes/Metalux split tape.
live shows, dunno when, dunno where. Wolf Eyes is
Nate of Jean Streetís band as well (he has others.
. .?), combining elements of the JS loose boweled
electro-wobble with a more industrial edge, courtesy
of the accompanying guitarist (Aaron Dilloway, I think).
This sounds very much like the Wolf Eyes show I saw
in Chicago, unless their machinery regularly catches
on fire, or that is some sort of running schtick of
theirs. The low-fidelity of the recording makes this
sound like a Wolf Eyes show if you were in the audience
with two sets of earplugs in your ears. For people
who donít like the ponderous goth-ness of modern industrial,
but still dig on the mechanized brutality, this is
a shining path in a dark (bat)cave. The Metalux side
doesnít compare, but is more engaging than the few
times Iíve seen them live. Since their schtick appears
to be not having any ideas or plans in their head
before they start playing (more thought seems to be
put into what hip second-hand clothes theyíre gonna
wear onstage), the fact that this turns into some
pretty nice formless bass/guitar/drum machine no wave
songs (like the Scissor Girls after someone slipped
Ďem a mickey) is a pleasant surprise. Itís probably
best that I canít decipher what theyíre intoning through
their Tom Waits CB radio-as-mic setup. The tape comes
in one of those big vinyl boxes that arenít convenient
to carry anywhere.
90 North Lowell St.
Windham, MA 03087
there are more Spite reviews to be found in and around
the lake. For example: Muckraker, issue #9 (http://home.earthlink.net/~giardia)
has reviews of the Smell & Quim/Cock E.S.P. split/collab
7", the K2/PD/(isofc) collab 7", the Incapacitants/Autoerotichrist
split 7", the Humectant Interruption/Crank Sturgeon
collab tape, the Crank Sturgeon 4 x cs, the Francois
Douris tape, the Macronympha/One Dark Eye tape, the
Wagstaff tape, the Sukora tape and the tac tape.
C. M. Sienko Foundation home page (http://cmsienkofoundation.tripod.com)
has two more reviews of early and out of print releases
by Humectant Interruption and Facialmess, with the
promise of many more in the future.
forthcoming (as of this publication) 46th issue of
Dead Angel (http://www.monotremata.com/dead/)
will contain reviews of the Odal and Sudden Infant
tapes for Spite.
magazine, issues 13 and 14, both have numerous Spite
reviews, and I heard from somebody that The Wire magazine
reviewed Dylan Nyoukisí "With Hicks In The Sudan"
tape in their "Out Sound" section.
may be others as well. There oughtta be.