by Larry "Fuzz-O" Dolman



I still haven't listened to this shit, but I got it months ago, maybe even a year ago. I've been in no hurry to listen to it because it's already blown my mind. It came in this box with random stuff stuck to it, like the CD cover to the Rocky IV soundtrack, and a frame of film strip, and a piece of cardboard with 70s design: "© Copyright 1981 / Center for Applied Linguistics / 3520 Prospect St. NW / Washington, DC 20007." Yeah right!
      The return address on the normal package didn't look much more plausible, being professionally printed on a business card as "Working Assets Environment / Scott Spear / 537 River Rd. / Windham, ME 04062." Open the box up, and on a nest of unspooled cassette tape lay 4 or 5 home-packaged CDRs like insane easter eggs. There's also some 'found photographs' in there. Incredible! I knew I couldn't open up any of these little sealed art-bags without getting jpg scans of them first for the inevitable review page (which this page is, of course), so I tucked them away in a safe place and got back to taking care of my five-week-old son L'il Phil "Fuss-O" Dolman.
     Now it's five and a half months later, and L'il P is almost SEVEN MONTHS old now (he's already lived lifetimes, believe me), and more importantly, he and mom are away for the weekend, so not only can I get the house cleaned at a leisurely place, I can actually take the time to SIT AROUND AND MAKE JPG SCANS OF CRAZY NOISE CDRs AND THEN OPEN THEM UP AND LISTEN TO 'EM AND WRITE ABOUT IT FOR THIS WEBZINE.
      I've made the scans, and they follow, each preceded by a number. I do not yet know the artist and title of any of these releases, except for #2 down there, which is by that I Dick the MF Table or whatever that insane band name is (I could look on the cover itself, or I guess you could too, if you scroll down to #2), and 4 seems to be a 3-inch CDR by Crank Sturgeon, or maybe Crank Sturgeon Yurt, maybe a collab or split or just "Crank Sturgeon-related." I'm assuming this information will become a little clearer as I remove each disc, take out the inserts, and listen to them. You're welcome to join me . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .










Okay, 1 is a 3-inch CDR that appears to also be by ID M Theft Able. The title appears to be, well, This Microphone Smells Like A 1997 Make Out. But what does it sound like? Well, would you guess . . . a barber shop quartet doing 21 non-stop minutes of a capella improvised sound poetry?? That's right, move over David Moss and Paul Dutton . . . the motif for all the babble / hum / weirdness seems to be the word "microphone," although by the end of the piece most of the words in the title have been uttered. Yep, 21 minutes, and it was already more than ridiculous enough after . . . two minutes! Weirdest track ever? Dorkiest track ever? Weirdest dorkery track ever?

2 is also by Id M Theft Able, this time a regular 5-inch CD, with 78 minutes of music instead of only 21, which might be a little too much for your humble reviewer right now . . . . but track one is great! Still a lot of human voice going on, but much more sparsely and now surrounded by vague hints of crinkled noise and space bloopers. I mean, that last one was like Bobby McFerrin compared to this. I really like it, and I might actually be able to listen to it for 78 minutes. Id M Theft Able's project, running sort of parallel with (but completely apart from) Elklink and aspects of Wolf Eyes, seems to be with the Dada/Chopin lineage regarding linguistics and the human voice. You know, sound poetry.
      Let's find out more . . . the back cover of this disc has a URL (kraag.org) which is the only contact I'm getting besides the somewhat dubious return address of Scott Spear @ Working Assets Environment. I'm loading the web page just now . . . . . . . . . . . . . my dial-up connection is really sucking today . . . . the site starts with a series of like 75 different 'nonsense words' that quickly cycle past, like "gaark" and "casai" and lots more, and the title of this sequence is "a prayer." Definitely sound poetry, and it really does work for me as a prayer, which makes it religious too. Okay, now the prayer's done -- it takes a while on dial-up internet -- and I'm at the kraag.org homepage and it seems just as confusing as everything else, what little content quickly dissolving into a long splash of disembodied typography. The whole thing is titled "kraagistan," which doesn't help much either.
     The text on the inside cover of the disc itself, on the other hand, is disarmingly straightforward: "This cdr by id m Theftable is known as "Atmos! Eros! Sprig!" it contains 4 tracks . . . number one is "Tickle Me" and features guests Channel One (voice) and Lovebunny (Channel One, Trombone)," and so on. "All tracks recorded between January + April 2002 live on the 'Res Dual Mang' radio show on WMPG Portland ME . . . this release is MANG-DISC number 18 and please feel free to visit KRAAG.ORG. Scent recommendations: Chinese food (especially fried rice + Lo-mein) as well as a menagerie of breath scents . . ." So yeah, quirky, but also straightforward compared to everything else. I'm getting it now, this is I Dick M The F Table, who now calls himself Id M Theftable (I liked it better pre-censorship). This is the guy from Portland, Maine who did the "Mang" radio show -- I remember him posting crazy playlists on list-servs a few years ago. And this must be his related label, Mang-Disc, and ID M Theftable is his noise alter ego. And, with Atmos! Eros! Sprig! he's made a good album.

I have no idea who 3 is by, and I've listened to it twice. I'm starting to think that it's a 'found cassette' that some kids made, possibly some girls in Mr. Mang-Disc's family, sisters or cousins, playing the usual game where kids learn how to operate a tape recorder and sing into it and make skits and play the results back all night long. The cover art is a xerox of the actual cassette that the kids recorded on, the album master if you will, complete with "2 Songs" in their handwriting. In further tribute to childhood arts-and-crafts endeavors, Mr. Mang-Disc adds his own crayon-scrawl and attaches festive plastic streamers to the jewel case.
      There are 50 tracks, most of them really short, although there's a 15-minute-long doozy in there somewhere, mostly sublime dead air, with a very quiet texture -- might be a humidifier, or a bathtub draining -- emerging gorgeously around the 7-minute mark. The rest is mostly the two girls playing around. Some laughs, some songs, some skits, and some just plain uninvolved stuff where it sounds like they forgot to turn the recorder off.
      Sometimes one of the girls sings by herself and it really sounds kinda creepy, especially when I'm listening to it from another room in the apartment. (I just watched both Ringu and The Ring this weekend.) Then, to make you jump back out of your seat, there's these snippets of utter-crap kids-muzak that pop up here and there, really loud, like a cheesed-out histrionic karaoke-type version of "Would I Lie To You?" by the Eurythmics. There's also a snippet by the Digital Underground, "Are you guys old school, new school, R&B or hip hop? What should I tell 'em?" and I'm like "Sex Packets! My favorite album of 1990!"
      Okay, from the website I've deduced that this is called Low Noise Quality Tape, described as "more 'found sound', little girls, covers of "from a distance" and "home sweet home" amungst others...." I have to say that this might be my favorite Mang-Disc release.

4 is a 3" disc that comes in a bag with a playing card (5 of Hearts), a Pokemon card, a Scruples card, some remnants of Radio Shack packaging, a truly eerie photo of a long-haired woman walking towards a pond with her back to the camera (again, I just watched both Ringu and The Ring this weekend), and maybe some other junk. The disc is indeed by Maine's all-time most famous noise musician, Crank Sturgeon, and according the website is called The Portable Hake Atavist (come to think of it I remember reading that somewhere in the package). Squeaky grinding, garbage sound collage, perverse and tape-mangled country songs, fractured spoken word . . . another dependable fishing-net-full of Crank Sturgeon junk.

Okay, as for release # 5 up there, I'm not going to open that one. I couldn't tell you for sure who it is or what it's called, but some possibilities are KAK -------- A FAMILY or DIAMOND LAKE or SOLEMN NOPINKTOOKE (sp?) or 0 OR 3. I'm not gonna open it because I've already listened to 4 out of 5 releases, and maybe I'd like to keep this one as a mere sculpture, a curio, a little toy, a gewgaw, instead of just something to listen to . . . . so I won't open it . . . . let's see, there's more unspooled tape in there, and a candy wrapper, and . . . . oh shit, I just noticed for the first time! Just now! It has actual cashew nuts and a little broken off piece of an actual breadstick in it! (Look close at the bottom of picture 5b, above.) Hilarious! Does this mean I have to open it, because eventually the food will decompose and bugs will start living in there? Nah, that's good old American processed food, there's enough preservative chemicals fried into it to make it immortal.

Well, that's it for Mang-Disc releases, but here's some found photographs on real Kodak paper that were also in the box (along with this page's background tile wedding photo):







These two vinyl LPs on the Nauscopy label (Lancaster, NH), along with the all the stuff from Kraag.Org (Portland, ME), both get this issue's "Caroliner," the award we give to the most fucked-up releases, the ones that stand as art objects alone before the record is even removed from the package. Particularly the first one, although the totally clear package on the second one is a nice curve-ball. (Sorry, my scanner isn't wide enough to get a whole LP cover in a single scan, and I'm sorry to say that actual human hairs are visible on my scan of the all-clear LP. I should clarify that they are MY human hairs, and not part of the packaging, although I wouldn't put it past these home-made noise yahoos!)
      So the first one, as the sticker spells out, is "a split LP between Baz and Edith Bunker's Demonized Auto Insurance." The sleeve is from a thrift store romance / schmaltz record from the early 1950s, marred by a few well-placed nonsense grocery stickers, crossed-out handwriting, and an entire attached bag of Burpee seeds. Great "WE GOOFED" sticker. I'm assuming I'm listening to
Baz right now, but you know how it goes. Meanwhile, there's an entire ZINE packaged inside this record sleeve, unstapled, just a bunch of xeroxes, weird essays, obscure scrawls, found text, trash trinkets, a page torn out of Huckleberry Finn, empty plastic bags for small Korean electronics, a candy bar wrapper . . . . like some cheap-ass version of Wallace Berman's Semina. The music by Baz is . . . fucked-up noise. Kind of like Prick Decay with occasional vocals for that 'Third Generation Residents' feel. Well, not the GREATEST cut-up noise shite I've heard in the last week, but it's decent enough to hang with the crazed packaging. Side two is by Edith Bunker's Demonized Vomit Insurance -- who have an actual track listing somewhere in the 'zine' and seem to actually be playing songs! Sure the first one goes, "AAAHHHAHHHAHHH!!!!" and the second one goes, "You're an asshole! You're an asshole! You're an asshole!" and so on about thirty times, but they are songs.

As for the totally clear LP (shades of first Faust! musically too!), it's a split shared by Ob Stokkem (which I actually kind of figured because of that sticker on there) and, well, I'm afraid it's true, an act called, well: n|.o7_2el.}r2m-l\o#g. Yep, I am spelling that correctly. One more time? n|.o7_2el.}r2m-l\o#g. That's n|.o7_2el.}r2m-l\o#g. Google 'em.
      Anyway, Ob Stokkem: pretty much great gnarly junk drawer bedroom noise rock! Slightly more noise than rock. And yes, the Faust vibes continue, but Ob Stokkem have something that sets them apart: prank phone calls! They're American after all. A couple times I got momentarily confused, thinking I was still listening to the Just Farr A Laugh prank phone call CD, because it's also in the stereo right now.
      As for n|.o7_2el.}r2m-l\o#g, it's more like weird dance clang . . . in a slightly more Fiend Recordings / Animal Disguise vein . . . but then it's not that at all, now I'm getting big clouds of psychedelic contact mic to metal reverberation. Shit, dance what? This is more like Xenakis.
      In closing, these are two fine records released by Nauscopy. The packaging is crazier on the Baz/Edith Bunker's one, but I especially like the music on the Ob Stokkem / n|.o7_2el.}r2m-l\o#g split. I can't imagine that there are too many of these pressed, so if you're interested, grab one now!

THIS JUST IN FROM THE NAUSCOPY CEO: "....just wanted to let you know, in case this matters, that you have a couple of things switched. Regarding the split LP of Baz and Edith Bunker's Demonized Vomit Insurance, the artist you thought was Baz is in fact EBDVI and vice versa. (EBDVI is the side that has 2 lock grooves at the beginning). Same thing goes for the Ob Stokkem thing. (Ob Stokkem's side begins with 2 lock grooves). Oh and the Baz/Edith thing was released in September 2001, in case that makes a difference. Thanks!" Jeez, and I thought I was good at this kind of thing . . . .

Also from Nauscopy:

VARIOUS ARTISTS: Video Games of the Twelfth Century CD (NAUSCOPY)
Can you believe how "twelfth" is spelled? I can't believe I've never noticed how weird that is. Anyway, 43 tracks on here presented with that info-overload Nauscopy aesthetic. Has a page of small-print liner notes that are fun to read and dispel my first impression that all the bands on here that aren't famous (like Schimpfluch Gruppe, Faxed Head, MSBR, Trumans Water, and Tape Beatles) were just Mr. Nauscopy messing around. Well several of them might be, but most of them are not, even bands like Eeyore Fiend Magnet (San Francisco, CA), Linoleum Scrounge (Northampton, MA), Baloney Bong (Kent, OH), and Teenage Car Upholstery-Q From Newbraska (Lancaster, NH) are not Nauscopy side projects. In fact, Linoleum Scrounge comes from Yeay! Cassettes, which means that the Yeay! label was active at least 3 1/2 years before I heard of 'em (this comp was assembled in 1999). Anyway, all the various tracks are going by too fast for me to track-by-track it (thank the lord, you're saying), but this is a lot of scrambly weird shit and your average junk-wave noisenik should love it. I do, which means that I could well be an average junk-wave noisenik. One cool thing is that a lot of tracks aren't by bands, they're just excerpts from old records, or "white sound" interludes, or other detritus/ephemera, edited in by Mr. Nauscopy. Anyway, some of the other names on here are: The Brown Cuts Neighbors (Schenectady, NH); Pope Paul Pot (Berkeley, CA); Rancid Hell Spawn (London, England); Dreamstalker (Richmond, VA); Post Mortem (Revere, MA); Ford Prefect (New Jersey); Atta (Zurich, Switzerland); Gang of Pork (Glendale, AZ); The Dramatics (Maryland); Chief Disinformation Officer (Beaverton, OR); and more. D.I.Y Forever!!! What is this, a CDR on Hyped 2 Death? (No, it's a CD on Nauscopy.) Also features other New Hampshire artists such as Bad Day Slab, + - 1, You Can't Have A Dinosaur, and Your Possessed Toilet . . . . . but nothing by n|.o7_2el.}r2m-l\o#g. Must've been before they got together.