Right so, it’s 1980! & some goons from Vancouver are about to vault a decade or so ahead in some kind of precocious portendral catapulting. Tunnel Canary! Who were active between 1978-1983 & transfigured tremendous histrionic, chaotic wild & fervent horrisonant scream-stippled psychedelic sundry, or using neophyte terminology – “Noise”. The sodality consists of three antagonists – Aleh Kaheen (Nathan Holiday) on electric guitar, synthesizer & “processed effects”, Ebra Ziron on vocals & David Sheftel shifting bass & electronic effects. A massive menu of manoeuvres & modalities are mustered, but heaps of cacophonic, harsh, high-pitched, distraint & turbulent turmoil, string straining fret-foible & guitar grating, searing & psychedelic synths, harsh/super distorted Noise, Feedback, Power Electronics & stentorian frequencies. Continue reading Tunnel Canary – Jihad CDR→
A humungous harsh plenoast through the soviet junk-yard & hypogeal caverns & cave-complexes. Industrial Noise Revival is actually veteran Stentorian Radek Kopel & his recently deceased accomplice Martin Beraxa, therefore “Napalmed”, the long running Czech Industrial-Harsh-Experimental-Noise goliath. There are three colossal tracks condensed into a single eighty minute convulsion. So a band called Industrial Noise Revival delivering three tracks actually is Napalmed providing one sustained voltage & venting. The two musicians tear through troves of equipment & sound-substances, but remain firmly in intense free-fall throughout. It’s basically a blank frame with multifarious noise wandering through it. In that respect, it can become fairly laborious. It seems much more like a demonstration of very cool sounds, phonics & ideas.
Brian Turner is a poet/writer & ex US Army veteran who served for seven years with stations in both Bosnia-Herzegovnia & Iraq. This excellent book extends many ruminations & accounts during, after & prior to his deployment, defined by Turner’s starkly descriptive & stylized writing characteristic. His style is blunt & terse but also verbose, ornate & often abstruse & cryptic with many peregrine qualities. It’s evocative & can be considerably ambiguous, sometimes to extremes, I would not even be uncomfortable with christening it avant-garde on occasion, whereas at others it’s profoundly direct with a literary brutality. Some of the passages are very abstract & have a dream-like/oneiric angle. The book can easily be read for these qualities alone, irrespective of any absence of interest in modern war & conflict. but should a desire for knowledge in the inner-realities of recent conflicts be present, Turner’s accounts contain reams of salient information from his very direct experience of military conduct in Iraq & the muted phenomenon of post conflict home-coming/reintegration into the civilian sphere & demilitarization. Continue reading My Life as a Foreign Country – Brian Turner – Autobiography/Memoir→
City Of Lies is the fantastic debut by British-Iranian journalist Ramita Navai. An exceptionally engrossing book that I scoffed back in a few days due to the massively captivating content and excellently evocative writing ornamentation/style of the author. The enigma that is contemporary Iran (Tehran specifically in this case) has been a focal fascination for me for some time as one of the most intriguing, ornate, tragic, exotic, and contradictory nations/cultures on earth, where essentially a draconian theocracy adnates with the madness of modernity amongst the vestiges of an early empire commingled with trace relics of a mysticism/religion (Zoroastrianism). Continue reading City Of Lies: Love, Sex, Death & The Search For Truth In Tehran – Ramita Navai – Non Fiction→
Classic mid 90’s contagion! Vomit Spawn! A four-piece Floridian mob trisecting Grindcore, Noisecore & vesicating erratic Death-Thrash regorge six barely digested burners of truly wonderful concerted & obnoxious spastication. I still consider this recording one of the best & most original in it’s field, fifteen years or so down the line & it’s clearly going to stay that way. seems that these guys were a bit older than the more common teen upstarts & had a slew-load of prior-experience & honing from bombing about the Keyes with Thrash/Death/Grind bands that probably never got past a few local shows & small scale demo oligopoly. Virtuosity & cultivated expertise are clearly present, particularly from the guitarist who is shit-hot, blur-shredding & thrashing with a real exigence & revelry whilst also pulling classic Metal pinched harmonics & chord-howling into the much more extreme territory of scathing Grind-Blur & Noisecore that generally dominate this EP. As well as totally antiphonic Blur, well-structured progressions & even quite technical compositional components can sometimes be detected. It’s played often so frantically, decked with the typical discordance that it’s easy to miss & just perceive on the whole as a noisy chaotic arse-whupping, but clearly contrived formation & adept song writing has been thrust into the vicious mangling in some sections. Most of the material is fast-picked & the tempo’s are quite considerable for the time. The next adorable genetic-defect is the drummer, Phony Tony who beleaguers one of the best displays of character drumming available. Clearly struggling to keep up with the required tempos, this guy churns out cult, laboured double-kick blasts, obviously beyond his comfort margin, just about keeping the whole thing streamlined through the straining. It sounds like he could derail or go into cardio arrest on the kick-drum mid blast. Not quite tight but just about making the gap & putting every ounce of stamina into it. it’s brilliant! & the trashy drum-kit with it’s garbage can snare & cracked-cake-tin cymbals are a fucking treat. Then comes the vocalist Ern. Lured from the Florida swamps by the stench of human carcasses, this reptile-mutant bellows & garbles unintelligible lallation & Tourette’s-turbulence with an extensive arsenal of hysterical malformed teratoid retch. You’ve got to give it up to this freaks scope & passion, twisting & strangling so many contrasting malfunctions out of his voice-valve & majorly bolstering the chaotic, fast & overwrought songs with even more trauma turgidity & psycho-fluctuation. Superb! Luckily the lyrics are 98% indiscernible as VS’s occasionally funny but extremely bad-taste ultra-unpleasant gross-out shit is something I can really do without, like puke in the skull cap, I really don’t need this junk soiling my fuckin’ thoughts.
That aside, this is a pretty spectacular kick in the chops with so much damn personality & character. As with most VS releases, great comic art abounds. I snatched this EP up pretty early during my entrance into the Grindcore/Noisecore underground & it set quite a standard. I expected to uncover more of the like but reluctantly realized that this kind of diligent, notably differing, effort soaked shit was far & few between. The old Four Tracker recording production & the fact that the guild are overtly so into their music & playing with everything they’ve got as well as experience & adeptness makes this opuscule-pustule really fuckin’ shine, track after track. After this EP, VS switched drummers & switched styles, doing much more straight-a-head GrindDeath which for me was a substantial fall back from this crazy & maverick style of intense overloaded NoiseGrind, spazz-Thrash.
Viscera– were a bunch of dirty degenerates from Australia doing some kind of feculent ScumGrind. It’s pretty terrible stuff but there is definitely a strange originality here with some non-conventional riffing & influences evidently from outside standard Grind canards. definitely not enough to save it from it’s own ultimate shitness though.
Here’s a stellar opus of vintage 60’s inventive-extremism without clear coeval. Neuro-flipping out of the enormously prestigious experimental clarion of 1969’s Actuel/BYG New Music/Free Jazz extravaganza in France that resulted in a cult series of fantastic, daring & exotic performances/recordings/albums, Sunny Murray’s Sunshine escapade manages to effloresce at an especially high altitude. First, let’s put Murray himself into context. Now this cat has got to be one of the weirdest & I would argue most unique drummers ever. He has a startlingly florid approach & repertoire of drastically aberrational methodology, construct & content that goes way beyond this album & consistently defies cliché, range & limit. Unreasonable, unpleasantly awkward, acutely abrasive, excessive, insufficient, & sometimes demonstrating real threat, pugnacity, ugliness & what to me sounds like execration, violence, certainly extreme sentiments. Much of Murrays work has a dark pall, whether by outlandish aggression or subtler leering & dense tenebrous rile. I may get in shit for this, but these are simply my honest interpretations (by no account correct) as a close spectator to the incredible whirlwind cocktail of intense emotive variegations ejected from his recordings. Going back to Murrays style(s) of playing, he often uses utter asymmetry. When in his lesser agitated modes you can often get slithering, shifting-leaves or other substances in motion sounds contrary to percussive criterion, often constantly changing angles & morphology. His use of space, or rather/more frequently- “timing” also creates obverse, non-musical (as in structure/familiar rhythm based rigidity that belong in a kind of structure vacuum more in the departments of “voice & confabulation” & “sound” away from any “musically” recognizable mediums (like beat, coherence, traditional form & structure). I don’t always like all of his stuff, but I never fail to marvel at the sheer novelty & drastic innovation of his incredible oddness & inventiveness. The originality is monstrous. Murray is also well known for his hysterics & his protraction which can often manifest in fast trawling repetition & what would decades later be referred to as “Blast-Beats” with in-motion fluctuations/punctuations & imbedded improvisations which were another distinctly Sunny modification. Sunny is a complete maverick! Like’ hella’ monastic. Pioneer seems almost an understatement as it suggests many follow, but Murray is so bizarre & uncompromising in certain channels that I don’t really feel a defined lineage has emerged. His “influence” should be vast (that’s harder to detect), but his personal styles & their tortuous misshapen motley customizations is too opaque & multi-involuted for replication & mass production, proving perhaps that if you push hard enough & manage to mutate that densely across multi-content you will inevitably achieve the inimitable. Whatever, the guy really is a wild card & serves shit up like no other.
Now, shifting the novelty-gauge up even further is what Murray would do as a leader. A clear predisposition for multiple wind-instruments & the goading/approbation for full on abandon & the complete overload in some kind of epicurean blow-out bonanza. So much of my favourite & fiercest Free Jazz seems to have a certain roof, but Murrays stuff has a particular all permissive lawlessness to it that seems slightly extracurricular. He brought together some amazing personnel & always seems to dragoon them in to cutting loose beyond the maximum.
Anyway, this particular album is my personal favourite of Murrays so far, consisting of three tracks. Flower Trane (13.45) exordiums with a slow grandiose overture before plunging into abject hurricane-oblivion with fantastical intensity & total overspill with all attendees throwing down somthin’ life-threatening before returning to more moderate quarters & rerunning the songs beginning theme.
Next comes “REAL”. For me, this is one of the most important/best scorchers ever recorded in the Free Jazz ambit. It’s pure exasperation from start to finish. Murray just rattles away on the cymbals with some kind of blastbeat, ensuing a kind of white noise, torrential rain, solid harsh & sharp noise urtication that gets punctured & violently torn off course by occasional foot-stabs. Pure intensity without mercy. Enter Kenneth Terroade. Now, this guy has become an icon to me. An obscure Jamaican saxophonist who as far as I know recorded only with Murray aside his disappointing LP on Actuel who then disappeared & has not been heard of since. Jesus motherfucking hutch chrerst…this sum’ bitch just tears it the fuck down. Some of the most violent & apoplectic deeply-distraint & parlous playing I have ever heard! Did he go mad? Blast some cops? What happened to this guy? for gods sakes will you listen to this stuff? Malachi Favors is also pulsing over the wire like his life depends on it. he is unfortunately quite faint & hard to make out over the incalculably austere racket Terroade & Murray are doling, but blistering impetuous ingenuity streams fourth. So damn special!
Red Cross ignites gigantic disaccord & monumental fallout, bewildering positive yet petrifyingly pugnacious, disconcerting liberational volcanic aperture with what I believe is the entire roster of musicians on the album battling it out in a biblical show-down of indomitable mayhem & fraying fanaticism. The hysteria & extremity are just off the scales. Murray wrote & designed this song for continual play/protraction as three segments are rotated amongst shredding exponentially exasperated scald & frenzy. It’s beyond powerful, obliterating & feverishly exciting, overflowing at apex emergency. The song ends abruptly after almost eight minutes & somebody can be heard saying “already?” …I completely concur. Is there any more takes/versions of these sessions available? Glorious & ineffable, an extraordinary triumph. In my excitement I forgot to state the full line-up (with a horn section to lop-limbs for) Roscoe Mitchell, Archie Shepp, Lester Bowie (SHIT!!!); Kenneth Terroade & Arthur Jones (obscure but both superb players); Malachi Favors, Alan Silva & Dave Burrell!!!
A great recent album from long running cult French seditionist Noise-terrorist Mormansk 150. Trying to pinpoint & disambiguate through discordant camouflage, the Mourmansk fixation/ideology seems to agitate amongst ultra anti-western, & combative anti-capitalist, with an entrenched execration for what could be, to use a cliché, referred to as “ the business & political classes” & the corporate sector, with what perhaps could be identified as extreme left-wing & anarchist contumacy & militant rejectionist ideals. I may well be off the exact mark, I hope not offending the protagonists for this observation, but loosely analysing through the opaque rind of endless distortions, grating harsh bludgeoning & mordant murk, they clearly contest from a similar sub-current.
Emerging I think in the mid 90’s, the M150 rancour was initially performed by an apoplectic loner & dealt incomparably harsh Stridor or intense neuralgic Distress & destructive Electronics with perspicuous Industrial influences & aspects. The entity later became marginally less barbaric & less assaulting with the direct, meta-harsh maiming & manhandling that was previously so focal, & started shifting more into the Power Electronics spectrum, still quite willing to resort to the hitherto harsh offending & barbarism on accession. Somewhere around 2007 a second Strentorian was conscripted as a permanent member & the unit now operates as a duo.
Having followed Mourmansk for some time I have to confess that a lot of the recent rioting has left me disappointed, merging with the massive tide of standard Power Electronics homogeny. However, Yes We Conflict really astonished & surprised me & I think is one of Mourmansk’s greatest moments & a real vertex opus within the orbit.
It is profoundly varied. It would seem a colossal volume of equipment & formation strategies has been employed with what I suspect is diligent deliberation for diversity & variegation. Many breeds of discordance, from horrendously harsh skin-peeling, slow dissolving acid, & frankly awful fucking frequencies of appallingly unnerving & unpleasant Distress & acute consternation are utilized. Searing beams, burning rays of dreadful asperity, nasty low-end frequencies spilling ominous outrage & making the skin crawl. There are so many significantly differing modes/styles of noise/dissonance/distortion with pitches, textures & construct straying massively from one track to the next. I seldom hear this many details & alterations expanding on a noise album, which so often seem to elect variations on one frequency. The vocals are majorly mutated with FX &/or distortions, rarely are the words really legible, which is a shame as Mourmansk material can boast punctiliously researched subject matter & critique (mostly of modern conflicts & what I have heard them refer to as “the corrigendum”, or modern occidental power nexus). Four other groups/artists collaborate with individual contributions with some very strong results (particularly on “grave” with Anemone Tube). Samples of course skulk within the damaged tissues & formations /chronology lurch between free-fall & Stratiform with loops & ragged cacophonic rhythms.
Pretty much everything on the album is of exceptional quality & you can spectate from start to finish quite easily in one elaborate & extensive nightmare piece. The last four tracks, christened – “France’s Atrocious Geopolitical Medalling’s” have a particularly vicious lock-jaw to abscise any retained limbs.
Very impressive stuff if you can handle such grotesque & negative immersion.
Surprisingly the album has been issued on an Israeli label, which seems unexpected from Mourmansk considering their scrutiny & castigation on modern conflicts & tyranny.
A reflection of the ridiculously ailing nadir we are currently inhabiting…OUCH!!!
Here’s a remarkable deeply original LP from Julius Hemphill. It was initially released & recorded in 1972 on Hemphill’s own label “Mbari” to much acclaim & was later reissued with enhanced distribution capacity by Arista/Freedom in 1977. Hemphill composes the albums triune of tracks & has summoned the intriguing expertise of Abdul Wadud on cello, Philip Wilson on drums & Bakidida Carroll on trumpet. Let’s kick off with the real clincher, the title track Dogon A.D. , a 14.30 minute masterpiece of lackadaisical desert maundering. the Founding formation is Wilson’s wonderfully disjointed drum-loop/beat that’s composed in a fast eleven (contrary to which the beat is actually very slow & loping) that trudges through the dunes stoically throughout with very little improvisation. It’s hypnotic, dope & has a quiet complexity despite it’s repetition & dogged preservation. Wadud wades in quickly & compliments with excellent groaning low-end bowing that interlocks with the groove, quickly followed by the horns. An excellent scripted interaction ensues, really gathering atmosphere before Wadud transmutes his cello pattern for an alternative arrangement & Hemphill starts his extensive soloing & improvisation that stretches out over the track in a passionate periphrasis, not completely going off the rails but pushing considerably over the boundaries of sonorous decorum & lucidity. He has a great style of playing, often quite piquant in pitch & clearly quite grounded in traditional formulas yet blatantly wilderness-savvy & hysteria prone. Baikida is the next up to proclaim his improvisational tensity with first class trumpet flamboyance.
Last on Side A is “Rites”, a hasty & disorderly ravel of raucous squabbling instruments & intensity over fast Swing pushing Tumble-Weed. It’s pretty manic, missing the out-of-hand urgency of many other records at the time but conjuring other novelties & by no accounts at all coming up short on the wild corybantic rashness of the medium. Good stuff!
Finally we arrive at The Painter, a fifteen minute tune taking up the full B side. Hemphill seems to have opted for a full versatility stratagem as this final track yet again completely polarises itself against the previous disparate duo. This is a sparser & far more abstract affair with Hemphill on flute & Wilson using whiskers. Spacious & heavy on experimenting & uber-Avant verve the song claws it’s way through an exotic environment of sound & shapes seemingly without full clarity or destination. Wadud seems to play his bass/cello like a guitar on this number. I am not so sure about the technique but this is certainly a very interesting advent with Hemphill playing very well & Wilson also generating some pleasing tight flurries amongst the uncertain sprawl.
Overall, this is a spectacular & idiosyncratic record with a great variety of conditions, themes & styles. Luckily, it’s still in print as a deluxe digi-pack (& rightfully so) & should be easily attainable.
WOW! How this exquisite double-knock-out disk duo took so long to get the quality reissue treatment is beyond me (typical Industry impotence & pedestrianism I guess), but here it is at last. The disks capture the late Coltrane’s seething, steeple toppling, tectonic-shattering Temple University live concert from 1966, one of his last & most volatile.
The gigs controvertible wildness & further foray into Coltrane’s turbulent & draconian sector seems to have secured legendary notoriety. Tumultuous austerity aside, brief frivolities such as Coltrane’s singing whilst chest beating seem to have impelled tremendous disdain & shock from the conventionalists. For fucks sakes! This is free jazz, go stir your cocktails somewhere else trick! I suppose Coltrane’s expansion into the great out back was seen as sacrilege to his previous serenity whilst canalizing far too much hostility & heat for his ameliorated acolytes that had been enamoured by the more accessible & benignant “classics” he had laid down in previous years. God forbid you should ever slip your chains. This is bloody intense stuff though! & in many facets (often all commensurate). The kind of berserk & uncontrolled pandemonium that would wrest rampant on this critical evening was not for the etiolated, genteel or confined of consciousness. These recordings represent Coltrane at his most enigmatic, most inspiring & least compromising bar perhaps Om! In other words, the mrfkn’ lick kid!!!
Coltrane’s compositions & more traditional moments on these efforts act really as catalysts & springboards for voluminous peregrinations into the molten heart of exhaustive extemporization & extremity. Ruthlessly energetic & urgent histrionics over a squall of paroxysmal percussive percolation from a possessed Rashid Ali & a series of conga players. A seething strident mass of enraptured stupefaction & skull-splitting superlatives that aureate & prolix at enormous length. Perhaps two thirds of both disks fulminate under full hysterics with torrential improvised exaltation severing pretty much all restraints & conventional communications. Pharaoh Sanders inflicts some of the most absurdist phono-obscenities, with fuming siege, almost forgoing any notion of composure or melodic/sound topography, veering violently & implacably into the noise spectrum with about as much cogence as natural disaster, capable of disembowelling a being without breaking the skin. It’s terrific & terrifying, as is pretty much everything, even the more traditional/milder sections that I don’t really appraise. With such libertine-largesse on extremities & the enormity of the blow-outs (two guest saxophonists also donate further flammables), packed to bursting with jumbled, barley congruent percussion from up two four hand-drummers, they deliver excellent air-pockets & temporary cushioning to the inexorable hostilities & emergency pandemics that swagger supreme on the majority of the disks.
This is a very’ very special recording. I have only recently unearthed the profound fortune of locating Coltrane’s temerarious & tempestuous “Free” epoch after slogging through many of the “wrong” recordings (for one so disposed to the manic & megrim side o’ things). The discoveries have been incredible, but Offering may be the best yet. For the more adventurous listeners with substantial lorications & anti-flame retardant head-dress, this is a great place to start with Coltrane for that ultimate upper-cut in epilepsy & epicurean effulgence!
Risk & vision from an illustrious pioneer of both composed & improvised/free excursion, along with much in-between. Side A exacts with Sir Simpleton! From the first cycle of the killer opening bass line, a sly, finagling creeper in ten (plucked simultaneously by two bassists), you know the subsequent events are going to be special. The track is swiftly festooned with an accompanying multitude of reeds, vocals & the third bass component (playing a separate pattern that embellishes the core composition maintained by the two initial bassists). Extensive soling & improvised theatrics effuse from two of the reed players & Myers whilst the remaining musicians conserve the structured chassis. It’s a brilliant song, crammed with unusual styling & methodology, excellent performance, imaginative & unorthodox instrument assignment (four bassists, four reed musicians & one vocalist) & a gloriously fatal bass-lick to spill your splanchnic but good, & this incredibly heteroclite deportment & allocation thrives for the albums duration.
Last on side A is Celebration. This is a slow, sweet & amiable Bluesy Folk song (at least that’s the appearance I perceive). It’s the least challenging, most conventional & coherent song on the album albeit with the abstruse instrumentation of the assemble. The song is quite sentimental or at least on the verge of such sentimentality. Nothin’ wrong with that, but talking from a strictly personal angle this track does not engage me & rarely gets a rotation.
Third of four is Air Song with all basses barred & all four reed players on flutes. This track is the most abstract & least direct, an oblique exploration that resides within the “Flot” (pensive, discombobulated, inconclusive, curious & amorphous type’ shit) margin. For me it works because there is quite a lot of content & a rich array of sounds & approach, something this intensely non-specific & vague style frequently lacks. I don’t get stultified or start shouting at the record player (mf git’ on wit it!) as much of this music impels me to do. it’s not linear, the versatility is copious & despite the somewhat subdued suggestion the musicians exert themselves (in fact the song ends on a crescendo of heightened agitation & kinetics that are developed in the last third). Impressive indeed.
Lastly, the wig-splitter, the cherry on top of the lamp-post, it’s the sublime Fe Fi Fo Fum! Cripes! I lud’ dis shit! Lets’ compartmentalize this complex mother…. Gorgeous walking bass strutting with amped-vamp throughout (who dat?), a knock out solo from Threadgill, marvellous but fairly standard ground. But it’s not long before the rest of the troop start to pile into the overcrowded vessel & rock the foundations with less & less rational playing & escalating histrionics shedding lucidity by the pale by the minute. It get’s more & more out of hand, but the lone lucid bassist just keeps on walking amongst the gathering maelstrom. Superb!
What a great album. Utterly disparate & individual!