Sonny Sharrock – Monkey Pockie Boo Bleg Excerpt
The seminal shockwave. Passion-sodden discordant ictus lurid contumacious mayhem with all the hinges gone & the screws ejected from their cavities. Sharrock & his mad-moll Linda took certain principles further than anyone & FIRST! it certainly did not always work but this classic LP is an excellent display of Sharrock’s churlish Avant-Garde aggression. Summoned to agitate the storm-currents are Sharrock on guitar & vocals, his partner Linda on vocalizations & two French session musicians that were synonymous with the BYG/Actuel collective & performances – Beb Guerin on Double Bass & the excellent Jacques Thollot on drums. there are three expeditions, one with a hugely destructive radius – “Soon”. Side-A’s solitary track is the unsettling & ectopic “27th Day, a sixteen minute plus metaplasia of cardinal Avant oddity. It’s a spectacular, bizarre & intensely estranging experience. Jumping-off with queasy molasses instigations with Sharrock using a slide-whistle to truly brilliant effect whilst low-end bowing from Guerin groans caveats in ancient dialects. Linda’s ceremonial summoning is unnerving with a somewhat shifting gravity/alternating focus & swaying of the reality margins. Thollot’s rapid scuttling agitation is replete with floridity & excellent precision with an obstinate inventiveness that spawns consistent detail. Sharrock eventually whips out the guitar & cauterizes with his signature grating, cacophonic, stuttering throttling. This is very far out shit, & it really works as an entire piece in massively weird drastic experimentation.
Next is the pandemonium piece “Soon”, a seething storm-cloud of chaos & clonus chagrin bursting it’s banks & showering molten psychedelic debris & misshapen sonic froth. Everybody goes berserk in what’s arguably the definitive Sharrock storming of the citadel set-piece. Sharrock’s guitar-noise sounds like the man has pincers, pushing the instrument to teratoid deviance, all the more admirable as no (or very little/basic) distortion or effects are utilized. I have read that Sonny wanted to play his guitar like a soling-saxophone. Atonality & heteroclite mannerisms of play along with abject experimentation & expansive zeal lead to many techniques being extruded. Scraping, constricting the strings to the cusp of breakage & general duress & contraventional conduct. If you took his guitar work from this LP now & put a blast beat behind it, it would be received as Noisecore. the fast-picking & the obstinate absonance & discordant mutation along with the almost “abusive” playing style. Sharrock’s precocity was enormously extravagant. In fact it’s really hard to credit the guy enough, he was unsurpassed in his initiation & application. It was way’ way more than just “Noise” related proficiency, & with Linda’s contribution & the exceedingly Avant/outré nature of his work it matamorphed way beyond it’s era.
Linda’s screaming gibbering whaling, theatric-overdrive outermost sensationalism billowing out like a hole in a high-pressure container. Again, all this is achieved without distortion or FX. Everything is clean, play/issue it crazy without relying on any gizmos or gadgets. all the effects pedals & drum-machines that now frequently inhabit many of the genres that Sharrock arguably founded now rely upon are absent from this session which makes the whole opus that more isolated in it’s brilliance.
The last track on the album is MPB. Sharrock always dragged in & amalgamated obscure forms of folk music..here it’s what sounds like Native American call & response from himself & Linda with Avant incertitude milling around the flanks. For me, this one can be discarded. The two whoppers you get here are 27th Day & Soon! & they really are seismic & mind altering. Is there no more material from these sessions? It really is tragic as fuck that Sharrock, Linda & others did not record more. for me really, it’s these two tracks & “Peanut” from Sonny’s previous 1968 LP Black Woman that define his genius & generational jumping. In just three trax this guy & his gorgon have completely skewed the universe & laid down the definitive formula for so much “extreme music” & “noise” that would come decades later. Totally fucking incredible!