Thursday, September 29, 2016

Chris Goudreau - SELF - OMEI




















Chris Goudreau - Ultranegative
Elm Recordings. RLM-11
C40 100 copies.

Chris Goudreau - Odd Monsters
Kitty Play Records. KPR23
C24 100 copies.

SELF/OMEI - It Never Ends Well
Circle of Shit. C.O.S.28
2 x C34, 5 x business cards, 1” button badge, sew on patch & sticker in hessian bag.



I don’t suppose its easy being a noise artist. With very few exceptions making a living from it is virtually impossible and even if you’re Mr. Shit Hot shifting those units is a hard work. Release something new every month and even your most ardent fans become jaded, release something once a year and you’re hardly doing your profile any favours. Gigging involves lots of travel and plenty of discomfort with little in the way of recompense and there’s always the possibility that putting your equipment on the airline check-in scale could be the last you ever see of it. And then mixer guy starts pulling faces because he thinks its too loud and the turnout’s in the low twenties.

At a gig in Birmingham I once saw Chris Goudreau take to the stage, outside, in November at around one in the morning to perform before a small group of mainly drunk people who by that time would have struggled to notice the difference between Whitehouse and Sparks. For this he had traveled on a transatlantic flight, with all his equipment and all the hassle that comes with trailing through airports for approximately ten minutes of noise making. That those ten minutes were of the highest quality was no doubt lost on that small group of inebriated merry makers but for those who had braved the cold and had managed to stay clear of the John Barleycorn the results were nothing short of visceral bliss. To his credit Goudreau did his duty with the utmost magnanimity and where others might have stomped about complaining about their being brown M&M’s in the bowl or the lack of fluffy white bath towels in the dressing room, he just got on with it. Even though he’d traveled thousands of miles, even though it was bollock freezing, even though the crowd had dwindled to the drunks and the intrigued and those few who knew they were in for a rare treat.

Its why I’ve always had a lot of time for what Goudreau creates. He takes what he does seriously. He’s a serious noise artists. He’s seriously good too. First with Sickness, a solo noise project that saw him explore the frailties of health and later with his side project Omei where he gets to explore the quieter side of things. Like other noise artists before him Goudreau has now begun to release music under his own name and like other noise artists before him this has resulted in a maturing of output. Out go the full blown noise sets and in comes a more measured, less frenetic response.

The two live tracks on Odd Monsters, both clocking in at around eleven minutes, are Goudreau in hunched over modular synth mode creating a juddering sequence of juxtaposed growls, pops, stops, starts, sustained drones, snatched samples of panicked conversation, message dings and with it wild fluctuations in volume that make you wonder if the next three seconds are either Contemporary Composition or the full blown roar of a noise artist getting in to the swing of it. Brevity plays its part and its to Goudreau’s credit that he can pack such a considerable punch in such a brief space of time. Oblique and somewhat troubling liner notes lead me to believe that this is the break off release for Goudreau and that his future lies more in this direction and less in that of Sickness.

The title track on Ultranegative carries on in the same vein with plenty of glass being chewed between back molars for that full on granular feeling whilst its neighbour ‘After Image’ contains as much silence as noise. On the flip we find ‘Piano Sonata For The Untalented’ and a side long noise drone feedback work which I struggled to fully engage with. The troughs and peaks it goes through work fine enough appeared at times to be meandering and in need of sharper focus.

Anyone who’s ever been to a Goudreau/Sickness show will no doubt have bumped into [quite literary] John Balistreri. With his nihilistic Power Electronics project Slogun he’s as often as not down the front reveling in the fact that there’s a small crowd of people intent on knocking the shit out of each other and whoever happens to be standing within in elbows reach. It comes as some surprise then to discover Balistreri has a side project called SELF that delivers the kind of ultimate muscle relaxant ambience that you thought only Brian Eno was capable of.

‘It Never Ends Well’ really has been a revelation of a release with both artists delivering two sides of pure ambient drone bliss. SELF with a looping two chord wheeze through which are scattered the echoes of cars passing through tunnels and then a lo-fi drone roar with machine hum, the clanging of elevator cables, a heavy smoker struggling for breath, distant conversations and a send off that appears at the sound of solemnly struck plague bell, OMEI with two slowly moving, cycling drones and a steel mill forge hammer for balance. A truly haunting and beautiful release.

Those five business cards give further clues as to the direction these two are working towards here; images of self harm, blood from cuts and photographs of peeling and torn bill posters and decay as taken by Balistreri. These releases go deep but that makes getting lost in them all the more pleasurable.




ELM Recordings

Kitty Play

Slogun/Circle of Shit


Saturday, September 24, 2016

Random Post








People - And The Horses Rode In On Us.
Cassette

The Blues ‘Sings The Blues’ Vol 15
Cassette



There’s an inbox on this computer where emails from labels go to die. There must be hundreds in there now. I dare hardly look. Persistent offenders get a sarky email directed at them and after that it usually goes quiet. I had one a while back from a label based in Brooklyn and they wanted me to hear about how great their new singer was and she’s just written a song about a submarine and how she loves it and out of sheer curiosity I bit my lip and went for it and guess what? Total shite.

Rarer is the jiffy bag that arrives unannounced. Rarer still is the jiffy bag that arrives from America with two tapes in it and no contact info what-so-ever. A return address on said jiffy bag looked like it was written in a hurry by a dyslexic five year old with a crayon so you have to resort to the internet and that gives us the label ‘Nooth Hing’ straight outta Austin Texas. You see how much more interesting that is folks? Its like giving a restaurant reviewer a menu full of scarce offal cuts.

With nothing to go on your perceptions are primarily based on what you see. This time around a hand drawn j-card insert and a cassette [outer and inner] thats been sprayed with some kind of textured paint. They could contain anything. There is no press release. Harsh noise? Tape loop experiments? The silence between all the words spoken by Donald Trump at one his conventions? The sounds of various motor car engines put through free download software that turns them into the voices as heard in the films of Ingmar Bergann?

People is none of those. People is Lew Houston and Max Nordile singing songs of the most basic and roughest hewn nature. Songs so raw and improvised they make Hasil Hadkins sound like Prince. One songs sounds like a two man chain gang with Houston and Nordile singing along to the sound of a shovel hitting the dirt. Out of tune stringed instruments are hit and hammered, bridge strings are plucked, a song called Water Skeeter has the pair singing ‘we love water skeeters’ and nothing else. Kitchenware storage units become timpani, strings are wound up and down, glass bottles are hit with pencils. Think stream of consciousness outpourings by the North of England’s Joincey crossed with the sheer oddness of America’s Bren’t Lewiis Ensemble. First track is a riotous lo-fi acoustic strummed, drummed thraped, rattle shaking shamanic anthem that wails out on the back of a badly blown flute and someone whistling the theme tune to Bonanza. Little Baby Birdie lasts for a minute and has the pair of them singing ‘Little bitty birdy looking at me’ to the sound of empty bottles being rhythmically hit, Log of Hollowness is them singing to the sound of dry leaves being walked on. Bonus points are earned for this all arriving over the top of what sounds like a John Coltrane tape with jazz leaking around the edges at beginning, end and various moments in-between. 

The Blues ‘Sings The Blues’ Vol 15 has seven tracks of guitar/alto sax/percussion improv all called ‘Goulash’, each given a number and tracked in seemingly random order. This being the work of Marrisa/Max and apart from that I can tell you little else for not even the omnipresent might of Google can track them down. Is it any good? I can barely tell. I’m no fan of such things and find the random hitting, wailing and pummeling of such instruments about as much fun as having my balls shaved by a blind leper. Its a racket isn’t it? The sounds I mean. But still far more welcome than a link laden email.


People


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

See You Next Tuesday?





See You Next Tuesday?
Issue 1. A4 zine + CD. 100 copies.



See You Next Tuesday? [an oblique way of saying something rude in case you haven’t twigged] is a noise based zine from the mighty North East of England that is made by people who live there and concentrates in the main on the people who make noises there. Like all good zines it looks like it appeared in the aftermath of an eight hour drink binge with pages appearing upside down and sideways on and with the text disappearing into the background images. All good zine tropes and to be admired. It’s rushed together-ness became even more apparent about a week after it arrived when I received an email from one of its creators containing a missing page that was a flyer for a TNB gig. Word has it that there will be four issues and then no more. Get em while you can.

The accompanying CD by The Black Unknown does not, as I was wholeheartedly expecting, contain an hours worth of noise but has instead but three minutes of an audio verite  bedtime conversation between a North East woman wanting a goodnight kiss from her North East husband before she turns off the bedside light:

‘Gwan pet give is us a kiss’

[mumbling, agitated and clearly in no mood for such things] JUST LERRUS GERRA SLEEP ... FER FUCK SAKE WOMAN!

[quietly pleading] Just gi’ us a kiss goodnight ...

[tired, exasperated] I WANNA GO TO FUCKING SLEEP!

Why wont ya gi’ us a kiss?

OH FER FUCKS SAKE!! FUCKING SHURRUP WILLYA ...

I could be paraphrasing some of the above or it could be the script to a Viz column, either way I found it far more entertaining than an hours worth of noise. After inserting the disc into my media player the online database gave me numerous options for a title, none of them being The Black Unknown: ‘The bittersweet allure of lovesickness when considered as an intimate liason [sic], or a close proximity, with quantum time’ but it did give me ‘Cockeyed Rabbit in Plastic’ by a band named SLUG and that's the one I chose.

Since See You Next Tuesday? concentrates mainly on whats happening and whats already happened in the North East there are plenty of mentions for The New Blockaders and in particular those now legendary early 80’s gigs at Newcastle’s Morden Towers. In floating text boxes various comments are given by those who were there and those who weren’t but wished they were. How much of this has appeared before I know not [some quotes from issue 1 of ALAP are reprinted] but either way the trivia is fascinating. As is the claim that Richard Rupenus was spotted in TK Maxx, a claim disputed by Rupenus which makes me wonder how much of this is being made up and how much is real. The addition of many rare TNB gig posters and flyers will no doubt see a few issues making their way towards Japan and America.

There’s a drunken interview with Lee Culver, some dodgy handwritten poetry by Arthur Pellower [lead singer with the band Xtreme], something on the importance of 'dictaphone music’ by Linda Pine, a plug for a fillum about Blyth [no ‘e’], interviews with PE/Noise/experimenters Depletion, Wrest, Wasp Bomb and The New Movement. There’s also some interesting, nerdy, noise trivia regarding early TNB live cassettes and their live releases in general. Other delights include a classified section, where there’s a Hoover going for £40 and a review section of sorts where Lee Stokoe gets to say ‘Its fucking great!’

One of the best zines I’ve seen in years. Long live the North East.

[I'd put more images in but the scanner doesnt work after an upgrade. Sorry]

Contact: thinkpinkfairies [at] aol.com 



















Friday, August 26, 2016

The New Blockaders - Live At The Rammel Club/The Dome









The New Blockaders - Live At The Rammel Club/The Dome
VLZ Produkt. VLZ00043 - CD
300 copies.



Two TNB gigs as recorded in 2012 one of which I attended and got a chair chucked at my head and the other I missed by a day seeing as how, by sheer coincidence, I happened to be in London on the weekend of the Harbinger Sound Broken Flag weekend at The Dome, Tuffnell Park, London.

The Dome gig in question and the Broken Flag weekender that it was a part of, is one not fondly remembered by some I spoke to with tales of egotistical preening and wildly varying performances to the fore. I was there on the Saturday, the middle night of the three with some of those early attendees already fading and fearing the worst. Tales of testing noise sets with not much in the way of respite were common. The venue, a former dance hall, had no seating so you stood and took your punishment like a man. Literally, for as ever these events were male dominated. On the Saturday I witnessed a theatrical Club Moral set, a rare performance by Sigillum S and a less said the better abysmal rock set from Ramleh. I came, I saw, I got the last tube back to Covent Garden and was glad to be on the train home in the morning. When news filtered through that Sunday nights TNB headlining set wasn’t much more than a bout of drunken tomfuckery I felt that I’d missed little and had held my sciatica at bay as a bonus.

Was it all drunken tomfuckery though or is that just the residual memory of those who bravely batted it out for the full three nights only to have The New Blockaders staring them in the face come late Sunday? Having bravely faced numerous three night noise fests its usually left to the loudest and most extreme act to kill off any remaining enthusiasm a three night crowd has left in it. So I treat such tales with caution and wait for the cold light of day to appear before passing judgment myself.

Thus with the benefit of Youtube footage and the audio here I can only see The New Blockaders doing what they do; creating havoc and out of that havoc the most beautifully formed chaos. Out of such cacophony come moments that make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

In 2012 they were messy and all the better for it. The Rammel Club set runs to twenty minutes, The Dome set a longer thirty minutes worth. Both begin quietly with the yelp of excited audience members greeting random loud blurts before being drowned out by hammers bashing stubborn metal and saws painfully coming in to contact with extraction fan casings [I’m guessing]. When this kind of provocative, highly visual style of performance takes place but not six feet in front of you by three balaclava-ed unknowns in jackets, shirts and ties the atmosphere soon turns excitable. Which is where the chair comes in. But no damage done. TNB performances aren’t known for their violence but it appears that some members [for once credited on the inner sleeve] just can’t help themselves. It all adds to the allure.

As for The Dome set I can only assume that the high stage and huge floor space must have played its part. Listened to [and watched] in the cold light of day you can understand where people were coming from; the entire thirty minutes worth is a ramshackle mess with TNB personnel wandering around the stage, picking things up, hitting them, twisting knobs on noise boxes and at one stage picking up a magazine to flick through. A huge and ancient Tannoy cone has detritus dumped in it and is driven repeatedly into the stage floor, things are kicked over, people shout, the volume peaks, dies and squeals painfully back in to life, the cone is abused endlessly until its dumped, either out of boredom or frustration its purpose having been served. During a lull in proceedings someone shouts ‘Take yer bins out’ and you realise the same person must have been at both gigs. A true fan.

These recordings never reach the maximalist highs of Live at Anti-Fest or Live at Hinoeuma [and maybe others of such nature that I’m not familiar with ] but they do show The New Blockaders coming full circle and creating sounds that have more in common with their earlier outings. A pity we don’t see much of them live anymore. Saves me getting my head bashed in I suppose.

http://www.vlzprodukt.com/

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Lenka Lente




Félix Fénéon - Les Ventres et Autre Contes
Nurse With Wound - Lonely Poisonous Mushrooms

Lenka Lente. Book + 3”CD
ISBN : 979-10-94601-08-2


Another Lenka Lente book/CD combo where you get to discover that ‘Les Ventres et Autre Contes’ translates as ‘The Bellies and Other Stories’ and that Félix Fénéon was an Italian anarchist, art critic and literary stylist with a tremendous goatee beard who didn’t like the portrait that Paul Signac painted of him because he painted it in profile, not face on as requested, but he hung it on his wall anyway.

Pity the poor English monoglot though for as ever with Lenka Lente the text is all in French but look on the bright side, at least you get to know more about obscure figures in the world of European art. Five short stories here that first saw the light of day in various French literary magazines circa the late 19th century. I wish my French were better than it is. For English speakers wishing to explore Fénéon's work there's a book of his still in print called ‘Novels in Three Lines’. A collection of hundreds of his deadpan observations as published in various French newspapers of the day. It gives us a taste of Fénéon's work and his no doubt languid sense of humour:

Harold Bauer and Casals will give a concert today in San Sebastian. Besides that, they may fight a duel.

Seventy-year-old beggar Verniot, of Clichy, died of hunger. His pallet disgorged 2,000 francs. But no one should make generalizations.



There's more to Fénéon than this tho and I've included the link to his wiki page should you wish to learn more.


Previous Lenka Lente editions have seen Nurse With Wound coupled with outsider artist Adolf Wölfi, art critic and poet André Salmon and the author Charles-Louis Philippe. They should do one with Boris Vian. I once read Boris Vian’s, ‘I Shall Spit on their Graves, because I thought Vian, who also played trumpet and was involved in the 1950’s Paris jazz scene was Neil Campbell’s doppleganger and that there might be some kind of link between the jazz scene in Paris in the 1950’s and the noise scene in West Yorkshire in the mid 1990’s but there wasn’t.

The Nurse With Wound track is taken from 1989 comp ‘Automating Vol. II’ and is a nine minute compendium of quick edits that are barely recognisable bagpipes, coughs and dramatic church organ chord clusters that rear out of your speakers like lions trying to bite your head off.

I wonder what Fénéon would have thought of it?



http://www.lenkalente.com/


Félix Fénéon Wiki

Friday, August 12, 2016

BLJ+S&Q
















Black Leather Jesus/Smell & Quim - My Darling, Forever Dressed for Sex.
Petit Sole. PS80. CD




I think it was Simon Morris who compared Smell & Quim to the recently extracted finger from the anus of life. An index finger that from the second knuckle down has a slight musky odour, the nail something beneath of which we’d rather not speak. Its what you run under your nose as you listen to such as this. Just to get you in the mood.

Seeing as how this disc was the devil’s work to play I took to rooting around in my Smell & Quim box and then my noise boxes where I found the odd Ramirez release with obligatory gay porn cover. Ramirez and Black Leather Jesus go together like hairy men and ball gags. A man of many talents then, involved with more bands than you can shake a rubber sex fist at and still, after many years, disturbingly prolific.

In 2014 Black Leather Jesus and Smell & Quim appeared on the same bill at a never to be forgotten gig in Manchester. No doubt relishing the opportunity to go on last Smell & Quim erased any memory of what had gone previously with a performance that verged on physical and sexual abuse. Of course the band were shitfaced which made the wearing of some ridiculously heavy masks covered in razor blades and barbed wire as made by Dr. Steg all the harder, that’s Dr. Steg the man who found himself under threat of ejection from the premises after wielding a knife of his own construct and threatening to trash the place. Instead he took to the stage wearing one of his heavy, gold sprayed, barbed wire covered masks and screamed and shouted for the duration. The gig was made all the more bizarre by the appearance of a certain Callum Terras, his one and only appearance with the band and someone who not long after would be found floating in the Irish Sea. This release is dedicated to him. Simon Morris and Kate Fear were going through some kind of relationship breakdown at the time resulting in Morris having his back passage defiled by Fear who appeared to take great delight in roughly inserting the handle of a percussion instrument where percussion instruments shouldn’t go. Fear also hacked off most of Stewart Keith’s wild and not been cut for decades hair. There might have been some putrid Philadelphia cheese involved too. It was one of those nights. The sound they created was a hellish cross between the over-amplified heart beat of a recently jabbed smack head and the edited audio of every single Jimmy Savile Top of the Pops appearances.

Going through my Smell & Quim cardboard box I’m in constantly reminded of their use of gay sado-masochistic porn soundtrack samples. Something that Ramirez on the other side of the pond no doubt relishes. ‘The Transubstantiation of the Shit of Christ’ [split tape with Aube on the Fever Pitch label and still one of my all time favourites] contains the kind of gay porn samples its probably not wise to play at a volume your neighbours can hear, unless you have very liberal neighbours that is. And this in pre internet days when I can only imagine that sado-masochistic gay porn was much harder to come by.

Which brings us to ‘My Darling, Forever Dressed for Sex’ and a cover that features some stubbly faced gentlemen getting all up close and personal. The track titles couldn’t be anything other than Smell & Quim tho; ‘Big Cocks Flobbing Gristle’, ‘Now If You’re Into Anal …’ and ‘Heavy Spunkers’ with the sounds therein heading more towards early Smell & Quim industrial dirge than the more recent high powered noise as heard on Powerfuck and Lavatory. Black Leather Jesus, who are credited with having no less than ten people in their ranks other than Ramirez appear to contribute the death rattle roar with Smell & Quim throwing everything else into the mix. One sound that is easily identifiable is that of the hand drier as found in the Gents toilets in The Grove, Huddersfield. I know this because I recorded it and am credited on the inner sleeve as being part of the band. When I tell you that this is one of my proudest moments I’m not being glib in anyway, shape or form. 

‘Big Cocks Flobbing Gristle’ starts with the hand drier and some industrial clockwork clank before moving into noisier territory, ‘Now If You’re Into Anal …’ has some seriously slowed down slurry vocals and heavy breathing as recorded by an asthmatic deep sea welder with lead boots on, ‘Heavy Spunkers’ is your full on roar that eventually chips out in a sea of digital crackle and dust. Its early Smell & Quim coupled to some Black Leather Jesus flat out noise stun but where the gay porn samples are coming from is anybody’s guess.

   

http://blackleatherjesus.blogspot.co.uk/p/updates.html





 

 

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Regler






Regler - regel #8 [metal]
At War With False Noise. CD
300 copies.



Regler are the reductionist duo of drummer Anders Bryngelsson and guitarist Mattin. The last time we met on these pages I had failed to see how a release of theirs containing little but silence was anything other than a waste of plastic, card and valuable drinking time. The release in question was their interpretation of a Fluxus like instruction to set up their equipment before going to sleep under the powerful glare of an industrial lamp.

Being upstanding gentlemen Bryngelsson and Mattin got in touch to say that they were absolutely positive that if they sent me another expression of their work I would definitely, honest to God like it, double promise, fingers crossed with a cherry on top. Which is an attitude I admire in a person [or persons]. If only more people had such guts and were willing to give someone a second chance. So I said yeah go on then, send me something else. So they did and thus ‘Regel #8 [metal]’. A 'Metal' inspired release and there's me and 'Metal' being about as close as Donald Trump and the Brighton LGBT community. The omens weren't good.

I gave up on Heavy Metal after I realising the genre wasn't much more than the diminishing returns of Black Sabbath’s back catalogue. Its fans did nothing for me either; leather wristbands, t-shirts with unreadable band names, the undying devotion to the sound of an amplified electric guitar riff and they are like sooooo alternative man, like real outsiders, like we have upside down crosses and drink goats blood out of skulls and can listen to the loudest music ever and nobody likes Metal more than me. Once ‘Metal’ had morphed into bands playing nothing but the same chord for an hour I knew that the lunatics had taken over and that it was only a matter of time before we’d gone full circle and the kids were buying reissued Blue Cheer albums and scribbling band names on to the backs of their cut off denim jackets.

Regel #8 [Metal] contains three live tracks as recorded on a short tour at the back end of 2015, in which Regler asked the audience to play Metal tracks of varying genres through their personal devices [mobile phone, tablet, ghetto blaster the size of a suitcase, wind up gramophone housed in a Victorian bassinet] which Regler then improvised over with someone mixing the results into what we have here; ‘Heavy Metal’, 'Thrash Metal’ and ‘Black Metal’.

What happens next depends on how keen you are on 'Metal', music of an experimental nature and the mixing of the two. I get the feeling that Metal diehards may find Regler's work hard to digest seeing as how this is Metal in a hard to recognise form, shorn of structure, lyrics, recognisable riffs or eye squeezing solos. Seeing as how I’m leaning more towards the experimental side of things I did find myself coming away from the ensuing melee with an appreciative nod which on more liquid days could have turned in to a headbang. Especially during the last track ‘Black Metal’ which is basically half an hours worth of chugging drum pummel with everything from noise, disjointed riffs and those growly vocals so beloved of Norwegian church burners chucked in along its length. The way Regler and the mixer [in this instance Ivan Kocev] have transformed Black Metal by basically buggering about with it makes it more than listenable for me. A result of sorts. If I’d have been at the gig in Skopje I dare say I’d have hooked my thumbs in to my belt loops and swung my head from side to side in a no nonsense head down mindless boogie kind of way. Its what they would have wanted.

'Heavy Metal’ was mixed by Andy Bolus at a gig in Paris and is in the more traditional groove with an intro that just keeps on keeping on. ‘Thrash Metal’ at 25 minutes is a disjointed affair with bits of Thrash coming at you in rapid two and three second bursts, all this with high pitched squeals and random bursts of guitar noise and as such gets a Ceaser like non committal wavering sideways thumb gesture.

Still, the omens are good. There’s enough here to convince me that 'Metal' is ripe for experimentation and by that I don’t mean de-tuning your Les Paul a semitone and going ‘thrummmm’ for an hour. 



At War With False Noise


Bandcamp