Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Saboteuse / Total Vermin / Joincey

Saboteuse - Death, Of Course.
Poot Records. CDR

Wasteroids Bazookass
Total Vermin 79. Cassette

Jointhee & Thee Acrid Lactations - TOE
Total Vermin 80. Cassette

I got some funny looks for comparing the last Saboteuse release ‘Harsh Whelm’ to Whitehouse. Whitehouse. Yes, that Whitehouse. Joincey and Jarvis doing Whitehouse. Well, not quite. There was definitely some feedback skree in there and whilst they weren’t singing about cocks and shit whilst flat arming Wasp’s some of it did have a feel for early Whitehouse. On ‘Death, Of Course’ they outdo themselves by sounding like early Smell & Quim.

Yes they do. ‘Yearning Rosebud’ is all noisy guitars, homemade instruments with bottle caps nailed to them and pain. If ever invited on to that Invisible Jukebox thing and played this I’d put the house on it being Smell & Quim.

When Joincey and Jarvis come together as Saboteuse they write songs. They write songs and record songs but not the kind of songs you’d find on a jukebox.  Its Joincey’s voice that sets them apart. It appears in many guises from softly spoken to mumbling to singing. Singing? A sort of singing. A monotone drone. An instrument of its own. When he sings he can make Jandek sound like Frank Sinatra. Here he sings in a stream of consciousness style [‘egg timer, glass albatross, egg’]. On the second track he’s recorded his singing voice and used it as a backing track in which he speaks over it. ‘You, Holding My Breath’ has some deep fried electronics on it and then we’re into Sun Ra territory, ‘Blackening Fool’ is Egyptian jazz, a Stokie Sun Ra with sleigh bells and harmonium keys. By the time we get to ‘Encapsulating Yourself Like a Celestial Bird Has a Captive Beak [Down Like a Celestial Bird]’ we have a Joincey in each channel and four minutes of wheezing scrape. The good work continues.

Joincey, in case you were unawares, is the voice and the person that links all three of these releases. His solo projects, side projects, collaborations and labels give Discog completist migraines. He gets around. Its hard to keep up.

Stuart Arnot’s mainly tape based Total Vermin label has given fringe players like Joincey a home for many a year now. I like them. It. Them. All of them. All of it. I’ve never heard a Total Vermin release that didn’t interest me in any way. When I get a Total Vermin cassette I know I’m getting something that's as far detached from what goes on in iPhone world as its possible to get. And this I like.

Jointhee And Thee Acrid Lactations sees Joincey go for the Pavarotti audience with a lung bursting falsetto on first track  ‘Halitosis is ..’  I don’t think I remember him ever stretching himself like this and after what’s gone before this seems even more remarkable. A more Fluxus approach on ‘Acid Mother Tongue/Swallowed My Swazzle’ sees Joincey joined by various bods adding animal noises and gibberish to his talk/sing voice the results being annoying/amazing dependent upon your bent/frame of mind. This Fluxus approach extends to several tracks where pots, pans, kitchen sinks and anything with a string on it gets chucked at a wall whilst singers both male and female join in the general ‘lets have a party’ vibe. Absurdist to the nth degree and wholly delightful.

My favourite of the three is Wasteroids Bazookass mainly because it was yet another Total Vermin surprise.  Another Joincey project in which he sings/talks over loops of pop songs that are going either backwards, forwards or sideways at varying speeds and in varying states of decomposition. After an opener in which the voice is replaced by a mash of differing pop songs all mashed up to provide a looping new whole Joincey finally gets into his stride with a series of songs in which he’s either singing with a hankie over the mic to a slow thud or mumbling incoherent words over ukelele strings. Taken as a whole the results are hypnogogic and masterly with Joincey’s vocals disappearing into a slurry of tape muck and melodica dirge only to emerge at intervals to utter lyrics whose meaning I know not what. One of the best things he’s ever done.


Total Vermin


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