Friday, October 17, 2014

Early Hominids

Early Hominids
Self Released. CDR.

Early Hominids - Palpate
Zanntone 000. CDR.

The great musical journey continues. As ever this is mainly down to friends recommendations and as is the mode via travels around the internet. Whether Apple’s ‘Genius’ works I know not and care not but if you want to put your musical edification in the hands of algorithms then thats up to you. I prefer friends recommendations preferably in the pub after a few ales accompanied by exclamatory remarks such as ‘I have to do a copy of it for you its fucking unbelievable your brain will fucking melt I shit you not’. Or something along those lines.

[Which is where I have to declare an interest here. I should declare an interest in all the releases I review where I know the artists personally but thats pretty much all of everything I review so it seems a bit pointless].

Early Hominids are Paul Walsh and Neil Campbell and it was with these two I spent last Friday evening in a busy Flower Pot talking bollocks whilst sinking a few cherry Timmermans [Me, Neil] and Duvels [Paul]. Its usually around halfway through the evening when the vocal chords have been lubricated that William Burroughs [Paul] name crops up and then, eventually and welcomingly Jazz [not for Paul though, Paul hates Jazz]. After Miles Davis’ name came up I admitted to owning two of his albums, one is Kind of Blue and the other is On The Corner, two Miles albums that are as far apart on his creative spectrum as its possible to get without going into the finer details. I bought On The Corner after someone told me it was the most fucked up Miles record there was [it isn’t, try listening to his two live in Japan releases Agharta and Pangaea], I bought Kind of Blue because its one of the best selling jazz albums ever and even if it does turn out to be the jazz worlds Dark Side of the Moon its still a thousand times more satisfying.

So Campbell tells me he’s winging some Miles my way as I’d like it and for good measure an Ornette Coleman comp thats sure to blow the fug from my brain and send me straight to Planet Jazz. And I think OK I’ll give em a whirl because when Campbell recommends something you know its going to be good.

Then I remembered I had a copy of Colemans ‘The Shape of Jazz to Come’’ and I didn’t like that one either but thought it best not to say anything at this stage.

Its not that I’m a jazz Philistine. I take great delight in looking upon many an LP and CD of the great and the good of the jazz world here at Idwal Towers its just that the wilder sides of Miles and Ornette hadn’t made that good an impression on me and I’d thus dismissed the pair of them. All of it. What a stupid thing to do.  According to Wiki, Miles has 48 studio albums and 36 live albums to his credit. According to Discogs Ornette has a combined total of 53 albums to his name. I’ve heard but a thimbleful of what they’d recorded and I was dismissing them out of hand. What a stupid thing to do.

So here comes the Miles. ‘Big Fun’, a double LP from the early 70’s and ‘In a Silent Way’ a slow and loose limbed release that was his goodbye to the 60’s before diving headfirst into Planet Rock leaving an army of jazz critics stroking their chins in bewilderment. This much I know.

What happened next was quite extraordinary. Had I now grown old enough to appreciate Miles and Ornette since my last dabblings? Had I forded the great river of maturity and emerged soaked on the other side my jazz tastes now in check? I guess I had an epiphany of sorts. I played Big Fun all night on repeat and ripped all the CD’s for transportation purposes. I spent the next night listening to In ‘A Silent Way’ on repeat whilst flicking about the internet looking at Miles releases wondering why I didn’t have these masterpieces on vinyl. I went on to the official Miles Davis website where I discovered you can buy Miles Davis box sets that come in trumpet cases and contain dozens of CD’s and cost hundreds of pounds. I watched videos of Miles performing at the Isle of Wight Festival and Berlin in the 70’s. It was like a new world had appeared before my eyes. And then I thought I could become one of those jazz bores. I could give everything else but the jazz to Oxfam and concentrate slowly on building a jazz library that would be the envy of the Wharf Chambers. I’d work on my pointy beard and buy a hand knitted skull cap from someone who once went to see Charlie Parker at Birdland. I’d take to smoking thin, hand rolled cigarettes with exotic substances in them whilst scattering my vocabulary with words like ‘cat’ and ‘motherfucker’ and then I thought it’d be best just to sit back and enjoy the music and not get too carried away with myself.

So what does a band thats one half jazz enthusiast, one half jazz hater sound like. Noisy of course. We’ve been here before with the Early Hominids. A meeting of minds after a meeting on Mirfield train station platform where an incredulous Neil Campbell walked up to Paul Walsh and said ‘Are you Paul Walsh’? By some bizarre act of geography two ex members of Smell & Quim had found themselves living but not a couple of miles apart from each other whilst sharing a train to Leeds most mornings.

Early Hominids sound like one half Astral Social Club and one half Foldhead which are the respective solo projects of messers Campbell and Walsh. As if you didn’t know. ‘Palpate’ also sees the eventual arrival of Walsh’s Zanntone label [my moneys on a WSB reference].

As you would expect things get quite noisy quite quickly with Weevils spiraling out of control throwing starburst fireworks into the air as all manner of pedals and Kaoss pads get prodded and poked. The two tracks on the untitled piece are live cuts as laid down at the Wharf Chambers the latter ‘No More DT’s’ proving to be the spacier more ‘out there’ of the two which ends with a loop of a harpsichord stuck in a rut and some shortwave static.
Palpate has ten tracks and runs to an albums length 44 minutes. Here tracks like Tang, Melt, Roc, Lift and Teet jump about the improv noise scene like a kid given half of Tandy’s on xmas morning. Early warning systems are sounded, things buzz, fart, rasp, detonate and pulse in many and wild a manner. Gape does all of this while carrying you off on a bed of neurotransmitter blip and data overflow. Its all good, transcendental in its own spasmodic kind of way.

The Ornette Coleman comp blew my tits off too.     

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