Expose Your Eyes - Micronnitus
No Label. CDR. Comes in VHS box.
Without Expose Your Eyes there would be no Idwal Fisher. Of that there is no doubt. It was all a long time ago now but in the days when flyers fell out of jiffy bags like confetti, an Expose Your Eyes flyer stood out due to a contact address that said Featherstone. This once proud mining town, about a twenty minute drive down the motorway from here, is the kind of place I’m always happy to leave. With pound shops, Booze Busters, numerous Class A pick up shops masquerading as take-aways and a newsagent that likes to remind everyone passing that they once sold a winning lottery ticket, its high street is a vivid reminder of how desperate a town can become. Having been there on numerous occasions to watch Batley get battered by Featherstone Rovers I wondered how this one horse town could ever be the home to someone peddling noise. So I wrote. What happened next was a twenty year musical odyssey that still continues to this day.
I soon became the recipient of what seemed like an endless stream of Expose Your Eyes cassettes. I guess Featherstone can do that to a man. I also became a regular correspondent with Paul Harrison, the man behind Expose Your Eyes. But it wasn’t long before the inevitable happened and Harrison left Featherstone for Sowerby Bridge. A move that resulted in an inevitable collision with Smell & Quim and then, after a few more years of sonic exploration, a virtual silence. And then a move to Hebden Bridge where Paul let Expose Your Eyes die a natural death. After what seemed like years of stasis I was alerted to Expose Your Eyes videos appearing on Youtube, said videos looked like visual versions of Expose Your Eyes, all in and out zooms of cows in fields to a background of spacey weirdness. Mr. Harrison was back.
And then someone suggested an afternoon drink in Halifax. So a few of us meet up once or twice a year and drink and talk rubbish and after about the fourth or fifth meeting here comes Micronnitus.
Being handed a paint splattered video box containing a noise CDR immediately brought on one of those Proustian madeleine moments and the talk soon turned to the days when the sight of such things was a common sight on any noise buyers doormat. Me being almost allergic to home made noise CDR’s these days, my immediate thought was ‘how long does the thing run for?’ Rather unkindly of course, but having long since put to bed the noise release as evening entertainment the thought of sitting through 80 minutes worth of insane screwed lunacy [that I know Harrison is perfectly capable of] appealed to me about as much as drilling my own teeth. This isn’t 1993 anymore. I am no longer an eager thirty something looking for ‘out there’ audio kicks anymore. I know how noise works. I know that there is a noise fan for every noise artist. I also know that trying to shift a noise release is as easy as getting rid of Ebola. I also know that Discogs is the rest home for every kind of noise detritus known to mankind since the year dot. But this was from Paul H. The man without whom.
And then I found myself with a Saturday all to myself so I dug out the review pile and sat through all manner of crud and not so crud and discovered that when the alcohol to blood ratio is at just the right level I find myself still curiously drawn to such things. Especially those given to me by someone who I used to correspond with on a regular basis and whose noise cassettes I used to devour with a mixture of awe and incomprehensibility. So I played the damned thing and cranked up the volume and yes. It. Was. Noise. Far noisier than I was expecting to be honest like Harrison had managed to get his hands on some old Pain Jerk equipment.
And now you want me to expand on that very simple comparison don’t you? You want me to tell you how it held me rapt for its entire running length [I cant remember its running time, I was a bit pissed], or how I was held in my recumbent position like an astronaut on take off, held firm by the howling gale emerging from my speakers, the highs, the lows, the spectrum it works in, the way it made the woofers go all wobbly. But all of that doesn’t really matter to me at this present moment in time. I’ve reviewed more noise releases than you can shake a Merzbow fan at and its like dancing about archeology anyway. Its pointless. All that does matter is that Paul Harrison made some noise, put it on a CDR and stuck it inside a purple paint splattered VHS cassette box that was dished out to his mates in Dirty Dicks one Saturday afternoon in June.
These are the facts. Forget the mechanics. Its not important. I played it once. It didn’t last that long. Its over. Its finished. And now I’ll put it on a shelf, or in a box, where it will linger for a very long time. All I’m left with is the memory of it and the knowledge that the man without whom is once again making horrible noises.