Saturday, September 24, 2016
People - And The Horses Rode In On Us.
The Blues ‘Sings The Blues’ Vol 15
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.