Ian Watson & Rob Hayler - Metronome
Invisible City Records. Cassette/DL. ICR35
La Mancha del Pecado & Culver - Volume 7
Invisible City Records. Cassette. ICR36
Magyar Mezőny - Havizaj Válogatás
Unsigned Label. Cassette/DL US033
Unsigned Experimental Noise Comp #3
Unsigned Label. Cassette/DL US031
Those car-azee cassette people. Don’t they know they’re a dead format? OK, lets not go down that road again. Cassettes are kool again and everybody with a beard wants one. At least I can’t see the big supermarkets selling pre-recorded cassettes anytime soon. Although I do remember the days when supermarkets did sell them and had sections of the shop dedicated to music [and I don’t just mean a rack lost in the nether regions selling a few scabby CD’s] where you could also buy cassette head cleaning tapes which came with a little bottle of cleaning fluid and C120’s that your machine chewed up after two minutes. Tapes were usually displayed in wire racks of a design that put the sleeves face on and which could be slid out should you wish to purchase your selection. I bought Paul Brett first album on cassette out of Cleckheaton Tesco, it must have been the mid 70’s, in the days when you could buy an obscure English folky guitarist singer songwriter’s latest release in your local supermarket. Days that have gone and will not return. A fact I still find rather depressing. You can buy plenty of shite vinyl in the supermarkets these days though and who thought those days would return? I stumbled across Batley Tescos vinyl section a while ago and nearly wet my pants laughing; Led Zep 4, Rumours, The Joshua Tree and what I assume to be the drivel that constitutes the charts these days. If I’d have been forced to take one record home with me it’d would’ve been The Queen is Dead but then only to take it home and file it seeing as how I cant see myself playing The Smiths again any time soon. Those days, like those of Paul Brett are firmly behind me now.
But still they come. Two from Invisible City, a label deeply rooted in the north east of England all full of drone and horror and two from those Royal Hungarian Noisemakers based in Budapest.
Two releases from ICR both of which are on a journey from A to B both of which seem in no hurry to get to where ever it is they’re going. Not exactly the most exciting releases I’ve ever had through these hands but then it is January and these releases seem to have January written all over them. The Watson/Hayler collaboration is a forty five minute drone as recovered from inside a grandfather clock where it takes forty five minutes to strike midnight. Inside the clock all is decayed and rotting, the mechanism worn and rusty and in need of maintenance, the sounds coming from within all suitably decomposed and appearing to alter little throughout its A to B journey and when you flip the cassette it plays the same on the other side. Thus giving you the chance to indulge in unlimited minutes worth of head crumple with just the auto return on your Walkman to remind you that there is a world out there. I think the clue is in the title.
For whatever reason they choose fit ICR have decided that the La Mancha del Pecado & Culver is to be a cassette only release. And if there’s anybody out there who desperately needs a copy to complete their collection please get in touch. I’m all for recycling. Apparently this is their seventh outing together, Mr La Mancha and Mr Culver, the other six seemingly having passed me by leaving no mark. I can only hope that they’re an improvement on 7 which begins in all the right places, held down keys producing deep drone, but soon looses its way with the introduction of random clusters. This is I presume, horror drone. A soundtrack to a cheap Italian horror flick where hair is torn and eyes gouged to the accompaniment of wild eyed, over the top acting and badly dubbed dialogue. It certainly has that feel to it. The flip is more interesting with reversed loops going around plucked strings while a hollow wind blows dirt across an empty car lot but this again falls in to moribund, murk territory where nothing much happens at all. January.
The two Hungarian tapes provide much more in the way of succor and provide evidence that there is a place where Throbbing Gristle, Tangerine Dream and Aphex Twin all still live happy lives getting pissed on Unicum and Zwack. Not that all the projects and artists on these two releases are Hungarian. Info isn’t as forthcoming on Magyar Mezőny but the other release certainly has an international feel with America, Italy, Spain and Russia all represented.
I’ve had a couple of tapes from Unsigned before but I’m still no wiser as to any of the names here. Royal Hungarian Noisemakers apart the rest are new; BOM, WN, Pulpo!, dzsemszGOND, United Gods, UEUM, Adeptus Mechanicus, Live Animal Transport, Yann is the Bastard, The Use … the list goes on, around twenty new names for me to get to grips with. The majority here are working within an experimental field mixing definable genres like techno, ambience, industrial, noise, PE, electroacoustic and field recording and creating new and exciting sounds along the way. Oh yes pop pickers. Over the four sides I found little that disagreed with me which for a v/a comp is pretty good going. Some of this is down to the high production values and the quality of the cassettes themselves but lets give the people who put this together credit too. Highlights are plentiful: Your Grace Adrianna Natalie hails from The Bronx and combines Industrial Noise with Techno, the introduction of her voice in to the mix made me actually pump my fist, the ghost of Derek Bailey appears on the acid guitar work of Pulpo!, the electro-acoustic work of Miguel A Garcia is worthy of note as is the eerie vocals on United Gods empty factory ambience, theres the Harold Budd like piano work of Hideg Roncs, the noise trombone of UEUM, dip in anywhere and you will find tiny rhythms, big rhythms, euro synth big beats, Kieth Rowe like guitars, creaking oar straps, TG sludge, abstract noise, TNB scrape and clatter.
Its like I just received an out of the blue various artists comp from the mid 90’s and now all I want to do is dig out the bio’s and track down their back catalogue. Lots to admire here. Just don’t go looking for them in Tescos.