Chow Mwng - Perforation Function
Self released CDR + booklet.
We left Chow Mwng at the back end of 2017 after he [Ashley Cooke] delivered one of those total left field slugs to the jaw [that almost didn’t make it because it arrived as an email and almost got deleted] that left my head ringing with the sounds of Dada improv, cassette abuse, abstract noise and all other manner of good stuff.
That was the enigmatically titled ‘ULOT-CA’ which contained songs. Yes, songs. Not ones that you could sing to, unless you were very drunk or had taken some strange kind of drug but songs none the less. I liked it because it sounded fresh and invigorating, the work of someone working quickly when in truth it probably took a lot of effort. I was glad I didn’t delete. I’m glad I have this too for it carries on in much the same vein except these aren't songs. But I reckon I could spot it as a Chow Mwng release after ten seconds such is its singularity.
Here we have a thirty minute sound collage composition the source of which was a broken cassette tape that was itself a recording of Nurse With Wound playing last years Tusk festival. The cassette in question coming from a certain David Howcroft whose instructions to Cooke were ‘do something with it or destroy it completely’. Deciding not to destroy it completely our man put it back together and constructed something that you might describe as TNB meets Jandek meets Derek Bailey meets John Cleese doing his Monty Pythons squeaky woman voice meets Ashley Cooke reciting ‘poetry’ in a maelstrom made from carnival sounds and Dada performances. With added Adam Bohman.
I think I mentioned Bohman in the review of ‘ULOT-CA'. It has that feel to it. Of anything can happen. Of joei de vivre. Esprit de coeur and lots of other things that probably need italics. What starts out like Derek Bailey trying to work out the chords to Sultans of Swing morphs through radio noise, capstan abuse, throat singing, smokers coughing and toneless chanting to ‘improvised prose’ the text of which you’ll find in the booklet.
A big part of the appeal, even if it is only for a short duration is Cookes speaking/singing voice where words like soil become a stilted ‘so-oil’, a matter of fact voice that at times is a bark and at others softens and comes down a semitone as if whispering in your ear. How much of that half destroyed Nurse With Wound tape survived on here is open to scrutiny but there’s plenty in here that is decidedly Nurse-esque; samples of ancient TV shows, lunatic accordion squeezing, plucked bridge strings, un-sourceable rhythmic loops, whether this is Nurse or Cooke I can only guess. Only the man himself will know.
As good as last years ‘ULOT-CA’ was a part of me hoped that this was going to be more than another collection of off-kilter songs. I'm happy to report that this is the case. The man has surpassed himself.