Thursday, July 22, 2010

The New Blockaders

The New Blockaders - Crincum Crancum / Meta-Klamauk (For Jean Tinguely)
Hanson LP. HN 191
The New Blockaders - History Of Nothing (1982-1992)
Hanson LP. HN199
Viva Negativa! A Tribute to the New Blockaders Volume 1: UK
At War With False Noise. ATWAR064. CD
Its only with hindsight that we perceive worth. Those who deviate from the norm are often ridiculed, forgotten, dismissed as cranks and generally abused. Their work is seen as unimportant, frivolous, unfathomable and even pointless. Some of those early visitors to the Cabaret Voltaire may have attacked the stage but what they were experiencing was a significant shift in artistic expression. The audience saw people shouting and screaming, history saw a reaction to the senselessness of a Word War that would mutate into a movement whose influence is still felt today.
In 1982 The New Blockaders released their first album. Two tracks of disorientating junk noise, scrapings, rain on a tin roof and wild elephant parps that became known as Changez Les Blockeurs. With it the Rupenus Brothers paid their Dada dues whilst planting seeds that would continue to grow until here in 2010 you’d be hard pressed to find anyone involved in noise who doesn’t cite TNB as an influence. What began as a short run LP has somehow mutated itself into a manifesto that mirrors everything Dada by rejecting art and even anti-art seeing as how even anti-art is an art stance in itself. With TNB there is no compromise, no rock star stance, no confusion as to their aim.
They still manage to spew forth a fair amount of material, usually in collaboration and in The Nihilist Assault Group have found a vent for their live frustrations but its those early and hard to find releases that have gone on to achieve mythical status.
Most of those early releases ran in such small quantities that it became inevitable that reissues would appear. Its been slowly happening for a number of years now but the tributes are getting more elaborate as time passes.
Crincum Crancum and Meta-Klamauk are plucked from the 2003 4CD anthology Gesamtnichtswerk. History of Nothing, which first appeared in 2001 on the Japanese label Siren Records, also re-emerges [albeit minus a few tracks]. TNB acolytes will be more than familiar with this material and I can add little to what has been said before but to feast your eyes on those 12” covers and luxuriate in the grooves has been well worth the time and effort. Get a load of that enlarged Richard Rupenus artwork; little demons torturing a demented soul with ringing bells and hammered anvils. Hammers driven through musical scores and huge X’s cross out musical notation.
The real joy to be had of course is from listening to this all over again. Of all the material on offer here its Meta-Klamauk thats brings me the most cheer. Originally part of the 20th Antiversary Wreckordings, Meta-Klamauk [For Jean Tinguely] is like a more frenzied ‘Changez’: a drunk blind man stumbling into the racks of a pots and pan shop, a residual clatter and buzz of static, right channel full of rusty gears whilst rodent squeals emerge from the left [Klamauk is German for fooling around and Meta-Klamauk itself appears to be a tribute/response to Tinguely’s own composition Meta-Harmonie-H]. Crincum Crancum is equally disorienting; flickering strip lights, empty oil drums thrown down elevator shafts, electronic chewing, sledgehammers taken to lumps of concrete and rocks, all combine to give the listener a feeling of disquiet and nervousness.
History of Nothing’s six tracks includes ‘Hit Damage on A/B over X’ which features contributions from Emil Beaulieau and Hanson’s own Arron Dilloway - thats a sizeable chunk of the American noise nobility whose debt to The New Blockaders would appear to be immeasurable. That debt is being repaid with releases such as these. The other five tracks are equally important scrapes of course.
TNB’s influence runs so deep that it was probably quite easy for Vinyl On Demand to fill up eight LP’s worth of tribute material. Appearing in 2006 in two 4LP boxes this weighty tome is an indication of just how deep that influence runs. Eight LP’s is a weighty vinyl sandwich though so Scottish label At War With False Noise have decided to cut it up into four easier to consume CD releases. Volume one features the UK with Europe, Japan and America set to follow.
The tribute game is a tricky one though. Do you incorporate your own sounds into TNB’s, or do you do your own thing? Do you steal TNB material outright and pass it off as your own, or do you do a Dieter Müh and record the insides of a German railway station as rowdy football fans make their way home? It makes little difference to me. You’re on the comp and thats your tribute. Expect quality anti everything sounds from the likes of srmeixner, Mutant Ape, Putrefier, Anomali, Cheapmachines, Nocturnal Emissions, Halalchemists, Evil Moisture, Jazzfinger and Ashtray Navigation. Highlights abound and theres no duff track. Smell & Quim’s submission “Tasting Nuns’ Blood” ends in a barked ‘fucking hell’ - delivered in a suitable North Eastern brogue its about as good a tribute as you could wish for.


Steve said...

A fine review there Mr.Fisher. I love the New Blockaders, sometimes I find their work stunning and other times I find it dire, but I will still and always listen. That is their beauty.
I am not too certain that all four volumes of the Viva Negativa CD re-issues will be on At War label. I think TNB have geographical labels sorted out too. Siren for Asia, RRR for USA etc - but I could be wrong. Thanks for telling all that the Dieter Muh contribution features no TNB source material - we went for attitude and manifest!

Hanson Records said...

"History of Nothing’s six tracks includes ‘Hit Damage on A/B over X’ which features contributions from Emil Beaulieau and Hanson’s own Arron Dilloway"

Thanks for the fine review, but I should point out that "Hit Damage on A/B over X" does not feature me, but Anomali aka Paul Coates of Hypnagogia Records.

Also..Steve, Important Records will be issuing the USA Tribute, not RRR.

Hope to grab another pint with the both of you sometime soon!
-Aaron Dilloway

red_lipstick said...

Great review, great group.