Unholy Triforce - Air Pu[t]rifier
Auris Apothecary. AAX-023
Anti CDR. 69 copies.
Unholy Triforce - Sandin’ Yr Vagina
Auris Apothecary. AAX-013
Anti-cassette. 99 copies.
Pusdrainer - Worms Beneath Thy Cold Flesh
Auris Apothecary. AAX-022
C22. 50 copies.
Auris Apothecary is a small not for profit micro label releasing ‘drone, electronic, avant-garde, metal, punk and other varying forms of underground music’. So far so good but they sent me three conceptual releases two of which are unplayable and the other of which I could play but not in the manner as prescribed. But I’m not complaining. I’m all for conceptual/anti releases just so long as you back it up with some well thought out philosophy. Anybody can stick something on a plinth and call it art but it takes the mind of a man like Duchamp to really make it work. AA make it work by wrapping their ideas up in a cloak of Black Magic, pagan ritual, power electronics, noise, ambience, punk, attention to detail and striking design. They release music on regular formats but its their more outre efforts that raise the eyebrows: candles with micro-cassettes inserted into them, records made of glue, field recordings on loose tape inside jars, a video game and reel to reel tape. All of it exquisitely hand made and in some instances in runs as small as five.
With Unholy Triforce we get to sample Power Electronics in its most advanced state. Sandin’ Yr Vagina is a cassette release rendered [virtually] unplayable by being filled with sand [30 brown, 30 black, 30 white and 9 unfilled]. The playing holes are then further filled with sand and sealed up. The whole thing is then wrapped in a strip of emery cloth, sealed with a wax seal and placed in a plastic bag. According to the website the sounds therein contain: ‘Experimental material, scrapes, drones and eeriness drowned out in a tape-saturated wall of harsh power electronics and disturbingly-active silence’ although I’m not quite sure what active silence is, I’m intrigued. I dare say I could retrieve it from its plastic grave, brush all the dirt out of it, reseal it and play but I’d rather not loose the use of my only portable tape player. Maybe if I come across a really cheap and cruddy player I’ll report back but until then its still an un-played conceptual/anti release. Air Pu[t]refier is an anti CDR with particles of cinnamon, pepper and rosemary stuck to it [23 of each, mines pepper]. Again from the website ‘An experiment in digital scent distribution through the warming of compact discs, containing soundtracks to air both pleasant and putrid in odor’ - ‘Air Pu(t)rifier presents a regression in musical composition to further the evolution of sensory stimulation’. Without me even hearing them though Unholy Triforce have managed to create an impression of death that goes far beyond what is achievable through more standards formats. I also have an air freshener for the car.
Pusdrainer is the one release that I could more easily play but not in the manner AA would like me to. This C22 is designed to be played on a four track cassette [or a four channel dual stereo configuration] so that both sides can be played at once. One side has the recording in normal forward playing position whilst the flip has it in reverse. Playing it on a four track brings it back to its intended state. There’s also an animal bone glued to the shell that acts as a playback prevention tab. This is then placed in a tin with a clear window containing soil, fragments of animal bone, artwork on transparent paper and a manifesto of sorts written on vellum that is itself laminated [I think?], the cassette itself is sealed in a skin tight poly bag. With all these obstacles in my way it seems a shame to destroy it by playing it but I’m too intrigued not to. So I carefully slice the cassette out of its poly sleeve, remove the animal bone and listen to Worms Beneath Thy Cold Flesh. What emerges is an evolving wash of fluttering low end rumble, distorted lines of oscillating hertz fizz, vocals appearing through the static like EVP ghost voices, shifting phases of electronic fuzz. Pusdrainer remind us that we all eventually turn into wormfood and there’s not many releases I’ve come across that convey this so effectively. For once the packaging doesn’t outdo the contents.
Auris Apothecary have done what a lot of other people have failed to do and that is advance the cause of Power Electronics. I’d heard that PE was finally evolving but I never imagined it to take off in such an avant-garde manner. One to watch I reckon.