Saturday, January 22, 2011

The New Blockaders - Live At Hinoeuma

The New Blockaders - Live At Hinoeuma
Hypnogogia. GIA04. CD 300 Copies.
For about five all too short years the Red Rose in London was the best noise venue in the country. Hinoeuma and Harbinger Sound put on plenty of quality shows there. For us Northerners it was easy to get to too; two hours on the train, two stops on the tube and out in to the wilds of the Seven Sisters Road past the former Rainbow Theatre, the dodgy pubs, the 24 hour continental deli’s, the grease outlets, the muggers and the shady looking locals. Its gone now of course, the last I heard it was a pool hall, but for those few short years it was perfect. Front of house was a regular pub, usually frequented by dwarf Turkish bin men and alcoholics - it was like the Duncan transported to Finsbury Park. Compare it now to The Grosvenor, allegedly the best noise venue in the capital, with its hike to Stockwell, [sarf of the river], its no tubes after midnight and only night buses and taxis to fight over and endure. The room at the back of the Red Rose was huge with a good sized stage but perhaps most importantly of all it was run by a guy who really didn’t give a shit about what you got up to so long as you drank lots of beer. 
One of the most memorable events at the Red Rose was the night TNB headlined. It was also the night Emil Beaulieau played his UK debut. Merzbow, Putrefier and various Shimpfluch members also found there way on to the bill, an impressive line up by anybody's standard and one not likely to be repeated. On that night The New Blockaders were so loud they drove me from the venue. This has been documented before and I feel no shame in repeating it here. Two or three times I sought the sanctuary of the front bar with its dwarf Turkish bin men only to return moments later to be met with … silence. It was so loud TNB kept blowing the fuses and all the owner did was dig out some new ones, run up a ladder and replace them ... only for them to blow again. I think they blew two or three times and each time the two Blockaders sat stock still and waited for the power to return and for the onslaught to begin. TNB delivered their set at a murderous level of sound. It was unyielding and unforgiving and its still the loudest thing I’ve yet to experience in a live environment. To stand in that room when it was in full sway was like having someone take a swing at the back of the your knees with a billy club. It was a volume you could actually feel.

A few years back this momentous event was commemorated via a RRRecords picture disc and as is usually the case with TNB material its short run disappeared pretty quickly. You can still get it, at a price of course, but for those who missed out this Hypnogogia repress is particularly welcome. 
Listening back now I’m met with the same predicament I had when listening to the vinyl; is that what they really played? The passing of years and no doubt the amount of beer I consumed that night have played tricks with my decaying brain cells. For me it was wall noise before the term was coined, an unrelenting barrage of sonic distortion designed to engulf, destabilise and overwhelm the listener to such an extent that it drove out any kind of thought process or rational engagement. And on the disc? Two 17 minute tracks of slowly unfurling, instantly recognisable TNB motifs … but no wall noise. There’s slow hums, creaking leather straps, ball bearings being dumped into a galvanized dustbin, chains, rattles and plenty of what I like to call noise churn, that lovely low end rumble that seems to fit snugly somewhere between your biorhythms and and a recess somewhere deep in your brain.Some elements I detect from previous TNB releases, what appears to be a primitive machine gun and then theres the slime slurpers, the release the bats experience and the bit that sounds like all the windows just blew in in the midst of a force ten hurricane. 
My abiding memory of that night is seeing Phil Todd’s anti-performance. Sat stage front at a table with his face covering balaclava and its defiant ‘X’ he drank from a bottle of wine. It was performance art and anti art rolled into one but above all it was nihilistic and  destructive - words with which The New Blockaders have become synonymous. 
On a different note, the CD image depicts a decaying building in modern day Detroit. In case you weren’t aware Detroit is crumbling and Polidori’s been there to document it. 
Polidori documents decay and destruction - TNB compose the soundtrack.
Polidori images:

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