Saturday, January 22, 2011

Penus Rectus

Penus Rectus 1997/Penus Rectus 2010
Dead Mind Records - CD + 7”
Ever wondered why black rap artists never refer to their manhood as a ‘cock’? According to Peter Silverton and his fascinating book ‘Filthy English’ it may have something to do with the fact that female African slaves called their fannys ‘cocks’. Quite why a euphemism for manhood came from a shortening of the name Richard though I don’t know, the same goes for why female African slaves should call their fannys cocks - some things just get lost in the midsts of time. But then dicksucker just doesn't have the same impact as cocksucker does it? Same goes for dick off, not nearly as effective as cock off and whilst dickhead is eminently more user friendly than cockhead I find cocktease or pricktease far more user friendly than dicktease [which is too near to striptease to be of any use as a good swear]. Apparently early English puritan settlers to America were so worried about overuse of the word ‘cock’ that they did their best to rid themselves of it by adopting the Dutch word ‘roost’ - hence ‘rooster’ rather than cockerel. Its why Americans call faucets faucets and not stop cocks [an English English word for ‘tap’] and why weathercocks and cockroaches become weathervanes and plain old roaches. 
Which brings me to Penus Rectus and the age old obsession of noise and penises. [Actually Penus is latin for painful which explains nothing whilst rectus is latin for straight. I’m nothing if not well researched]. Peni abound on the artwork to both these releases of course. Indeed various inserts and artwork are covered in all manner of phallus. Maybe its there for just in case you forget what one looks like or maybe they just like drawing big knobs? Whatever. 
The CD is a bit of a curates egg. Its a collection of tracks that appeared on a 1997 three cassette comp called [of course] Penus Rectus. The original cassette release carried about 30-odd tracks but here they’re whittled down to twelve, the frustrating thing being ... no track info. The insert says ‘this selection taken from …’ and leaves it at that. Having discovered the original release on discogs it seems a shame that Dead Mind haven’t taken the time to at least give us some detailed info or stretched it further by re-releasing the whole thing. Without a track listing I’m lost. It all sounds like decent mid nineties noise to me, meaning its fairly uncomplicated, muddily recorded and delivered with a sometimes naive honesty but with no info comes no detailed review. Just for the record, track 11 was my favourite [I’m guessing Macronymhpa].
At least the single is marked up. A track each from Prurient, Odal, Smell & Quim and Streicher. Odal is the only artist who appeared on the original cassette release and while Smell & Quim and Streicher were certainly around at that time they didn’t. That leaves Prurient to kick things off with a huge swaying lopsided pan-attack of holistic noise. A far cry from his feedback workings and well worth hearing. No doubt the Prurient completists will already be taking notes. Odal is a short blast of static and buried screaming whilst Smell & Quim work over a track call ‘cuntsocket’ [presumably included so that the other half don’t feel left out]. Its a classic slice of degenerate Quim with [I hope] porn outtakes amid a miasma of swirling muck. Which leaves Streicher. Perhaps one of the most enigmatic and controversial artists ever to release work in the Noise/Power Electronics arena. Listening to this contribution will leave you no wiser though - a straight forward blast of decent if not earth shattering noise. Which gets me to wondering as to whether the single contains material originally earmarked for the cassette release? The label that released Penus Rectus in 1997 was Dutch, Dead Mind is Dutch, there’s a link somewhere.
Peter Silverton/Filthy English

[after many weeks the CD artwork appears]

1 comment:

Mel said...

This is the second time today I've heard the phrase 'curate's egg' used. As we're talking etymology and scatology, I was very surprised to find it comes from a cartoon in Punch, that repository of unfathomable Victorian humour. Funny, in my head I always got it mixed up with holy relics for some reason.
Happy Burns night.