Monday, September 19, 2011

Olypmic Shit Man / Raionbashi & Kutzkelina

Raionbashi & Kutzkelina - Aktion 091216 Berlin
Harbinger Sound. One sided LP. Harbinger 089
100 regular copies + 50 artist enhanced copies

Olympic Shit Man - Supercharge
Harbinger Sound. Double LP + Magazine. Harbinger 065. Promo.

One of my lasting memories of Istanbul is seeing a couple of local youths walking around in t-shirts emblazoned with eagles above which read the words WEST YORKSHIRE. The first time I saw someone wearing one it stopped me in my tracks. The street was busy so that by the time the sight had registered with my brain and it had worked out a response he was long gone. Similarly the second time around, this time in a packed market street. My camera was buried under piles of tourist detritus, my brain all agog. Why are people walking around Istanbul wearing t-shirts that say WEST YORKSHIRE on them? I looked in clothes shops for one of my own but all in vain. Of course it doesn't matter what it says on the t-shirt if you cant read the language its written in. Its there for effect only. I have a couple of t-shirts with Japanese characters on them that mean absolutely nothing. They’re just designed to look like Japanese characters. Its the same thing with printed English to people who don’t understand English. Anyway.

Two releases from Harbinger Sound that are both firmly aboard the good ship noise but with each coming from vastly different angles. Olympic Shit Man was the short lived collaboration between Mark Durgan and Andy Bolus. I think they released next to nothing and did barely any gigs. As far as I know when you get this there’s not much left over. Supercharge originally came out as a cassette in the mid 90’s on Mother Savage Noise Productions. Such is Harbingers bent to release such obscure material it has to take shape over two LP’s with the fourth side showcasing two live events [one from 1994 and the other from 2006]. To add to the all round madness of it all you also get a decent sized magazine of Bolus drawn insanity to while away your listening minutes.
The live stuff I eventually found more rewarding but that takes nothing away from whats some prime mid nineties noise muck. The 1994 recording is a bit dodgy as you’d expect but it does reach a certain crescendo in a ‘lots of noise things going on at the same time kind of feel’. Bizarre as it sounds Durgan’s well oiled noise gadgets do indeed feel as one with Bolus’s lay out of v-techs abortions, toy guns and broken things that go kkkkrrrrrkkkk but its the 2006 show in Antwerp that hits the spot. At one stage it revives old school Jap noise but the odd tinkling, whirring, scratched records and burnt out fizzing PC stack feel to it gives the meat of thing a gravitas I’d have never given it credit for on first passing. Supercharge meanwhile is alive with TV and film samples, angular noise farts, socket abuse, dustbin torture, unidentified scrape, eruptions of speaker distortion, shortwave whine, high pitched skree. The onslaught is incessant but at times gaps do appear, presumably these being when Bolus’s equipment broke down and Durgan carried on in his own manly fashion. As the trawl through 90’s noise tape land continues expect more noise gems such as this to be unearthed.

For those of you yet to experience a live Raionbashi & Kutzkelina performances this one sided piece of plastic archiving of a recent Berlin show should be at the top of your shopping list. Raionbashi solo shows always did have an element of performance art in them but now that he’s hooked up with the phenomenally vocally gifted Kutzkelina things have blossomed. I saw them perform at last years Lowest Forms Festival and the performance had mutated into a full blown ritual; washing of hands, nailing of wood to the stage floor, the humbling act of drying each other and then of course the sounds themselves. Between them they combine a series of relatively mundane sounds into a whole that is extremely unsettling. On their own the sounds of barking dogs, snoring, female shouts and a lazy accordion may seem innocent enough but once they’re combined they transform into something thats quite bizarre and deeply unnerving. Beginning with a barely audible snore, a bell is introduced, a ringing bell, then female shouts, a few wheezing keyboard keys, as things begin to build a flattening blast of noise erupts and then pigs eating, eerie unidentifiable sounds and then Kutzkelina’s incredible yodeling and if you think yodeling doesn't belong here or has some kind of joke status then you couldn’t be more wrong. Out of all this a dizzying cacophony develops a maelstrom of head swimming tumult that eventually cuts to leave you back at something resembling normality. I wouldn’t mind a full blown Raionbashi & Kutzkelina DVD for these rituals. It needs to be seen as well as heard.


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