Friday, April 27, 2012

Mike IX Williams - Glass Torn And War Shortage

Mike IX Williams - Glass Torn and War Shortage: The Purposeful Poisoning of a Shardless

Auris Apothecary. AAX-039. C19 Cassette. 199 Copies

Theres not many releases that have the ability to take the edge off your best Swiss Army knife but thats whats happened here. Scraping broken glass off the outside of a cassette may not be everyones ideal way to start a Sunday morning but I’ve been looking forward to getting my hands cut to ribbons with this release for quite a while now and theres no time like the present.

I’ve been here before though. A previous package from Auris Apothecary contained a cassette by industrial noise extremists Pusdrainer a release that came in a bag full of soil and animal bones. I still have it around here somewhere where I like to think it acts as some kind of link to my pagan past.

Auris Apothecary don’t just do anti releases, things do appear on what some people would consider ‘normal’ formats but for me its their more ‘out there’ offerings that prove the more interesting and rewarding. Last time around, as well as the bag of dirt and animal bones, I received a CD that was more air freshener than music carrier and a cassette rendered virtually unplayable by being stuffed with sand. iTunes be damned.

This time I get a cassette covered in broken glass. I could have taken the easy route out and waxed convenient about the merits of anti releases followed by a resume of Mike IX Williams but [like the Pusdrainer] I was intrigued by what was actually on the magnetic tape buried beneath all that glass. So I got my knife out.

The concept is simple one; to listen to whats actually on here you have to run the risk of personal injury. The blurb does spoil it for me somewhat by getting all carried away with itself; ‘[this] cassette holds the potential to harm the purchaser physically, mentally and spiritually’ which in my book is pushing it. I could indeed have found myself with a piece of broken glass embedded in my thumb but harmed spiritually and mentally?

Having broken the wax seal it took me about five minutes of scraping with said Swiss Army knife to rid the cassette of its glistening outer shell and it was only then I felt a pang of doubt upon realising that it might not actually play. And at first it didn’t. The tape had become so tightly wound during its incarceration that it refused to budge but after a few hefty whacks on the desktop I was in business. No damage to thumb or desktop the only blot on the landscape being a sprinkling of ground glass that seemed to get everywhere.

Mike IX Williams is best known for his involvement with sludge metal band Eyehategod but that doesn’t stop him getting his hands dirty in other areas. For the most part this is misanthropic rant in PE with lots of low end buzz and high end fizz. You have to take the labels word for it that this is indeed misanthropic rant because as ever the lyrics are hard to decipher [I detected the word ‘embarrassment’] but the change in pace, the quieter moments, the [almost] ambience, the rants spoken then screamed, make this a release worth getting your hands cut for, even if I didn’t. Having dipped my toe in the PE pond of late I can say that this came as another welcome release. The entire concept is one to be welcomed.

Auris Apothecary are well worth watching, they work in mysterious areas; recycled cassettes housed in scouring pads, micro cassettes inserted into scented candles, unspooled tape in jars, opium scented cassettes of relaxing guitar loops, cassettes in 8 track shells, floppy discs, VHS cassettes, glue records, rockabilly gospel, drone, experimental noises made from household items, soundtracks from old NES games and releases with music ranging from a minute in length to infinity. There's plenty to absorb here and given the opportunity you really should.


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