Sunday, April 07, 2013
Mothers of the Third Reich, BBBlood, Half an Abortion, Left Hand Cuts Off Right, Bad Surbuban Nightmare, The Zero Map
Mothers Of The Third Reich
Swim Club. Cassette. C60
BBBlood/Half an Abortion -Split
Crater Lake. Cassette.
Left Hand Cuts Off Right/Bad Suburban Nightmare - Split
Armed Within Movement. C60
The Zero Map - Distant Storms
Armed Within Movement. C40
So what are we to glean from these offerings? That noise is alive and well and ordering drinks at the bar? That cassettes will never die? That I will never like the Zero Map again until they, by some miracle of a career change, manage to record a really great cover of Haysi Fantayzee’s ‘John Wayne is Big Leggy’? That Jase Williams is still the most enigmatic noise maker in the UK? That the sound of breaking glass will never lose its aesthetic appeal no matter how many ways it gets interpreted? That Left Hand Cuts Off Right are still managing to illicit little squeals of delight?
All of the above statements are true. And seeing as how these four releases were pulled at random from the review pile and given a serious listening to during the last couple of weeks I can still say with absolute certainty that I’m either incredibly lucky to be getting good stuff to review or that my audience now knows me so well as to not bother sending stuff from America. Hello European micro labels celebrating noise and drone and bye-bye American teenagers with too many ‘awesomes’ in their vocabulary.
Talking of which, here we are on the Swim Club website; ‘Super stoked to be putting out this mighty bohemoth [sic] of a tape’, another annoying Americanism followed by a spilling mistok [I’m no pedant myself tho]. I have to admit that I find myself squeezing both fists until the blood appears at the very mention of that most annoying of adjectives, ‘super stoked’ comes second with the catchall ‘dude’ running a close third.
Its not a phrase I’d expect to find south coast resident Jase Williams using any time soon. Jase’s new-ish adventure into sound is The Mothers of the Third Reich. After jettisoning his long time noise project DK720, he’s teamed up with female drummer and sometime Amniotic artist Johannah Henderson to terrorize small venues up and down the country with a kind of noise that really is noise. Crashing of pots and pans, squawking sax, guitar abuse and what a guitar it is, a one stringed affair that’s Jase’s take on the Diddley Bow but without the bow. One long studio track and three shorter tracks culled from a short tour show Jase and Johannah building and collapsing with Johannah rattling the drums and Jase either doing a wayward Lisa Simpson on the sax or a disturbed Keith Rowe on the guitar. Sometimes its an all out ball breaking affair at others more subdued with only the occasional cymbal being chucked against the wall. And it is a long haul. The last MOTTR thing I got from Jase was a C120 [or at least it felt like it]. C10’s? Fuggedit, when you dive in with Jase its for the full mashing. Comes with a denim patch all ensconced within some kind of weird printed synthetic fabric.
Pete Cann likes to smash things thats why they call him Noisy Pete. I’ve seen him in action on a few occasions, be it with hammer in hand or violin or most famously in the Wharf Chambers with some clowns mobile phone. I assume that Paul Watson likes to do the same. Either side of their Crater Lake split will bring glass smashing relief but I’m betting that the noisier side is Pete’s Half an Abortion - bottles being chucked into an empty 45 gallon drum as the Leeds traffic rumbles past, perhaps the sounds being processed and looped into further destruction further along the line.
And what’s not to like about the sound of glass smashing? The permanent destruction of something fragile produced to a magnificent sound quality for our aural delectation. Both sides are marked and I could if I wanted tell you which side is which but I feel it hardly matters as both are truly magnificent in their primitive rawness. Smashing glass for aural pleasure has been around ever since people threw bottles against a wall in search of cheap thrills and the knowledge that their split second action not only made a great sound but left a dangerous footprint. Then there’s Jewish weddings, rioters and plate glass seem permanently drawn to each other and then theres the Ballardian image of crushed windscreen glass mingling with spilt semen and engine fluids in Crash. Wolf Vostell, Joke Lanz, Richard Rupenus and no doubt plenty of others [Watson dedicates his track to Lowe and Lanz but I failed to discover who Lowe was] have trod this path with much success before and long may others do the same.
Having just left Left Hand Cuts Off Right at the Must Die Records turnpike its a pleasure to reacquaint myself at so early a juncture. Here’s that Robbie Judkins again making micro drones and teeny ectoplasms of rattles and Kagel like toy noises. Especially on ‘Habiba’ which comes over like a Joe Jones machine tumbling down the stone steps in Whitby or a group of over zealous Alpine cow bell ringers on speed. Judkins uses improv techniques, radio interference and field recordings [and probably lots of other techniques which are lost on me] all on show with second track here ‘Seventy Heads With Seventy Tongues’ which sounds like a Van der Graff generator spitting sparks into an ominous drone whilst a New Dheli school teacher takes charge of her pupils.
Bad Suburban Nightmare’s Dan Hrekow tumbleweed Ry Cooder-esque ambience has met with approval before. Previous BSN releases have provided much in the way of a ‘Paris, Texas’ soundtrack and long may he continue. ‘Drone Heartbreak’ is Krekow continuing this theme but its second track ‘Alchemy’ thats shows a new direction. Here the guitar disappears to be replaced by hollow depth charges exploding in a series of muffled displays, perhaps the digestive system of a whale or the irregular heartbeat of chain-smoking fat bastard.
Back on the south coast we have The Zero Map - the Ying to Jase William’s Yang. The Zero Map do for drone what Mogadon did for creativity. Having once [a while ago it has to be said] liked a Zero Map release I now find myself finding lots of reasons not to like them.
Its drone aboard a rudderless ship. Aimless, drifting stuff thats harmless enough but never alive enough to hold you attention for long. I await the Haysi Fantayzee cover version with much eagerness.
Armed Within Movement
Jase has kindly pointed out to me that I've made it seem as if Johannah does nothing but drum with MOTTR. This is of course a total misconception. Johannah is of course an integral part of the band, an inspiration as well as multi-instrumentalist without whom the band would not exist. I'm more than happy to point this out and send you in this direction for further MOTTR satisfaction.