Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Saboteuse - Harsh Whelm

Saboteuse - Harsh Whelm
Feathered Coyote Records.
Cassette. DL.

For what seems like decades Joincey and Jarvis have created, via Jesus Christ knows how many labels and projects, a list of work that if reproduced here would involve a very long scroll down the page. Two of the longest running members of the ‘No Audience Underground’ from the days when it was just the plain old underground. Without them the place just wouldn’t be the same.

Saboteuse then, an intermittent project where Joincey and Jarvis run free and wild within song structures of an experimental nature creating all manner of oddities, ranging from late Whitehouse like breathy menace to all out Wyrd English Folk [if there is such a thing] and plenty of more inbetween.

Having ‘Harsh Whelm’ stuck in my mitt at the Crater Lake fest by the ever suave Andy Jarvis made my black little heart skip a tiny beat. So enamored was I with Harsh Whelm that I took to digging out a couple of their previous efforts that just happened to be at arms length. The first being ‘Worship The Devil’, a continuous 40 minute tranche of rapid guitar thrape, controlled feedback and drum rattles that appeared on Phil Todd’s Memoirs of an Aesthete label back in 2006 and then, from the same year ‘About So Much “More” Than What Its About’ on the Belgian label Audiobot. Here’s where the songs come in. There’s more afoot I’m told. Don’t believe everything Discogs tells you.

Some people wouldn’t call these songs songs of course. Hearing Joincey recite surreal stream of consciousness shopping lists to a background of Jarvis’s primitive industrial rumblings [Stray’d] wont get them in the charts but they are still songs when all is said and done. They’re short too, 16 of them in total and heres the best bit, they’re all remarkably different in construct. How many artists working in the same field can you say that about?

The opener ‘Diet of Glass’ has some Sonic Youth like bald guitar noodling before we get the first instance of Joincey’s instantly recognisable tremulous voice. Joincey’s singing voice is a wavering fragile thing at times dreamy and wistful, staring out of a window blank dreamy thoughts, at times wheedling and sometimes dare I say it, damned well grating. ‘Suggestable’ finds Jarvis playing Mario Brothers circuit glitch with some runny drum rums and sleigh bells as Joincey moans odd words. ‘Paracetamol and Bandages’ could be their next single; a droning guitar chug that is Saboteuse’s very own Helter Skelter replete with whistling feedback ending. ‘You Can Use it Again and Again [Fly Robin Fly]’ is wheezy organs and bird calls, Joincey pronouncing odd words before going silent on us leaving whats left to run free. ‘A Fighter’s Hand’ is Spanish guitar with more moaning. ‘Dead Piano Eyes’ has the Grand Prix intro bass guitar on it along with some mad trebly electric guitar and more Joincey spoken words, we’re venturing into Trout Mask Replica territory here, improv heaven, the A Band on the day when only two of them turned up. The last track is electro noise.

An eclectic release. A wonderful release. The two J’s at the height of their powers. No one even gets near.  

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