artifacts of the no-audience underground: petals and hairdryer excommunication

February 24, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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  • petals – (Aversion to) The Tempest (hairdryer excommunication)
  • petals – blacker curtains (hairdryer excommunication)
  • petals – My waste (hairdryer excommunication)
  • petals – The reading of contracts (hairdryer excommunication)
  • PETALS/KODIAK GOLD/SLUMP – TUFT ANG POST-MEREDITH (hairdryer excommunication/beartown)

I may have mentioned that I played a gig recently.  And that it snowed.  And thus the names of those attending were inked forever more into the book of the righteous.  Amongst those hallowed souls is the charming Kevin Sanders, known to me via his recordings as petals (or ‘PETALS’ or ‘Petals’, depending on lexicographical bent) and for the main outlet of those recordings: hairdryer excommunication.  On the evening in question, he took the trouble to introduce himself and gave me the releases pictured above.  S’all about the gift economy down here in the no-audience underground and he had a bulging sack of goodies to bestow.

Inspired by his generosity, I visited his blog.  This is relatively serious stuff – the chap has obviously given some thought to his endeavour.  Check this out:

With information becoming an increasingly politicised engagement, and with the abuse, misuse and ‘relational’ use of it as both a noun and as a form of political currency, hairdryer excommunication endeavours to interact, collaborate and share knowledge, art and opinion with a collectivist methodology to provide a forum for information to flow and for the production of a nascent dialogue.

Blimey, eh?  Now, I wouldn’t/couldn’t dare to accuse anyone of pretentiousness (moi?) but I have to admit that, as a former philosophy student and current philosophy apostate, anything that smacks of ‘theory’ brings me out in a lumpy, purple rash.  Still, there is plenty of humour, self-deprecation and obviously heartfelt enthusiasm there too so I’m tempted to disrespectfully scrape off the academic veneer with my fingernail and just enjoy the mess underneath.

The tapes are noise of the more balls-out variety.  Not ‘harsh’, by any means (although my definition of the word is hardening a bit), but certainly not coolly meditative either.  I’ll let Kev describe The reading of contracts (C36), again from the blog:

Two side-length tracks of rattling metals, cassette loops, scorched reed organ, oral glut and analogue electronics, all bleaching the tape at full volume.

…and I’m not sure I can better the write-up on the Beartown Records site for the Petals/Kodiak Gold/Slump collaboration (C24, edition of 40):

TUFT ANG POST-MEREDITH is a mail collaboration from three label stalwarts. The harsh hysteria of PETALS, the inquisitive improvisational bass-guitar chatter of KODIAK GOLD, and the gentle hum and hiss of SLUMP’s cracked consumer electronics, all converge in 24 minutes of blind panic, directionless non-music, and rumbling spazz-clatter.

Heh, heh – ‘directionless non-music’ is a great phrase, made even better because in context this is supposed to be a good thing (which it is, of course). 

The three 3″ CD-rs are more my bag.  In fact, I have been quietly fascinated by these and have found myself returning to them over and over again.  All are, in essence, drone pieces but each is augmented with colour taken from a wide ranging but sparingly used sound palette.  Field recordings, ghostly instrumentation, what may be speech in slo-mo, various clatterings, feedback and pure-tone bass all conspire successfully to net your attention and, when you are rapt, whisper a brief but compelling description of another world.  They have the pace and feel of the meticulous collage that Andy Robinson of Striate Cortex likes to release.  Regular readers should know that is high praise from me.  I urge you, most vigorously, to check this stuff out.

For downloads and/or physical objects visit hairdryer excommunication here.

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