recent zinery, part one: hiroshima yeah!, spon, crow versus crow

July 17, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Posted in art, new music, no audience underground, not bloody music | Leave a comment
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Hiroshima Yeah! #89

Spon #18 – The Object Issue, #19 – The Junk Mail Prog

Crow Versus Crow and Posset – Seaweed of Silk

Late last night I lay prone on the ottoman, the air around me a sweet opium fug, a tattered and much re-read copy of À rebours thrown across the room.  I was stiff with ennui.  Jabbing my beautiful Turkish boy awake with a riding crop I keep handy for the purpose I barked a demand that he jog down to the gates to see if the last post of the evening had brought me anything interesting.  French decadence is usually enough, but what I really needed was a zine.

It has been a quiet time for the booklet, the pamphlet, the stapled photocopy.  I wondered if the urge to hand-craft and distribute a non-downloadable object was being sublimated instead by all the cassette tapes I’ve seen and heard recently.  This seemed like an interesting possibility so I recharged my pipe and was looking for my best thinking fez when my boy returned beaming from ear to ear and clutching multiple packages for me.  A deluge!

The first opened were unmistakeably from current zine-masters Hiroshima Yeah! and Spon.  Midwich had been the subject of two separate reviews in the last issue of HY! – one by each of the editors Gary and Mark – and the multi-ball, extra play delight that this sent ricocheting around my bonce made it impossible to fully grasp the other content.  Luckily they kept me out of this one (#89) so I could take a cooler look.  This issue has punch: short poetry (‘lowetry’) by Mark, howls of rage at an indifferent God from Gary, a series of txt messages reducing tragedy to bullet points and a hypnotic gig review in which Mark details another day-long slice of the Tom Waits song he seems to live in.  Great, as ever.  Gary even included a crepe bandage with a green plastic monopoly house taped to it as a ‘housewarming’ (geddit?!) present.  Contact HY! via: donbirnam@hotmail.com

Spon, the zine/mail-art project of Dr. Adolf Steg, continues marching to the inexplicable rhythm that only its creator can hear.  Spon #18, the object issue, took the form of a nodding scooby-doo toy for me (I see Mark at Idwal Fisher got a jawbone – he has a stronger stomach than I) with accompanying greetings card.  Spon #19, the junk mail prog, is a puffy magazine mainly comprised of leaflets, promo material and other unwanted detritus of modern life.  This recycling of binnable crap into an object of contemplation gives the banality a surreally humorous context.  The accumulation of crass design and incongruous bullshit becomes almost psychedelic.  I laughed out loud to turn a page and encounter an advert for dental services for dogs.  We’re fucked as a civilization, aren’t we?  Fucked.  Anyway, these objects are hand crafted – the very idea of the time and effort that goes into them makes me want to lie on the floor – and sent out to the lucky few have expressed an interest.  If you haven’t, you should.  Contact via the World of Steg.

Next up is Halifax based Crow Versus Crow which is, to my shame, new to me.  However, it is likely to be something I will follow with interest in future.  As well as producing physical objects, the organisation puts on gigs and hosts a Sunday evening community radio show on Calderdale’s 96.7 Phoenix FM (podcasts available).  Eminently supportable.

This was sent to me on spec by Andrew Wild, CvC head-honcho, with a polite covering letter (take note potential submitters – manners cost nothing).  Seaweed of Silk is a collaboration between Andy and Joe Posset, RFM’s North East correspondent and all round good egg.  It takes the form of a 20 page A5 booklet with card cover – a satisfyingly classic zine format.  The content begins with a brief stream of consciousness prose poem then ditches text completely, instead presenting us with a series of illustrations, one per page.

These pictures look like early experiments with X-rays, or an attempt to document the very large or the very small with faulty optical equipment, or like the photographic experiments of Bauhaus artist László Moholy-Nagy.  Their slight fuzziness and rounded corners lend an air of mysterious antiquity.  I like them very much – I could imagine comissioning something similar for a midwich cover – and my favourite is reproduced above.

On the final page is affixed (with one of them foam blobs) a 3” CD-r containing three tracks by our friend Joe. ‘You’ll never make an impressionist, son’ starts with some lightly sautéed chanting to hyper-oxygenate the blood, then a gaggle of indiscreet geese orgy in a skip filled with discarded clown-car-bulb-horns, then a couple of the more morally aware fowl sob quietly at their transgression. ‘Damp Leafy Path’ is balls-out racket.  A tooth-loosening riff/loop is paired in unholy union with percussion that suggests a seizure in the kitchen department of British Home Stores.  The third and briefest track ‘Sonic Reducer Reduced’ (no idea if is bears relation to the Dead Boys song) is a guitarish chang-a-lang subjected to the skwee and scribble of Joe’s beloved micro-recorders.  And that is that – dictaphonics as she is wrote.

This appealing package can be had for a mere £4.  Buy here.

Stuff from Yol and Simon Morris of Ceramic Hobs in part two…

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