artifacts of the no-audience underground: a brief history of joined by wire 2002-2008

August 21, 2012 at 8:14 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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A Brief History Of Joined By Wire 2002-2008 (CD-r, Omcore Recordings, OCD 19)

Ysteryulator (A5 zine)

So is it possible to bootleg yourself?  Well, of course we all copy our own work for others all the time – this blog features mp3 rips of most of my back catalogue – but my question is more, y’know, philosophical: can a copy be unauthorized if it is made by the author?  Insert well worn arguments about consent, ownership, copyright, remuneration etc. here, should you be so inclined.

I suppose my main concern would be a practical one: I wouldn’t want to risk annoying the label that created the lovely, hand-made original edition.  But what if that label’s ‘business model’ is entirely based in the gift economy and the original edition was just handed out to whoever showed an interest?  From the Omcore homepage:

FREE AS YOU AND ME – all OMCORE gear costs no money, not because it’s wrong to pay for things but more because GIFT is an important part of keeping culture wild and healthy.

Way cool.  And what if your copy came in a glittery facsimile of the original packaging accompanied by a smart art zine?  Tough times for the ‘official release’ nowadays, eh?

Anyway, enough musing.  What I’m referring to specifically is a copy of A Brief History Of Joined By Wire made for me by Stephen Woolley of the band after the run on Omcore, err…, ran out.  With 14 tracks over 75 minutes this is far longer than my cruelly eroded attention span will usually allow but the chunks are manageable and the quality control is impressively maintained throughout.  As this retrospective covers six or seven years, squeezing it onto one CD-r is admirably disciplined (there is even a 20 minute long live set that acts as a précis for those in a hurry).

Whilst there is plenty of variation from track to track and over the years – check out the big guns of ‘M’ followed by the glockenspiel cupcake of ‘Intermission’ – there is an informing intelligence behind it all that guarantees a satisfying cohesion.  JBW are, to put it simply, fascinated with the possibilities inherent in crackling fuzz.  This takes a melancholy, entropic, almost shoegazey quality on, say, ‘We Are Believers’ – an elegy for a once great city, now ruined and buried in sand.  Or it can swagger with balls-out machismo, as on the aforementioned ‘M’ which sounds like a gathering swarm of sentient war machines.  They’re pissed off too.  Or, best of all, it can billow into an electrical storm of psychedelic noise, as it does on the terrific Exif Endless.  This rolling crescendo of ecstatic fizz is a joyous, mentholated sinus clearer and has me clapping with delight: ‘again, again!’

In the same package as this treat was Ysteryulator, an A5 zine printed on red paper (with an A6 yellow insert) featuring collage, artwork and cut-ups.  I’ve praised the JBW visual aesthetic before and this object is equally worthy of your attention.  Bleakly humorous (‘enter with caution’ it says on the back cover, too late), yearning for meaningful connection underneath its surface of cool detachment.  The centre spread is reproduced above.

How to get these things?  Ask, I suppose.  Email Stephen via joinedbywire@hotmail.com and I’m sure some kind of transaction could be arranged.  More visuals can be seen at StephensVolume.  Check out Omcore Recordings too.

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