guest post! extracts from the joe posset end-of-year round up! part one of two: clotting and unknotting

December 9, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Posted in musings, new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Posset - Mump Grumpy

One of the finest and most welcome signs of the festive season – along with mince pies, carol concerts and the whimpering of my beautiful Turkish boy as he ascends the step ladder to affix the Ian Curtis doll atop our giant Christmas tree – is the arrival in Midwich Mansions of the annual round-up by Joe Murray, best known here as Posset, RFM’s North East correspondent.

All through the year Joe keeps his nib licked, pointy and ready to scribble down his thoughts on the music that he encounters. These terrific reviews, steeped in gonzo enthusiasm, are not published on the fly but saved up for a ginormous splurge in late December. A monster email is fired off to the elite whilst the whole caboodle is simultaneously plonked onto the all-but-secret Posset Myspace blog.

This year, in what I hope will become an annual occurrence, Joe has very kindly allowed me to preview a couple of hefty extracts. I trust your fancy will be tickled. Modesty prevents me from reprinting the very kind words he had to say about the brilliance, importance and significance of my own release ‘eaves’ but I reckon I can wrestle modesty to the floor and link to it later.  Joe tells me the whole thing will be finished for the lull between Christmas and New Year so I’ll nudge you in that direction then.  For now, the below:

(with apologies to those whose pictures I’ve stolen.  Click on linked bits for more info and/or how to purchase)

—ooOoo–

Although I might mug & blush to be bagged the North of England correspondent by Rob it’s a responsibility I take deadly seriously.  Through wind & rain, dodging rats and burned out wheelie bins I stumble to check out as much of the no-audience underground (Newcastle division) as I can for you my dear reader.  This year it’s all been about the live spectacular: Rhodri Davis’ electric big-muff harp versus Harry Smith’s abstract films, The Unit Ama redefining the power trio, Hapsburg Braganza’s slow unravelling of time and space, Hassan Gaylani ripping up a bully-boy beat as Popular Radiation, The return of Lobster Priest making me throw the horns, Edwin Li playing the Guzheng and vibrating to the infinite twang, Wrest’s sustained campaign against wood, concrete and metal, old boys Zoviet France’s meta-performances featuring shows within shows, Richard Dawson singing ‘Poor Old Horse’ with tears like hot gravy, Will Edmonds wiry gruffalo stance and bluster…and of course the Pharaoh of gloom, Culver, perfecting his dark, cold sarcophagus music.

The records I’ve enjoyed the most have been mostly Northern too.

terroir-pissoir

Akke Phallus Duo – Terroir/Pissoir CD  (Apollolaan Recordings)

Spreading greasy butter over the cracks between primitive-electronics, free jazz, ethno-forgery, noise and vocal mush to form a queasy soundworld like the un-song incidental pieces from the very fellows This Heat.  And now i’ve got that lot jammed in my head I can’t help noticing a tasty 80’s avant tinge to this.  Perhaps it’s nostalgia for my first forays into the underground… a fist full of fanzines and flexidiscs as my guide that excites me about the disc so.  There’s a lot of ground covered here.  Tracks can be composed from miniature loops of banjo clash sliding into sick sounding melange with connector crackle and fizz mixed to the fore.  Or then it’s a rude tin-can clatter, duck call shangle and doddering violin (like an OAP on black ice) all building up into unexpected peaks.  There’s an almost OCD quality in some of this with fresh chunks layered precariously on top of each other like some dark Jenga nightmare.   Opener ‘Futhorcs Meat Contorts’ is a ten minute epic of screech, homemade waterphones, tape avalanche and pained vocal holler.  Compare this to the all too brief ‘Gut Macs’ recorded down a mucus-cogged oesophagus with analy inserted double ‘A’s.  ‘Bid’ah’ rewires my head and all its middle-class World Music appreciation by sneakily layering vocal chants both gossamer haunting and Black Sabbath heavy.  The closer ‘Clather’ sounds like it was played on thick black rubber bands which is even more reason to hit play and wade thru this memory robber again.

yol - pushtoshove

Yol – Pushtoshove CD-R (No Label)

An out-of-the-blue email from the mysterious Yol ended in this humming disc being shoved through the door – direct from Hull.  Like ‘power electronics without electricity’ is how it was billed in the fevered e-conversation and you know what…that’s pretty much spot on.  But there’s more to this than a serial killer obsession and badly copied pornography sir.  Featuring one of my favourite sounds: filing cabinets being dragged across a concrete floor; this is like a field recording of psychotic house-movers arguing with themselves over the finer points of town planning, medical dilemmas and rodent holocaust.  Yol beats up resonant metal boxes and chucks spanners about while coughing out a scream of anguish, soon to descend into shopping-list poetic repetition.   ‘Disconnected’ is a duet of gurgled threats and squeaky door…I mean what a paring, it even has a key jangle solo.  ‘Limb’, a live piece judging from the smatter of applause at the end, is a raw bellow against an invisible whinger, accompanied by a crate of milk getting kicked across a courtyard.  Fans of Blyth’s mighty Wrest are gonna cream over this new rasping square peg.  A few years ago I coined the term ‘pocket jazz’.  Somewhat arrogantly I set up to recreate the classic jazz trio (drums, bass, sax) played on the contents of a gentleman’s trouser pocket (coins, rubber band, cigarette papers).  No one was listening of course and it never caught on, but that’s not the point.  Taxonomy is important and Yol seems to have come up with the new classic; ‘reprographics jazz’, the sound of busted photocopier and curdled yell.  It even comes in a real nice 50’s Blue Note style cover too.  Go daddy go!

usurper - the big four

Usurper – The Big Four CD-R (Giant Tank)

You’ll have to forgive me.  I am off work sick with that horrible bathroom unpleasantness thing and feeling a bit other worldly.  Not sure what I want to do, TV’s a drag, not got any films I want to watch, can’t focus on a book so I thought I would write.  So this isn’t exactly a missive from the flu frontline, more a general weepy malaise.  Read on reader!  For me Usurper are one of the most intriguing groups around at the minute. I can understand why their slack rumble and rattling can come across as a joke on the audience.  But listen deep and you’re rewarded by a map of micro-sound; familiar scrapings and gurpings that are a welcome relief to all that reductionist mump.  In fact, while remaining strictly no-input, this has an ultra Spartan quality that I would have thought would have dragged the micro-improv world to the Auld Reekies duo’s sound years ago.  The Big Four has four stretched out tracks of extended elastic band pluck, fizzing alka-seltza, polystyrene twist, rubber ball bouncing, wotsit munch, tin clicking, occasionally throating glock, dropped coin, wrenched bubble wrap etc.  As ever it’s how this sonic detritus is piled up that reveals the art.  Nothing so corny as building to a junk crescendo…this is all about joining and dividing, clotting and unknotting, rubbing sounds vs percussive sounds, natural sounds vs man-made honk.  My recent deep descent into the world of Sound Poetry/Mouth Guff has revealed the works of Jackson Mac Low.  A poet, performer and fellow rattling fidget in the style of Usurper.  I guess if you have to draw a parallel or you feel the need to legitimise this kinda fuff here’s your chance.  Jackson’s celebrated hump ‘A piece for Sari Dienes’ is almost indistinguishable from some of the jams Usurper treat us to here.  The final track (representing either Anthrax, Metallica, Slayer or Megadeth) is even more based in mouthjizz terms with fireside homilies and pre-language yelps delivered against mung mumbling, lippy hissing and distant pre-recorded voices.  They capture a moment of Bruce Forsyth ‘ggggggggg’ in an uncanny tribute to the chinny entertainer that cuts through like a knife.  Brilliant.  What Usurper bring to the table isn’t just this post Sound Poetry vibe but also a gritty purity that’s just right for a double dip economy.  This speaks to Berklee Grad Students with the vocabulary of the JML catalogue or Poundshop chic.  All recorded in one day (October 7th…henceforth know as Duff/Robertson day).

whole voyald

The Whole Voyald – Circumambulations parts 1 & 2, 7 inch vinyl (Winebox Press)

A rare vinyl release from Winebox Press/Serfs/Whole Voyald/Vampire Blues jam-master Jon Collin.  The cover sports a bleak grey seascape, minimal info and blank labels.  Not much to go on at all.  But slap this platter on the turntable and you get sucked into a 3 dimensional kaleidoscopic dream.  Psychedelic in the broadest sense of the word the sticky money shot here is the soaring, ripping, taunting guitar soloing that seems to hover slightly above the lazy, grainy strumming…the only thing keeping this from flipping right out the room.  It starts off easy enough, a bluesy vamp, a simple gob-iron riff (classic protest song chord changes) and then this vital, shaking hell of a solo tears the roof off. Tonally this is like a tinfoil pie case being crushed in a weathered fist.  Structurally it’s like a harmolodic Neil Hagerty; all lightning fast ‘sense’ U-turns and mercurial fingerings.  I’ve compared Jon to Sonny Sharrock before and yet again I think the comparisons are justified.  There’s something unhinged and unschooled here.  More like a stream of consciousness lava flow than prissily measured note clusters.  The other side is a churning ocean current; you listen though a layer of silt to Prince Namor’s underwater blues for a destroyed Atlantis.  Giant structures assemble then fall, scattering rocks down the abyss…silently.  Yup…this side is easier on the ear, it’s more rounded and less metallic…like a drizzly geography field trip on wax.

–ooOoo–

Cool, eh? More to follow in part two…

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