barking at tornado: noise by yol, half an abortion and posset

May 2, 2013 at 7:49 am | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Yol – cordless drill faces separation anxiety (CD-r, self-released)

Half an Abortion – Drowsy Seepage (CD-r, Memoirs of an Aesthete, MOA 2013-1)

Posset – The Glistening Fist (tape, Total Vermin, #81)

Yol - Cordless DrillHalf an Abortion - Drowsy SeepagePosset - The Glistening Fist

As well as being art worthy of contemplation in and of itself, all that dreamy psychedelia and rumbling noise-metal I listen to serves a valuable purpose.  When my disposition is knotted and tangled (thus: most of the time) a dip in this universal ego solvent is most therapeutic.  It isn’t suitable for every occasion, though.  Sometimes I need music brimming with angry energy or anarchic humour to slap me out of a fug or compliment a brash good mood.  Sometimes I want to laugh on the bus, in wide eyed appreciation of the spiky, ludicrous and invigorating.  Thus, in certain circumstances a briskly cold shower is of more use to me than a luxurious warm bath.  Here are three excellent examples of this type of cathartic racket.

The latest self-released CD-r from Yol, cordless drill faces separation anxiety, comes packaged in his usual stark, bleakly humorous graphics entirely appropriate to the stark, bleakly humorous contents.  These seven tracks, totalling a tight 19 minutes, comprise perhaps the most accessible (at the risk of stretching the meaning of that word to breaking point) set that I’ve heard from him yet.  There is some clipping and distortion, of course (how on earth do you set the levels for this?), but that is an integral part of the Yol sound, much like tape hiss is for Culver.  In the main though the recording is clean and tidy, the lyrics are decipherable and a couple of these pieces include elements that could even be described as *cough, splutter* musical.

‘eco’, for example, has a harmonium accompaniment that suggests an unholy attempt to reanimate Ivor Cutler gone nightmarishly wrong (sorry Cutler fans.  Too soon?).  It also begins with seagulls cawing which gives the track a very odd, drowned, sea shanty vibe.  The usual sound palette is also evident throughout so don’t panic about our man going soft.  Dropped metal clatters, scrapes and spins on its axis as it rattles to a halt.  Yol’s voice tears through a canine repertoire of yelps, roaring insta-crescendos, syllable-snapping gulps and retching spits.  His is a complete, unique vision expressed with absolute commitment.  Just fucking great.

The guy still no internet presence as such, just his YouTube channel and an email address (yol1971@hotmail.co.uk) that you can use to arrange a trade or sale.

Drowsy Seepage by Half an Abortion, the unfortunately named solo project of tyke Pete Cann, is a six track CD-r released by Phil Todd’s boutique concern Memoirs of an Aesthete.  It comes packaged with the screen-printed cover pictured above.  Now, the illustration isn’t entirely clear, and I hesitate to guess what is going on for fear of what it reveals about my imagination, but it sure looks like a King Kong style giant ape ejaculating hard through a torn up skyscraper.  The sounds contained within aren’t as gonzo as this image suggests they might be, but there is a level of nihilistic exuberance and darkly surreal humour.  For this is tabletop electronics: down, brutal and discombobulating when it needs to be, light and evasive as a winged insect the rest of the time.

My favourite track is the second, ‘A Lucky Strandage’: a rolling, squealing clatter like a saboteur sneaking along a factory production line of industrial robots, tasering each one as they pass, just to see them spasm.  The best track, though, is the fifth, ‘Too Ripe to Drive’.  Imagine skipping forward a few years and visiting a grindcore guitar hero now in his twilight years, infirm, faculties eroded by age, hands palsied and shaking.  Not unhappy, but perpetually befuddled.  Now imagine his mischievous grandchildren arriving with a guitar, a practice amp and a bunch of effects pedals, plugging them into each other in a haphazard fashion, handing the instrument to the confused but clearly delighted old man and chanting: ‘shred, grandad, shred!!’  This is what the result sounds like.

Visit the Memoirs of an Aesthete Bandcamp site to purchase.

Finally, we have The Glistening Fist by Posset, the solo guise of RFM’s North East co-correspondent Joe Murray, released by Stuart Arnot’s excellent tape label Total Vermin. What could the title refer to? Perhaps the charming developmental stage Thomas the Baby has just reached now that his saliva glands have been activated and coating his hands in drool has become a favourite pastime. Or could it be a video of a grotesquely perverted sexual act that has escaped from the quarantine of its ‘specialist’ audience and is now surging around the internet? Let’s hope the former, eh kids?

Joe’s trademark dictaphonic squigglecore is not front and centre this time around. Instead we begin with some bogman blues, which is cut short by (what I think is) Joe being called in for tea by his daughter. This sets the scene for a very entertaining tour of lo-fi cassette culture tropes filtered through his own shaggy joie de vivre. We are presented with a home-brewed concoction of grunting vocal improv, some hilariously treated to sound like gremlins dealing with a nasty bout of food poisoning, field recordings (gulls make an appearance here too at one point, coincidentally – I approve – more seaside noise please), groaning, shuddering loops and unfathomable clattering. It is charming, engaging and breathlessly pulls you through its short duration with the promise of even more weirdness around the next corner.

Visit the Total Vermin blog to find out how you can get this and other tremendous tapes for silly cheap.

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