vomit pink: joe murray on with lumps, neil davidson, fritz welch

May 25, 2013 at 7:24 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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With Lumps – Lumps for Lovin’ (CD, Never Come Ashore)

Neil Davidson – Stupid Techno (tape, self released)

Fritz Welch – Crumbs On a Dumpster (CD-R, Chocolate Monk, choc.257)

lumps 1lumps 2fritz 1fritz 2neil 1

Ladies and gentlemen, RFM’s box-fresh co-conspirator lashes out for the second time.  Loosen any tight clothing before proceeding.  Over to Joe:

With Lumps – Lumps for Lovin’.  This tasty duo come in two shapes, Fritz-shaped and Neil-shaped.  Both residents of the mighty metropolis – Glasgow; both up to the elbows in side-projects and other groups, both blowin’ it mighty for the Northern free, free, free vibe.  This is a brain-scrambler from the off with vomit-pink lettering on a calm sage-green cover adding to an illegibility index the Black Metaller would dig.  With CD plucked from its mount and slopped into the cheap-o hi-fi I’m assaulted by some pitchy scrapes that shake my hangover loose.  Furtive clattering enters the mix and everything ratchets up (more scrape, more clatter) making my eyeballs bulge a little.  I take a quick break to study the sleeve notes, just to make sure.  Yup – this is Neil Davidson on guitar (and amplifier) and Fritz Welch on percussion and electronics.  That’s it.  Two dudes rubbing and a’ scratching on fairly pedestrian instruments to make a most singular racket.  What marks this out from a lot of improv clatter is the dynamics…a lot of this chuff stays in the midzone, keeping itself level, fearing the Mariana Trench of bass.  But this platter is lurching from reductionist quiet to deep-throbbing membrane action in a jiffy.  I can see why the amplifiers get a star billing because the deep amp hum adds a solid base to flick these sonic-bogeys about the precise and professional studio tracks.  The lengthy live piece ‘National Bird of England’ has a very different presence.  The in-the-momentness is magnified and scrutinised by many pairs of eyes with a greater emphasis on tension and drama.  Presently, geometric waffle shapes snap into vision forming a grid over the music allowing me to plot coordinates on the twin axes ‘metallic’ and ‘gaseous bulb’.  Such ‘pick and drop’ playing has developed a vocabulary of its own over the last decade so it’s juicy and refreshing to hear a group reject the tired timing clichés the auld boys clutch so dear.  For the Lumps, textures are twanged in an organic and clotted way; more like a churning cream than a call and response exercise.  In fact ‘Plinth Glass Nebula’ melds in such an atom-tight way it’s impossible to hear the edges to each player – they have become a Studio Ghibli-style amorphic blob…a lump.  Hey!  Job done fellas!

Like I said, both lumps have a whole bunch of extra curricula shit going on, so in the spirit of going to the far end of a fart for the sub-underground, here’s some more manic humps.

Neil Davidson – Stupid Techno.  A nice recycled tape belches forth a grumbling glitch-scape; like a malfunctioning machine, a skipping CD and most strangely, a rubber glove squeaked on a draining board.  I don’t claim to know much about this kind of scene.  I’ve got a Pan Sonic album that’s groovy but apart from that – nothing.  So it’s with clear ears I’m a listening to this little tape so forgive me if I lapse into the obvious!  My first thought is language based – is this stupid techno or stupid techno?  I’ll plump for the latter because there is a rhythmic pull to this as outrageously camp as the Trans-Europe Express.  Side one concentrates on the dying machine with a bunch of short vignettes, each exploring a facet of ‘blip, blip, blip’ as the circuits spazz out, collapse and huff their last hot, electric breath.  There’s some very nifty speaker to speaker action that makes me stand and stare at the stereo, head moving, like I’m recalling a particularly vigorous badminton final.  Side two starts with genetically modified fireworks and a menacing silty roar.  In fact this is downright surly with a lip curl and ‘watchyalookinat’ slouch that means business.   The pieces here are longer too and stretch out, revelling in gray and grimy fur.  Soft to the touch…but it leaves smears.

Fritz Welch – Crumbs On a Dumpster.  Here’s another scene report from Chocolate Monk’s ‘Well Sliced Breath’ series, dedicated to capturing essential vocal-based compositions from some of this world’s most fancy cats. Fritz delivers a confident volume 5 made up of two squelched tracks; ‘The Triangulated Stumps’ and ‘Open the door Doctor West!’  OK…’Stumps’ first.  This is a well mixed mousse (with lumps!).  Kinda like finding popping candy in your sweet n’ sour sauce but not complaining…it all goes down the same hole right?  For your crisp fiver you’re getting a very deliberate mix of strung out chimes with vocal chirrups all folded over into themselves to form stiff peaks of ‘wassat?’  A narrative is whipped together for a few seconds then a swift rug-pull leaves you flailing for hand holds or other points of reference. The dry mouth prevails so don’t expect any sloppy lippings here; it’s all about the hiss and the sigh, the grain of breath in miniature rather than cheek-popping gob-farts. Unmistakably a drummer’s album, this propels itself forward briskly with tight focus, neat edits and clear crisp resolution.  ‘Doctor West’ is a more live-sounding affair with warm and clunky rolling tape-thunder merging into more glottal schlops and skinks.  The paranoid whispering continues with sanity edges rubbed clear until I can see something moving inside.  By the 8 minute mark there seems to be a malfunction in the occult space behind my ear, lodged like a curse.  A backwards vomiting sound upsets the forest dwellers within who seek to appease me by blowing bubbles through black milk.  Mists clear with the familiar Dictaphone burble, jagged jump-cuts, radio chatter about UFOs and my next-door-neighbour beating a dull tattoo against my eyelids.  Not to mention the Triffid cock-knocking!  Of course it’s all about the composition…sure the elements are fine and dandy but the placement and timing turn this from random Crayola scribble into Eva Hesse master-stokes.  There is a submissive element to this kind of listening; you have to offer up some time and brain space to let the clotted sounds wander at random, picking up lint between stubby fingers and glaring accusingly at you.   Another essential release on the Well Spliced Breath series…like Pokemon…you gotta catch ‘em all.

The With Lumps humps can be found at nevercomeashore.com.  Neil’s tidy little tape is best located via the man himself neil.j.davidson@gmail.com.  Fritz’ hootenanny is jealously guarded by the order of Chocolate Monks.

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