junked-up broth: joe murray on blue spectrum tapes

December 17, 2013 at 3:17 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Orphanage Rats – For the Dead Infested (CD-r, Blue Spectrum Tapes, edition of 20)

Light Collapse / Blue Spectrum / The End of Empire – Split (CD-r, Blue Spectrum Tapes, edition of 20)

The Phosphenes / Monuments Are No Good To The Dead – Split (CD-r, Blue Spectrum Tapes, edition of 21)

The Phosphenes / Vehscle – Split (CD-r, Blue Spectrum Tapes, edition of 20)

Knox Mitchell – Shrieking in Stereo (2006 – 2010) (CD-r, Blue Spectrum Tapes, edition of 20)

Carl Kruger – Lazy Metal (CD-r in A5 artpack sleeve, Blue Spectrum Tapes, edition of 20)

blue spectrum tapes logo

When I rule the world I’m gonna make it law to include a special ‘forgotten footnote’ button on all BBC4-style music documentaries.  The button will start to throb and pulse when some lame-ass social commentator starts heaping blanket praise on that old phlegmy chestnut Punk.  Don’t get me wrong…I’m a Punk fan (I got a new rose, I got it good) and Punk did some great things but it did not, I say DID NOT, invent D.I.Y. culture.  The forgotten footnote function would butt right in and silence the Morley explaining that, “Punk popularised D.I.Y. culture and even legitimised it to some extent, but freaks have been doing their own thing; records, pamphlets and plays for like…for like forever man.”

And so, it’s with this reclaiming of the history of the private press, I present Blue Spectrum records and tapes.  Simon David Wilson runs this label in a hurricane of activity, putting out over 70 releases in a short 3 years with a very definite outsider edge.  Drumming to no one’s beat but his own this is a very singular take on noise and drone.

Simon’s noise is very human and warm.  It’s more about the enveloping fug or cathartic release than the misogynistic boys-club Noise has sadly become in places.  The drone has its stoner head-nodding moments but rises above the all too common drone clichés by adding a spunky energy, a childlike impatience to the mix.

CD-Rs tend to be short, sharp affairs.  Recorded loud and unvarnished Blue Spectrum is a home for like-minded free-thinkers: The Phosphenes, The Bloodletters, Team Electrics, Knox Mitchell and Simon’s own Blue Spectrum project (along with a host of other travellers).

Releases come in ridiculously small editions.  A run of a hundred would be a MYKL JAXN ‘Thriller’ for Simon.  In fact most discs come in modest batches of 1 to 20.  I get the impression that the small runs are nothing to do with marketing strategies or in-built record-collector-scum mentality but a constant desire to surge forward, move to the next thing…keeping it fresh and spicy.

These discs and tapes are not shoved naked into the world, oh no.  They come swaddled in Simon’s distinctive photocopier art and collage.  More Dada than Punk (natch!) the art tells a parallel story to the cathartic noise and drone, capturing Simon’s domestic detritus and fax smears all grimy.  But I’ll let you check that out for yourselves.

In the spirit of one-person missions like Miguel Perez’ Agoraphobia Tapes or Andy Robinson’s Striate Cortex (Editor’s note: Striate Cortex R.I.P.!) you get a real personality emerging from between the cracks.  A real enthusiastic person, not some business model, is making the decisions here…for better or worse it’s human…and that pre-dates 1977 and the 100 Club ya schlubs!

Here’s a mini-round up of the latest Blue Spectrum releases:

orphanage rats

Orphanage Rats – For the Dead Infested

Totally zonked-out peals of guitar skunk and doped electronic echoes.  Makes like the mid-period SKULLFLOWER with that washing machine buzz & bumble.  Five untitled tracks plumb the depths of the oubliette with screeds of gun-metal guitar spinning like a Leslie speaker in my skull.  ESSENTIAL MISERY.

light blue empire

Light Collapse / Blue Spectrum / The End of Empire – Split

Two twenty minute drone/noise pieces on one handy disc.

LC & BS: crumbling noise/drone as heavy as roadworks.  If this kind of music is all about the texture this sounds like an Arran sweater knitted from rusty scrap.  Unflinchingly bullish for a super-saturated 23 mins.

TEOE: altogether lighter.  A slowly accelerating truck the size of a house; and in the cabin, a brutish trucker man turns up Tangerine Dream’s soundtrack to the film ‘Sorcerer’.  You tremble, tightly bound, in the path of the beast.

phosphenes momuments

The Phosphenes / Monuments Are No Good To The Dead – Split

Tape/collage/skronk from The Phosphenes with a pleasing junked-up broth of ‘cruuungggh’ and ‘shoooossshh’ that takes turns in the organic (breathy harmonium) and electronic (amplified cutlery).   Comes with lyric sheet!

Monuments… take pretty harsh noise as a starting point and turns that dial right up to 11, in the red, all the time.  Tracks start in one noisy place and pretty much stay there making very gradual changes in intensity and granularity.  Such stasis is in not at the expense of craft.  No way!  Check out ‘Tonight’ which sound like THE STOOGES played by MONSTER MAGNET at 16rpm.

phosphenes vehscle

The Phosphenes / Vehscle – Split

Field recordings taken from a Dictaphone tied to the collar of a junkyard dog.  As dog sniffs round the oil-drenched trash the tape picks up Native American Electronic Voice Phenomena (NA-EVP).  Phosphenes, terrified at what they have captured, leave the accursed recordings completely untouched for you to judge.

More accidental tape damage from Vehscle, this time captured from SETI.  Unnervingly sounds originally presented on the Voyager gold disc (Bird song, Dixie Jazz, New York soundscapes) are beamed back from the red dwarf UDF 2457.  Mixed in linear stereo!

knox mitchell

Knox Mitchell – Shrieking in Stereo (2006 – 2010)

An anthology of Knox’s singular tape experiments.  Dubbed from gob, guitar, shortwave radio, keyboard, Dictaphone straight to tape, it’s got that familiar mung of crushed frequencies that turn all the beauties brown and snug.

This has a magpie’s eye on methods and techniques taking collage and composition side-by-side and turning both over like a bad clam.   Fans of insect squeals will revel in the familiar sound of waxed wing-pods rubbing over knotty carapace.  Music for prawns.

carl kruger

Carl Kruger – Lazy Metal

Are you a fan of granular ripping?  Well look no further than this Lazy Metal disc from Mr Carl Kruger.  Five untitled tracks start with mucho electronic squiggles, rasps and bleats; from a Gameboy perhaps?  It’s certainly video game inspired and riding the waves between harsh noise and broken electronics.  The dub comes out for a while as a cardboard tube is miked up and long springs slither down…all presented through the decaying lens of an overdriven guitar pedal.  With no climax these sounds are eaked out slowly in a very thoughtful, vicious game.

Like all good journeys this one is paced with regular comfort breaks and challenging peaks.  The ender…a needle-sharp introspective drone is all dandy for the mousey eared until a sharp hail of noize tinkles the ear wax reminding you Kruger is leading this expedition from the front.  Don’t get left behind sucker.

Blue Spectrum Tapes Blogspot.

Blue Spectrum Tapes Bandcamp.

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