arrested by the black leather copApril 8, 2014 at 3:47 pm | Posted in musings, new music, no audience underground | 1 Comment
Tags: black leather cop, joe murray, mainstream versus underground, matching head, new music, no audience underground, noise, posset, scott mckeating, tapes
Black Leather Cop – BLC (tape, Matching Head, MH 201)
Is there such a thing as conflict of interest here in the no-audience underground? Is there anything unwholesome or unethical in praising work, or releasing CD-rs, or promoting gigs by our friends and colleagues? Should, for example, anyone get snarky about one third of Radio Free Midwich recommending a tape by the other two thirds? Should you take my judgement on such matters with a pinch of salt?
For the record, the answers are: no, no, no and no. I thought there might be some mileage in a discussion of these issues but the more I think about it the more ludicrous the notion seems. This is for three reasons.
Firstly, ours is a small, self-supporting scene. There are no mainstream channels to disseminate news and opinion about these things. What we have is a network of protagonists linked by a shared fringe interest, friendships forged face to face at gigs, webs of social media and nodes like this blog. We have to blow our own discordant trumpet because there is no-one else to do it for us.
Secondly, there is no money involved. Promoting a gig for a friend where you know in advance the best you’ll be able to offer is some taxi fare and cost-price drinks is hardly on a par with awarding a lucrative PFI contract to a company owned by your brother. The circulation of goodwill is what keeps the scene in rude health, not financial reward.
Thirdly, and closely linked to the above, is the centrality of integrity. In the absence of corrupting factors like money (or fame or any other non-artistic concerns) we are liberated to do what we want simply because we want to do it. We all have the responsibilities that come with being adults in a profoundly compromised world but, gloriously, in our creative endeavour we are free. With that comes an understandable suspicion of being told what to like and if anyone dare do so then their opinion better be unimpeachable. It is in no-one’s interest to puff or hype – to be honest I’m not even sure it is possible here.
So… five paragraphs of self-serving preamble in order to justify the following sentence: that tape BLC by Black Leather Cop is well good, innit?
Yes, this exercise in unfathomable oddity is the work of doomphonics duo Scott McKeating (Bells Hill Records) and Joe Murray (Posset, Chump Tapes) best known around these parts as RFM’s staff writers. I’m not sure how it is constructed but their working method appears akin to Scott fast-bowling a variety of exotic soft-boiled vegetables at Joe who is standing at the other end of a cricket net with a giant metal colander. Joe takes a joyful swipe at each and, after an hour of sweaty practice, they shake hands and the mess on the wall behind him is presented as the artwork.
I jest, of course – but only a bit. Dressed, as it is, in the standard livery of Matching Head – black and white photo cover, typewritten text – you might expect a Geordie racket and, on first listen, that is what you get. However, repeats reveal an unsettling level of darkly comic strangeness. Ear-straining near-silence suddenly collapses into passages of total scree which are in turn given a seasick feel by being relayed through an array of dictaphones with fading batteries (the added queasiness revealing just how soothing and comfortable most ordinary, supposedly ‘harsh’ noise actually is).
I really like this – and my opinion is wholly trustworthy.