bronze bones hammered: joe murray on peeesseye and lost wax

June 28, 2014 at 10:24 am | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Peeesseye – SCI FI DEATH MASK (LP, or as Joe would have it: ‘God damn heavyweight 180 gram vinyl’, humansacrifice, HS008, edition of 300)

Lost Wax – Gongzhufen Breath (tape, Psykick Dancehall)

Peeesseye coverPeeesseye - SCI FI DEATH MASK - LPinsert_backlost wax colourlost wax black and white

Peeesseye – SCI FI DEATH MASK

Cryptic headline: Behold the power of threee.  The pyramid triumphant: the tripod exultant!

Record Collector style blurb: The Pee/Ess/Eye – Peeesseye – P.S.I – band have been jamming with conjoined frontal lobes since 2002.  Instrumentally they present the standard set up with Chris Forsyth on guitar, Jaime Fennelly pumping between harmonium & electronics and Fritz Welch rapping the percussion and the vocals (incorporating his patent fritz-o-size panting).

But beware…this three-o have recorded nothing approaching trad jazz over a whole bunch of heady 8-tracks and wax cylinders.  The slow-drawn water-colour and pressurized ‘hisss’ of sneaky graff make more comfortable bedfellows for these beards.

This Sci Fi Death Mask is their last ever recording.  That’s it.  PEEESSEYE have left the building.  But thankfully some bright spark snatched this ritual (a live performance from Antwerp) from the arms of unreliable memory via thick magnetic tape thereby basting the resulting soundwaves in rich symbolism and occult power.

Head-music gonzo stream: This whole performance is chunked into three tasty pieces.

Mouthful one, ‘Let the Hate Flow’ is a growing thing.  Starting from mere microbes a leggy beast emerges from the ooze.  The shimmering harmonium drone is introduced; a metallic shriek (furniture moved slowly) punctuates.  The static-yet-moving palette is like sea viewed from a low-flying aeroplane; you know barely-restrained power lurches behind those cold, grey waves.

Yet when landed this ritual of purification has the same shimmering magik I last heard in the smack-gongs of Vietnam.  All pause and release; bronze bones hammered and aching as tears of pure joy and gratitude rolled down my sunburnt cheeks.

Chew the gristle on mouthful two, ‘Legs Without Feet’.   Heavy ticking balls and angry holla spit rough Rice Wine in gaseous cloud above your head.  The offerings and prayer flags still flutter but are now soaked in foul, flammable liquid.  Below, below, below the speed-junk-trash-can, like a coffee-nervous Phill Calvert, spasms in response.  Guitar starts to peal, as twisted as the spire of Chesterfield, and Harmonium wildly laughs. Things are getting serious.

Swallow a final long draft with the side-long jam ’What is the value, what is the purpose?’  Tone clusters reproduce at speed to spawn one of them 1960’s goose-bands, freaking-out the UFO club crowd with a come down for an ultra-high society.  They call themselves The Grateful Dong, Punk Floyd or something and let it all hang out, balancing reality on an eyelid.

And in that sweaty basement, just off Tottenham Court Road, the band finally locks minds with the audience.  Together they soar the skies, pushing through the membrane of atmosphere and the old black vacuum to breach the un-breachable.  A place where the senses are amplified a thousand fold; eyes become attuned to taste, ears fondle the colour of sound (all orange, pinks and blood-reds here) and we lose ourselves for eons in the pure joy of sweet slow-explosions.

Reader re-connect and economic conclusion:  Even Bacchus took a day off.  This ritual has to end sometime.  So, spent and dripping, PEEESSEYE limp home.

Beaten?  Never.

Heroes?  To a man.

Available in physical and astral forms from humansacrifice.

Lost Wax – Gongzhufen Breath

Lost Wax is the one Ben Morris (also of Chora, fact fans) who released one of my favourite tapes from last year, the superb My Sore Daad Heap’d.  So it’s with anticipation I jam this one into the stereo, refresh my glass with Pimms and settle back in front of the typewriter.

Right from the off with the title track ‘Gongzhufen Breath’ it’s clear Ben is adding his clear and strong voice to the chatterings concerning field recordings in the avant garde.   This is no New Age whale song bullshit.  This is no ‘jam a mike in yr face and hope for the best’ tourism.  This is a beautifully placed, memory-gong.  A tug on the collective sound-DNA we all share.

We’re in Beijing for at least part of this first piece with the busy Gongzhufen Bus Station taking a starring role.  Smoky traffic roars by over a plucked string (a spare and solem Pipa possibly) and Blade Runner-style adverts.  The detail in the editing roasts these sounds gently….never scorching and letting you drift in and out the soundscape, picking up a persimmon here, clumsily folding a newspaper there.  My ears pensively glowed as I tuned-in deeper and deeper into this recording revelling in the non-congruence of what I could see out the window (a damp garden) and what I could hear.  The instructions on the bus timetable pretty much sum this up…

Figure it reasonable transfer bus to remind you when to travel. Figure it also provides you with Beijing bus routes, sites, maps, and other information surrounding the query. Stock ride the bus with you, I wish you a pleasant journey!

‘Scragged and Stuttered’ starts with the low-glotty sounds of deep water.  The innocent chitter of children talking in the distance makes this dark lake faintly unnerving.  Percussive rasps (A manic woodpecker?  Polite fireworks?) pepper the mix that seems to be concerning  itself solely with building up a sense of foreboding and unease.  Yeah…this is horror film stuff.  Not that slasher, spam-in-a-cabin nonsense but adult Don’t Look Now nightmares, this time all dubbed up with Jah Shaka at the controls.

Clotted pops greet me in ‘Myfan Snare’ as 74 layers of ethno-percussion get filtered through the sound of galloping horses, each hoof fall a thunderous dunch.  Shortwave static and the squeal of un-lubricated wheels wraps and warps the art of the overblown tannoy announcement.   A brief taster, sonic-tapas.

Closer ‘Open Kraken’ is a sick creeper.  Things start innocently enough with straining brass rods being bent and warped.   All very nice I think.  But, before I know it I’m bopping my head to the sound of rubber gongs beat with rubber mallets; and then slowly, stealthily the strings emerge.

A single folk fiddle is joined by its deeper cousin the Cello.  More and more family arrive until the rosined strings vibrate powerfully and churn up the air like a giant spoon.  Before long an orchestra as heavy as any György Ligeti commanded is bowing sea-sick lurches that crash and flood the plain.

This is sheer dislocation and rapture!

I look at the tiny tape with wonder…this sounds like it was recorded at Abbey Road; Scott Walker conducting (with a boner) such is the rousing ferment.

But eventually the sea of strings is becalmed and with a brief coda of pocket fuffle and polite throat clearing we are done.  My gosh…I need a little lie down after that.

The Lost Wax do it again…surely a contender for tape of the year.

—ooOoo—

Editor’s note: Joe is a tease isn’t he? At the time of posting this tape appears to still be ‘forthcoming’. Keep an eye on the Psykick Dancehall Facebook page and website so you can snap one up when it becomes available. Sound clip available here.

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