drowned church, boiling noise: scott mckeating on joseph curwen, benway, deceiverSeptember 17, 2014 at 1:38 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
Tags: alexander roberts, benway, cruel nature records, deceiver, drone, fuckin' amateurs, h.p. lovecraft, human beard records, improv, john kerny, joseph curwen, matt goodrich, new music, no audience underground, noise, scott mckeating, steve savage, tapes
Joseph Curwen – From Beyond (tape, Cruel Nature Records, CN008, edition of 30 or download)
Benway – Surfs Up (tape, Fuckin’ Amateurs, Fa 79, limited edition)
Deceiver – Tour 2013 (3” CD-r, Human Beard Records, limited edition)
Dictated via whisper-ma-phone from his undersea lair, Scott McKeating – RFM’s mysterious third voice – opines thus:
Joseph Curwen – From Beyond
My initial thought on the way that this tape’s opener, ‘From Beyond (Part One)’, begins is that it might actually make a great intro for an industrial metal song – its stasis drone crawl could well portend some epic pounder setting the goth club dance floor alight. However, Joseph Curwen (aka Newcastle resident, Alexander Roberts) is drone through and through thus no easy catharsis here. Instead the track fills the mind with a drowned church stillness, the silt disturbed by a loping pattern of notes, a mouldering noise toying with melody. ‘From Beyond (Part Two)’ is another low-visibility water piece, currents pushing the tones a little higher up the scale this time. It’s the most markedly Lovecraftian of the tracks: a distant but approaching din hints at chaos crawling through the deadening ambient fug.
The three parts – two short, one long – that comprise Side B are a little less inspiring. The relative lightness is not unwelcome following Side A’s murky grey but allows the listener’s attention to wander to the less cosmic chaos of everyday reality. Whilst the initial tracks have the hypnotizing creepiness of a time-lapse film of verdigris creeping across a forgotten bronze statue, this second side allowed me the headspace to worry about the car’s MOT.
A word about the cover art which is surprisingly ‘new agey’ given the content. I presume it is meant to depict the ultraviolet alternate reality revealed by the occult machinery in Lovecraft’s short story. Unfortunately, what it reminded me of was the opening scenes of that steaming-curled-dog-egg Prometheus.
Benway – Surfs Up
After all that droning sometimes it’s good to get your head kicked in by a bit of noiserocknroll. Here’s Martin of Fuckin’ Amateurs fame to set the scene:
Benway was the group put together by Steve Savage aka Steve The Goon aka Steve Pierce the week after I interviewed him for a forthcoming the punk book. He was in Dementia Praecox and a local character at the time. After the interview he mentioned getting a band together so I introduced him to some mates.
Benway (presumably named for Burroughs’s dubious doctor) is the sound of the assembled players orbiting the very aptly named Savage’s scuzzily serrated guitar. There are various jams available on cassette with a revolving line-up of players like Wrest, One Wobbly Egg, Noisebastard / Noisebear / Mark and our very own Posset who backed and enveloped Steve in venues like the legendary Morden Tower (R.I.P., alas).
The main track on Side A of this one is a great howling thing. A loose feedback fouls everything (even the poorly recorded radio forecast attempting to butt its way in) mixing up a sonic morass. Riffs are ragged chugs, pounded on an anvil as bass turns steely cold. This piece is a one instrument show with a band sound; the Moe-Tucker/krautrock rhythm of Jamie’s drums is the next loudest thing but still a flickering match in the pitch black train tunnel of guitar. Of course, it’s a Fuckin’ Amateurs release so there’s the ubiquitous dicto-surveilled audience chat and, as a bonus, Side A also offers some solo drum work (not a drum solo) from Wrest.
Side B is a different thing altogether, Savage offers up four tracks of reverb friendly instrumental and crystal-tipped electric guitar work. Melodic and reminiscent of Robby Krieger’s playing on ‘The End’ (something another punter also mentions in the recorded chatter after the show), it’s a good counterpart to Side A’s roughness.
Deceiver – Tour 2013
Having already berated Matt Goodrich, Human Beard Records label boss, for not giving this disc a catalogue number, there’s little point in me grumbling on RFM about it too [Editor’s note – yes, if you weren’t already locked in the cellar, I’d lock you in the cellar for excessive nerdiness]. Anyway, when not thwarting my Discogs obsession, Matt is a member of the mighty powerviolence band Water Torture and is also the fellow behind the noise project Deceiver, now based in Rochester, NY.
Deceiver do a great line in fierce, boiling noise, in lo-fi audio recordings of disintegrating city scapes. Bass is used to underline certain passages, but Tour 2013’s single ten minute track is formed mainly from layers fading in then being disintegrated by the knotted razor-wire sound. The track could be digitally sourced, but as it moves organically – clouds of scuffed metal consume each other – I prefer to imagine a string of effects pedals, each throttling the next in a macabre, red-faced, eye-bulging daisy chain. There are hardcore vocals here too, courtesy of noisemaker John Kerny (aka Dead Weight) who red-raws his throat by screaming like a wrong ‘un at someone/something. Absolutely no idea what’s he’s saying, but it’s clear that he’s pissed off.