blistered, glistening: releases by ian watson and kevin sandersApril 29, 2015 at 3:53 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
Tags: brian lavelle, drone, dust unsettled, extraction music, hairdryer excommunication, ian watson, kevin sanders, new music, no audience underground, noise
Ian Watson – Caermaen (CD-r, Dust, Unsettled, DU09, edition of 50 or download)
Messrs. Sanders & Watson – Cumulative Undulations (2 x CD-r in gatefold sleeve, self-released, edition of 50 or download)
Ian Watson – Caermaen
Dunno why I’ve slept so long on this one. An intriguing album of heavy electrics by the second most charming guy in noise released by the most charming guy in noise – you’d think I’d be all over it, wouldn’t you? My apologies for the inexplicable tardiness. Allow me to make amends.
What we have here is a four track CD-r (long gone – sorry) or free download (still available – woo!) by Ian Watson – artist, polymath – released on Dust, Unsettled, the label run by definitive good egg Brian Lavelle. It was composed using ‘cymbals and feedback’ manipulated through bosky layers of electrics and is apparently inspired by the writing of Welsh mystic and Lovecraft influence Arthur Machen. So far, so perfect.
A satisfyingly viscous low end and a refreshingly untamed crackling at the top act as river banks containing the current’s flow. Could that be a torrent of fluorescent ectoplasm combed clean by the bones of skeletal fish? Sure, if you like. I can certainly imagine Ian’s kit producing a cool, flickering, ghostly green light:
Brian: err… is that supposed to be happening?
Ian: mate, it isn’t even plugged in! Perhaps we should leave the room…
Brian: press ‘record’ first though.
Ian: oh yeah, of course, NOW RUN!
…but what this called to mind for me were happy times I’d spent as a teenager staring at a lump of dirty metal.
One of my first jobs was operating a solder bath in a factory that manufactured printed circuit boards. Boards were loaded onto a conveyor belt, subjected to a terrifying liquid that cleaned the copper (so corrosive that I dropped two pence coins into it to see the queen’s face dissolve), covered in slime to help the solder stick, hung on a hook by me, dunked into a bath of liquid metal about three feet deep, blasted with air blades on the way back up, then placed on another conveyor belt. Repeat for eight or nine hours with frequent breaks to sit on chemical drums outside and smoke cigarettes.
On Fridays we would be paid in cash in little brown envelopes around 11am. At lunchtime I’d race to the nearest pub, drink as much as possible, smoke a spliff on the way back and spend the afternoon cleaning this machine – heated to 250 degrees centigrade – in my shirtsleeves because, y’know, it was too fucking hot for overalls and a certain amount of scar tissue looks manly and suggests character doesn’t it? The spray and overflow of hot solder dripped down into the guts of the machine and coagulated there into something magical.
This mass of waste solder – the size and shape of a child’s torso, almost too heavy to carry – was a mesmerising landscape of clustered globules, of organic micro-castles blistered with irregular crenellations, of needle sharp, filigree wire work. All glistening a muddied silver, hopelessly polluted with the scorched scum that boiled from the boards as they were dunked. These random accumulations of melted metal remain some of the most beautiful objects I have ever seen, even accounting for how stoned I was at the time. Something about this album took me back to that sight and that made me very happy.
Messrs. Sanders & Watson – Cumulative Undulations
Also available from a neighbouring stable is this two hour long, two track, two CD-r set, by two collaborators: Mr. Ian Watson (as above) and Mr. Kevin Sanders (see below).
Imagine a large ruined house in a forest, swamped in ivy – each luscious leaf as deep green as cooked spinach, as shiny as patent leather. Now imagine the root severed and the gradual death of the above ground plant, its draining vitality and increasing brittleness. A high quality digital camera is making a time lapse film of this process. Once complete the memory card is removed and Kev and Ian bath it in a a cool, flickering, ghostly green light. This ‘develops the film’ with an occult power that reveals the usually invisible creatures of woodland folklore that live around the ruin: dryads, fairies, elves, horrifying, robotic horseshoe crabs, their scrabbling legs the stuff of nightmares, their carapaces as black as a dominatrix’s whip, and so on. Now play the film in reverse and compose a soundtrack to it using just rust and magnets.