fub stumps: joe murray and luke vollar on fritz welch

August 17, 2015 at 11:13 am | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Fritz Welch – Nothing to offer (tape, Singing Knives, SK024)

Fritz Welch tape for RFM

[Editor’s note: both Joe and Luke got hold of pre-release copies of this tape and decided, independently of each other, that this glorious racket needed documenting.  As each account is brief and rigorous (fast and bulbous?) I decided to publish the pair.  Any investigative journalists suspicious that this positivity may be enhanced by Joe and Jon Marshall of Singing Knives being in cahoots can cool it. ‘Conflict of interest’ means fuck all ‘down’ here in the no-audience underground.  If we don’t blow our own trumpets, who will?]

Joe:

In our end of Newcastle there’s a special dance we do to welcome a drummer’s solo album up the hill, past the motorcycle shops and down Westgate Road; sort of a step-slide-shuffle (with a Richard III lurch) to pay homage to one of our favourite sub-genres.

Fritz Welch, noted drummer, vocal jaxx-man, pen-artist and collaborator beds down in an Italian Synagogue to deliver a super-tight drum performance par excellence.  While many a stick man takes the blank canvas as a licence to bada-boom-bada-bing all over the shop (and there’s nothing wrong with that) Fritz is playing a longer game by introducing metallic scrape, sarcastic hooting, chain rattle and bomb-like membranous explosions to the un-named affair.  Taken as a whole 20 minute piece this percussive interference has as much in common with the movie soundtrack than non-idiomatic improv.

Tension builds as the creature rattles the rusty shackles pinning him to the dungeon wall.  Overpowering the guard with a single blow to his unguarded temple he unhitches the ornate key and ancient locks squeal open.  Slowly, menacingly he lopes up the stairs, each heavy foot plodding with violent purpose on the worn stone steps.  Finding the master aslumber he wraps stubby fingers round the exposed pale throat and grins through a ruined mouth as the life hisses out of his pampered tormentor.

The soft-lob of the drum warms my cockles and melts my shoulder-knots like cheap butter in the sun.  Black Yoga?

Side two is recorded in a cleansing sauna and as sharp as a hit of authentic kimchi.  Fritz is a huffing and puffing (even pulling off a Rat Pack croon) as slaps are administered to assembled red arse-cheeks.

The soft mechanics (neurons firing, brain fizzing like sherbet) that take place between manicured fingers and groomed gob-hole make the percussive clatter fit oh-so neatly into spluttering mouth-jaxx splatter.

We take it for granted that kidneys, liver and spleen go about their business unnoticed, just efficiently chugging away 24/7.  But here the improvisation gland has been tweaked with spice until it fucking glows; spurting out hot routines, classic scrape n’ pop and the close-ear hiss that make this a gloriously inclusive listen.

Scratchy, scratchiness,

Fritz speaks deeply.

Indeed,

we all cry doing the Richard, dragging our legs so feet twist into miniature snow shovels.  Damn!

Luke:

Percussion side: Our man does some brain boom bap interface of the more subtle and measured variety, using the space to illuminate his initially hesitant probing of the kit.  A sudden ‘kaboom!!’ jumps out of the silence and has me worrying about giving the kids nightmares.  No need for sweat bands or constipated gurning – let’s see which bit does what, yes? There are brief flurries of rapitty rap which soon get discarded for epiglottal pivotal fumbles in the back seat.  Brave for a first date?  Undoubtedly.

Vocal side: Close up recording with none of the cavernous reverb from the previous side. There is percussion of some sort, pretty hep dragging and cranking noises that Fritz drools over with slobbering fub stumps, creaking a rainbow in the damn sediment. Soft murmers like a love sick vessel calling for me (swims out to sea in moonlight).

—ooOoo—

Singing Knives

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