a frame to mark the edges: joe murray on akke phallus duo, pascal nichols, thf drenching, human heads

October 2, 2015 at 1:34 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Akke Phallus Duo – An Insatiable Demand for Tea (Devastation Wreaked By) (tape, tanzprocesz, tzpCS44)

Pascal Nichols and THF Drenching – Moth of Spring (self-released download)

Human Heads – Triggers (tape, tanzprocesz, tzpCS43)

tzpCS44

Akke Phallus Duo – An Insatiable Demand for Tea (Devastation Wreaked By)

Insomnia is curdling my body’s precious fluids.  Beaten down by sleep deprivation I get up out of bed and unwrap another glorious release from the Akke Phallus Duo: equal parts Jon Marshall (Nose/Gracchus/Bull/Thumbs) and Ben Morris (Lost-Chora-Wax).  It’s 3.00 am and I know sleep will only coquettishly tease me from now on so I screw ear-buds into my swollen canals and clear my sinus of thick glotts.  My mind flits back and forth between dull domestics and high-art theorising.  This might be a bumpy ride…

A quick note on construction for all you lab techs: these taped sounds were sent between mainland China and hilly Sheffield and back again (and back again) in a game of reverse ‘pass-the-parcel’.  Stamps were soaped for sure as each skronk and hum is carefully folded numerous times around the seed of a zesty idea.

If you’re thinking thin tissue paper scrunched around pebbles and smeared with goose fat – you are totally right!

But beware.  This is no, ’chuck it all in and see what sticks’ meta-collage but a painterly seascape with a steady hand, an eye for colour and bold, manly texture.  As food seems to be a reference for these chaps it’s time to take those elbows off the table.  But what’s first on the menu? Why it’s delicious, ‘Black Plum and Vinegar Blues’, sour as umeboshi but not bitter at all.

The themes that emerged in my sleep-damaged skull included the slo-mo creak of a giant clam opening.  Sea-moss ripping; organic tendrils snapping under intense pressure.  A gush of stagnant, foul water jettisoned.  The gibber of the tiny idiotfish aid the greasy comedown.

I soon realize that headphones are a must here as the dead hippie electronics take more a central role than in any of the other Akke Phallus jams I have heard before.

These irregular instruments (sampler, keyboards, cassette, throat trampoline and contact mic) perform a cyber-blues, a hillbilly Dalek jug-band hootenanny.  The crackle of transistors and resistors smashes the digital and becomes fleshy fibres.  Components get all melted down into source code corruption.

A case in point is ‘tide-sluiced soup’, which comprises a gradual distillation process refining sound to form little more than pure thought.  Imagine a robot’s mind collapsing due to a paradox in Asimov’s three rules of robotics.  That’s it!  White lubricant dribbling out an ‘ear’ completes the picture.

The thigh bone honk and demented wooden clonk of ‘Kendal Black Drop’ echoes the stark bleakness of the Lake District in freezing hail.  Picture the loneliness of the solitary cairn, the dry fellowship of rounded rocks.

In the war of organic versus inorganic, flesh becomes rigid steel and metal spreads as soft as butter.  The Akke men have leapt the wormhole with this one and beamed back an acoustic postcard from someone’s future.

You just gotta hold out hope it’s ours.

moth of spring

Pascal Nichols and THF Drenching – Moth of Spring

Recently Drenching’s ‘gone and done an Aphex’ and stuck butt-loads of his old stuff on Bandcamp for us cheapskates to check out, fondle and coo over.  The ever generous Drenno has slid a cheeky newbie in here too.  Chocks away.

Each finger-pop, tapebox ‘click’ and salty-contact crackle from ‘Moth of Spring’ is captured in voodoo fidelity on this exercise in extreme micro-sound.  THF is joined by the one and only Pascal Nichols, part-wild drummist of choice for the ‘FUH’ generation who leaves his sticks in his back pocket to concentrate on microphone and objects.  DRNCHNG’s Dictaphone hub-bub rings clear and true.

Gosh… these are frazzled jams, bubbling like claret-red blood through a vein.   They come in three moth-like servings (studio/live/studio) with the constant rattle of a true-born fidget.  It’s dry as a cracker, brittle even in parts, reminding me that fine delicacy is often created from industrial process: Nottingham Lace or Brandy Snaps being useful examples. Whatever the manufacturing formula, the powerful arms of these rhythm men crochet a fine mesh of mauve meaning.

Balance and structure become calibration points, a measurement on one axis correlates to the other plotting a classic bell curve.  For some reason this brings to mind Cornell’s cluttered boxes as a type of neatness and hobo-logic emerges from the bristly chaos.

At other times I pick up the clean, fresh sound of ball bearings scooting round a copper bowl, a perfect sauce to the cultish moaning that adds the gravel of despair to an otherwise joyous occasion.

The live piece, full of iron rich canker and grot is removed through one layer of experience.  I found myself sitting up in bed, leaning forward slightly to help approximate the O2 hit of seeing this flesh-like.  The rattle is moister and burps gas in places.

Nichols and Drenching buckle the Jazz convention – when a piece is realised live, before an audience, you speed that mother up, all the better to show off them greasy chops no doubt.  These jokers carefully create a musty lagoon to paddle your ears in.  It’s a damn sludge workout man!  Can I say Stoner Rock?  Oops… just done it.  Imagine them Electric Wizards hunkered over Dictaphones and table electronics, beards bristling, hair flying.  But these moth-riffs are loose to the point of disintegration.  The great heaviness of hiss and extended drones pile on the pressure until it is bathysphere tight.

THC Drenching & Redeye Nichols: the sweet relief of not getting picked for the football team.

tzpCS43

Human Heads – Triggers

Welcome to the gentle world of Human Heads where ‘barely a whisper’ pillow-talks onto your hot cheek making your ears sing like a high-tension cable.  The keys (mainly played by Hannah Ellul) bump low and slow, relaxed and poised.  The voices (mainly chanted by Ben Knight) plumb a negative zone of reality, a psychedelic domestic where Lambkin spikes Pebble Mill with beige Mandelbrot.

Found sound, this collage of transmission spoons tiny verbal details, a patchy dog for instance, until a brittle beat gets all the d.i.s.c.o deliberately scooped out.  With the euphoria removed we’re left with a gritty dancefloor and bleak escapism – hell to live with but delicious to observe.

The sellotape ripping over kettle whistles mimics the lonely sound of wandering from room to room forgetting what you came in for.  Mind-wipe as chart position strategy versus untranslatable vocoder raps?

Boom… you had me at the first manipulated language tape.

Extended field recordings kick off side B.  And rather than drop a geographical anchor (even though we are pointed quite squarely at Munich) the sense of place drifts, it smears itself across the map dislocating from regular reference points.  The ‘hish’ of smooth concrete floors is dusty as the afternoon sun.

Some of the text here is appropriated from a similar place to the UNSMOOTHMAKING.  New rhymes and anti-rhymes, fresh as new minimalism, are fetched up.  Like those Young Marble Giants the Human Heads take space and place it carefully like white paint, a border, a frame to contain the action.  For what is life without a frame to mark the edges?

Well reader, I’m spent.  I’ve got to turn in for the fag-end of the night but one last Sherlock explodes in my head-pan.  Five of these six artists dwelling within these projects are Manchester based.  Well fancy that, it’s like that Roses/Mondays jiggery all over again.  Yet I’ll wager no one called Drenching baggy recently!

Double dare you.

—ooOoo—

tanzprocesz

THF Drenching

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