disinfectant: wrest, culver, joined by wire

April 21, 2016 at 8:22 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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wrest – dark green (tape, Matching Head, mh212)

Culver – Seven Eyes (3” CD-r in DVD jewel case, self-released)

Culver – It Bleeds (CD-r, Inyrdisk, iyd126, edition of 30)

Joined By Wire – Two Thousand & Fifteen (self-released download)

wrest - dark green

Recent experience settles in drifts, in piles – like folded blankets in a cupboard, like books angled into inadequate shelving.  It fills space, imperfectly.

Some is good: the chocolate buzz of my son Thomas’s third birthday celebrations, the marathon runner’s pride felt when my wife Anne’s hard earned promotion was confirmed.  Some is tough: a journey diagonally down and to the West for the funeral of my Grandmother.  No tragedy: she died aged 96, in her sleep, well looked after.  On the train back up I stared at sodden countryside and thought about what I’d heard.

Imagine a little girl, the legs of her bed sat in jam jars full of disinfectant.  A forlorn attempt to stop creatures crawling up into the mattress.  Imagine sleeping with that smell, imagine rinsing out the drowned and poisoned in the morning.

Details like that lead me to reassess what is ‘consequential’.  Aside from my family and my health (to which it seems inextricably linked) my relationship with fringe music is the most important thing in my life.  Yet the numbers are statistically indistinguishable from zero: 20 people came to the show, 40 people bought a tape, 80 people read a blog post.  Almost literally no-one cares but despite this – and because of it – when the pilot light is extinguished it can be really fucking hard to get it going again.  I press the boiler’s red button and panic because all I can hear is the hiss of gas and the impotent tang, tang, tang of the ignition mechanism.

Nothing for it is there?  The only choice is to chuck everything off the single bed onto the floor (that isn’t another metaphor – the tape deck is in the spare room), open the window and start with something reliable.  I wonder what Stokoe is up to?

—ooOoo—

wrestdark green

You can’t blame me for being surprised – I’d assumed that this shortish, single sided offering from Jamie Wrest on Lee Stokoe’s ever-reliable Matching Head tape label would be balls-out noise-metal of a North-Eastern variety.  It’s not.  Instead we hear a recording of a rainstorm outside accompanied by a simple, evocative, melancholy guitar and… that’s it.  I was moved.

Imagine standing in the kitchen of an elderly relative – it’s curling up at the edges, it smells of its corners.  In the back garden is an overgrown castor oil plant, its leaves a brilliant dark green in the rain.  As your relative – half the size he used to be, hands shaking, absolutely delighted to see you – pours two mugs of tea you remember digging the hole for that plant with him when you were a child.  You take your tea and turn back to the window so he can’t see you crying.

Aye, thanks,

you say,

I’ll be with you in a minute, you go sit down.

culver - seven eyes cover

Culver – Seven Eyes, It Bleeds

To Lee himself.  Seven Eyes appears not (at the time of writing) to be ‘officially’ released but rather is being distributed under the counter to those addicted to his particular brand of Mugwump juice.  Submit yourself to the same humiliating rituals that Scott McKeating and I have done and maybe you’ll get on the list.  It runs to 22 minutes or so, is indistinguishable from previous offerings to all but the most attentive acolyte, and is completely obliterating.  This rumbling conflagration cancels thought – its bloody-minded nihilism makes any kind of higher function irrelevant.  To comment further would be like engaging in polite philosophical discussion whilst attempting to escape the choking smoke of a factory fire.

culver - seven eyes inner

It Bleeds, released on CD-r in a tiny edition by the excellent Inyrdisk (I’ll say nowt about the cover art.  My prudishness at Lee’s prurience is well documented and he clearly doesn’t give a shit anyway), runs to around 37 minutes in two parts.  The first follows a typical Culveresque structure: contemplative intro swallowed by entropy, lengthy panic-inducing roar, initial theme resurfacing drained by the experience.  It is a time-lapse film of an abandoned, decaying cabin in the woods, played in reverse until it almost appears habitable again.  The dried blood on the axe left on the porch deliquesces, glistens.  The second part is harder, brittle.  ‘Melancholy’ isn’t a strong enough word to describe the vibe – here we have someone wet-eyed, jaw-clenched, about to make a tough decision as they listen to their neighbours play black metal at abusive volume and police helicopters throb low overhead.

Yeah, compelling stuff.  Now what else is there on the review pile?

jbw2015

Joined By Wire – Two Thousand & Fifteen

Ah, Stephen Woolley’s Joined By Wire (or ‘joined by wire’, or ‘joinedbywire’, or ‘JBW’ depending on typographical whim) project has always been a favourite nephew here at RFM. Albeit it an emotionally intense nephew with a worrying glue habit. Stephen himself may be as calm as a zen cow of course, but this racket brings to mind the mutant stepchild of Ashtray Navigations and a fax machine, fidgeting at dinner all moon-eyed and gabbling about how green the peas are. Here’s an extract from the notes accompanying this release:

./You (sing.) survival or caution or ghost house Mr Robot brains 100% on off. On Monday reach a peak of the highest level of the lowest level of between … and … to …, two million warning warning, you are here. 1 2 3 4 5 6 I’m sorry, I’m sorry, but, We can’t. CALL 0800-MAGIC PORTAL. Great Galaxalaxies, immense as the space through “light-years” stop this way 15 000 000 15 million million tons Pulsed light ellipse intense. Default energy x Actual energy JxBxW -re -length zzz soft places our solar system. The central plane of the galaxy, the myriads of stars, vast formations of cosmic dust, Ace ace I use the power and authority I have to make others comply, y My enthusiasm is contagious 49 00,59,01 duet turbine-harp cooool. Our solar system is somewhere here. Road captain X riders 1% riders biker Take some!!! Yes Touch Here view even if I told you I can’t see anything here No Touch Here RRRR 1000 1000 TRAX trax…

Bracing stuff, eh? Anyway, 2015 is an album of two halves. The first six months are full-on thug-psych, a gloriously exuberant over-clocked riot and possibly the noisiest JBW so far recorded. Percussive elements hidden under piles of splintered mirror suggest that these were once songs, now shredded beyond recognition by Cenobites driving agricultural machinery. The second six months are a change of pace. I raised an eyebrow at the relatively sedate ‘Midsomer Titan’ but soon swooned over its epic scope and irresistible charm. I listened sitting on a bench, back against a cool stone wall, sunglasses on and challenged myself to remain absolutely still and do nothing but watch the clouds and absorb every detail of these liquid fireworks.

What a privilege, I thought, as the pilot light in my head relit with a satisfying ptouf.

—ooOoo—

Matching Head (no official online presence, contact details via Discogs)

Inyrdisk

Joined By Wire

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