quoll noses: chrissie caulfield on furchickMay 17, 2016 at 11:49 am | Posted in new music, no audience underground | 2 Comments
Tags: chrissie caulfield, dog park, furchick
Furchick – Trouble with a capital T (download, dog park records)
Sorry for not having written anything for a while, lately I’ve been generally under-enthused by the experimental scene for all sorts of reasons. I have been searching for new music of course, but what I found was either too ‘mainstream’ for this blog or I didn’t really enjoy enough to write about it.
Then the opening track of Furchick’s album Trouble with a Capital T leapt out at me almost instantly as something I could engage with and that I think will interest you, our dear readers.
That opening track, ‘March of the feathered friends’, is built on the rhythms of some piece of machinery I’m not even going to guess the identity of. It’s alternately insistent and broken up and surrounded by drones that waver in and out. There is clanking and rattling aplenty here and I want to believe that it’s not been cut up – that this is the actual sound that the machine makes, but it’s probably not the case. Either way it’s a lovely way into an album that takes field recordings of strange things and makes them even stranger. I like to think that the machines sampled on the album are strange antipodean devices made from wombat droppings and quoll noses, but I suspect that Australian technology is pretty similar to ours. Only upside down, of course.
It’s not all machinery though, ‘Trev dog sings for carrots’ is just what it says it is. Samples of a dog asking for food, all fed through sumptuous layers of delay and pitch shifting. I’m a cat person, and even I think this is wonderful. You can hear the creature being abetted (or possibly taunted, though I hope not) by sundry humans in the recording too. Do dogs eat carrots though? I thought that was horses. Dogs eat … err … dog food or something, I thought. Anyway if you think that nearly four minutes of delayed dog noises is not your thing (though I’d argue you’d be wrong) then ‘Swift does a quick shit’ is a brisk eight seconds. I have no idea who Swift is but I congratulate them on their speedy evacuation – eight seconds is really not even enough time to read the letters page in Private Eye. In actual fact this is just 8 seconds of a warble, but it’s quite a fun interlude before the next track.
Having recently been on the receiving end of quite a bit of dental work I was apprehensive about ‘Hang out with wires – Prod. Dental Drill Bit’, but luckily there is no familiar zizzing of modern dental drills to be heard here, just squeaking and clanking of what I hope is much larger equipment. If this really is a dental drill bit then I pray that it’s processed a hell of a lot or we could be into serious medical malpractice territory. Oral concerns aside this is a fabulous track of insistent squeaking, processed with delays, reverses and groaning – actually in retrospect the groaning is probably the patient saying
This track does still worry me, I think I’m going to pretend it was recorded in the middle ages.
Most of the tracks here are around or less than ‘song’ length and deal primarily with a single idea or sound so I was initially a little concerned that the last track ‘Hammering and sawing to drown out punk drunks’ was a shade over 19 minutes and might overstay its welcome. But worry not, it’s great! I actually went right back to hear it all again when it first finished. As with ‘Trev dog…’, what you get is what you are told you’re going to get, but the variety of of hammering and sawing noises and the reluctance of the punk drunks to be drowned out makes it a highly entertaining nearly twenty minutes. It’s also quite funky as the hammering is very rhythmic and keeps the whole thing moving. When the chanting comes in around a third of the way in along with boingy springy noises it feels a little like an Aussie version of African drum music and the whole thing reminds me of one of those shaggy dog stories where you follow every insignificant twist and turn of the plot with eager anticipation. Those of you with a more visual bent than me will, I’m sure, be seeing the scene in their mind’s eye for ages afterwards. It’s quite appropriate that it ends in applause, I wanted to stand up and applaud when it had finished myself.
As you can tell, the titles on this album are exquisite and, unlike a lot of Post Rock band albums, they do seem to have some relation to the actual sounds used in the making of the track – though I can’t be exactly sure how sometimes. ‘Bird machines #3’ could either be machinery noises made from bird samples (which are also in evidence on this track) or recordings of some infernal ‘Bird Machine’ whatever that might be. I have visions of a steampunk flying machine powered by chickens, which would be ridiculously inefficient but probably tremendously entertaining to watch. You get the feeling for this around 3 minutes into the track where the machine seems to grind to, well not quite a halt but certainly some serious damage is being done to the mechanism. Maybe one of the chickens fell into it.
In short, I have no idea what’s going on on most of Furchick’s latest album, and that’s half of the pleasure. It’s full of the half-familiar mangled into a wonderful world that is all her own, a surrealist painting in sound.