stretch out the ermine: joe murray on dan melchior, arturas bumsteinas, bas van huizen, jake blanchard

June 29, 2016 at 1:01 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Dan Melchior – Seaslime (CD-r, Chocolate Monk, choc.336)

Arturas Bumsteinas – Organ Safari Lituanica (CD, Intonema, int019, edition of 200)

Bas van Huizen – Waanzintraan (CD, Moving Furniture Records, MFR032, edition of 200)

Jake Blanchard – Shade (lathe-cut vinyl, Was Ist Das? / Tor Press, first edition of 30, second edition of 20 or download)

seaslime

Dan Melchior – Seaslime

Total goose-work and tape-munch.

In parts, it’s throbbing synth and cut-ups that are, in the best possible way, all over the fucking shop.  Grunt speech gets all wrapped and folded so the vowels come out backwards/sideways.  There’s some nice radio interference and guitar (?) played with cheesy feet.  Nuf said?

But the main thread seems to be ‘no thread’; logic takes a holiday and the unconscious mind takes over.  Dan talks of…

the ebb, flow and convergence of sound/noise/information that the human receptor experiences when passing through the urban (specifically) grotto

OK… I’ll take that signpost and waltz merrily through this bohemian neighbourhood.

It’s dandy of course with ripe colours and complex shapes vying for my mallow eyes.   But what I like most is the low-moaning-multiple-vocal-drone that peppers this steak and opens ‘Seaslime Part Two’.  Thick slices of

ohhhh

and

ahhhh

are piled high.  Conjure up a trio of backing singers on mogs trying to drown out Tin Turna or one of them turkeys.  Got it?  That’s wor Dan!

Not so much the dainty Faberge egg; more a Kinder Surprise stuffed with psychic confusions.

arturas

Arturas Bumsteinas – Organ Safari Lituanica

Three wonderfully rambling organ recordings that wander between full-blown religious ecstasy and porridge-fingered fumbles.

Previously it was Ligeti’s Volumina that set my personal benchmark for Organ-oddity.  I’m no organ aficionado, see, so I have to rely on the helpful sleeve notes to read that these haunting recordings are captured, field recording style, in a variety of Lithuanian locations.

But this doesn’t seem to be an act of UNESCO-sanctioned preservation.  It sounds more like, with the greatest respect, a group of goofs (like me… like you) getting their grotty mittens on the thick ivories and making up gaseous routines just for the jaxx of it.

It’s a truly glorious, immersive event.  At times I feel Arturas’ hand gently twisting in a shadow of reverb but mostly it’s the overlaying of short lyrical pieces played on variety of organs to create a much longer whole.

So, from steam powered fairground calliope to massive church-lungs; from street corner grinder to experimental pipe deconstruction my cloth ears are picking up ‘in the moment’ experiments and cul-de-sacs.  You’ll get a straight run at one idea (forearms on upper keyboard) single note squeals on the lower or a finger-jarring arpeggio; then deep boom and lyrical honk – the sustained drones with one hand and spidery exploration with the other.  At points the tones are working against each other howling at the edge of the wind, coupled with tiny metallic bells.

Lovely though this breathy miasma is you’d be right in asking,

Wot… just blessed organ jaxx for over an hour?  Count me out fella!

But what you’d be missing is the ‘lostness’ the feeling of being tossed into a sea of huff, powerless in the current.  Not to get too hot in these shimmering pages but it’s a submissive act of listening that I’m riffing on right now.

And… as an extra bonus fondle there’s an exquisite hiss and click to these recordings.  Frenzied organ-ing comes with the occasionally ‘clunk’ of a dropped prayer book or rubber plimsoll squeak; the cluttering mechanics of pulleys and foot pedals that make a brittle accompaniment.

There’s a story about Cecil Taylor (or Sunny Murray or Ornette Coleman) where some guy asks him to sit in on the bass during a smoky after-hours jam.  The dude says,

I don’t play bass, man

which is exactly the right approach when dealing with a jazz-colossus.  Yeah…compared to you I don’t ‘play’ anything.  But this was not just a cautious piece of self-depreciation.  The guy couldn’t play a note and bent Cecil/Sunny/Ornette’s form and chops up like a crushed stubbie.  Like Cecil/Sunny/Ornette said, this cat tested him in ways none of the ways a schooled player would [Editor’s note: yeah, this story sounds familiar – anyone got a citation?].

Listening to this ghostly honk is testing my improv-worn ears in the same way!

bas

Bas Van Huizen – Waanzintraan

My good gosh!  I’ve not heard a racket like this for years.  Never a clubber I took my rave-powders seated in a comfortable armchair, headphones on, twisting my DNA to Autechre and the like.

It seems like so long ago but Bas Van Huizen transported me back to that armchair (long since unstuffed and burned for firewood!) as quick as a wink.

Not saying this apes any of those hollow-cheeked rascals with their granular glitch.  But this has that similar heady rush, like a powerful jet of silicon/seawater mix, spraying over the dancefloor in a weighty arc and into the ruined back street behind the club.  It’s littered with rusty junk and piles of broken brick and that’s just fine by me.

These excursions are uneven in length adding further angularity.  You’ve just got your head round something like ‘Jichtjager’ (explosive contact-mics swimming in restaurant grease. I’m busting sick moves (in my head) as each concussive bolt whacks my ear drum) or ‘Stoppermot’ (smeared orchestra pit confined to petri dish, each bacterial horn and violin grows mutated limbs to blow and bow in erratic timings) when another jam comes along and buffers your fluffer.

Take ‘Veldverachter’ for example… the sonic equivalent of ripping off a manky plaster, bath-moulded to your ankle. Ouch!

The longer pieces (our title track for instance) are no place for napping though as ideas are burned through at dizzying speed.  Channelling my inner-Goolden I’m getting, iron ravens sarcastic caw-caw, the static fizz of turned milk and clouds alive with electric shrimp.  But the extra time gives Bas a chance to stretch out the ermine and get fucking regal man.  Opening credits of Blade Runner regal.

To put it another way this is the rice-shaped sliver of the Venn diagram where intense pressure meets slick humidity.

So get boiled brothers & sisters.

shade

Jake Blanchard – Shade

Watch out lightweights, there’s super-heavy intention on these five tunes.

Multi-talented Jake’s colourful designs have graced poster, book, beer bottle and even a skateboard or two.  But today the easel is packed down and beret thrown to one side as a musical outing is on the agenda.

Things start with the lengthy reed-breath-piece ‘Submerged’, all Conrad-esque drone shimmering like celestial orbs, gravity surfing in warp space.

‘Unmarked’ mimics Rodger Daltry’s speed-mod stutter with some chopped ‘thug guitar’ and gritty slide all taking off into the hard desert sky.  But despite the groaning blues this is truly music to build magnificent pyramids to.

Wobble-out a Saz vibe as ‘Pollination’ meshes several Middle Eastern cultures and runs them through a Copycat (or something) to create a wet-lipped smacking and the kind of unhinged fretboard gymnastics Richard Bishop would highlight in orange marker pen as Rem-fucking-betika.

This Greek 3rd Man theme continues on spy-thriller ‘Ill Advised’, kooky-keys rattle among plates of fresh octopus and we get brought back, full circle for ‘Stoney Nova’, a drone piece as soul-mirror.  Ghostly reflections make a flat glassy image repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, re peat, repea  t, re  pe at, repe   at, re peat, r epeat, rep eat, repea     t, rep   eat, r ep  eat, r e  p   ea   t, re     p       ea     t, r   e   p    e    a    t,            r       e          p             e                 a                    t                                                  and        r                                            e                                                 p                                                                    e

—ooOoo—

Chocolate Monk

Intonema

Moving Furniture Records

Jake Blanchard via Tor Press

Jake Blanchard via Bandcamp

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