the science of dropping things: joe murray on 23 minutes, mudguts, hardworking families

October 18, 2016 at 1:17 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Various Artists – 23 Minutes – 23 Tracks – 23 Artists (3″ CD-r, Eastville Vending, edition of 60 or download)

Mudguts – Locque Atmir Kodai (3″ CD-r, Bells Hill, BH 013, edition of 30)

Hardworking Families – BA/LS/BN (CD-r, Beartown Records, edition of 50)

23

Various Artists – 23 Minutes – 23 Tracks – 23 Artists

How I love a micro-compilation.  Those labours of love that gather together large numbers of wonky artists and put them in a restrictive jacket.  They say,

Do your thing… but keep it quick.

Of course this is excellent advice – the forethought and discipline creating a series of unrelated but often complimentary micro-moments coughing and spluttering outta your earbuds.

As ever there is a bit of personal history here.  Homemade Grindcore tape-trades and the RRR-500 locked-groove monster (with its 500 individual artists) first alerted me to this fascinating stubby-nub of the ‘various artists’ family tree.  Then I found the slightly more breathy Martin Archer Network series with over 100 people playing short pieces over two discs.  More recently Sindre Bjerga took up the mantle with his Gold Soundz compilation of 99 international-gonks on the marvelous and irreverent Pissing in the Wind.

But this time the seed was planted by one Neil Campbell to use up all those old 3 inch CD-Rs out there.  He reckons 23 minutes is around the maximum amount of music you can cram on one of these little silver discs so 23 x 1 minute pieces makes perfect sense.  The Marketing and Research branch of the Eastville Vending Corporation agreed and ‘ta-dah!’ – a new micro-comp is born.

You can slice these things several ways but my favourite tactic is to dive straight in and dig this as a single piece; an ever-changing narrative of moods and themes.  Then I realise that it is actually presented as a single 23 min piece so that does help things somewhat and I settle back and l.i.s.t.e.n.

So, where did my 23 minute journey take me?

Laica – Electric dodgems collapse into magnetic tessellations // Kemper Norton – brass rubbing slowed down via architectural trauma // Concrete_Field – watching a séance from inside a wax piano // Revbjelde – slopped balloons, dry spaghetti cracks // Band of Holy Joy – machine code dirty-talk between distant servers // Farmer Glitch – scary news ident // Howlround – confessions from the bristles of a shoe-shine machine // Neil Campbell – the science of dropping things at various angles // Gusset – answerphone message melancholicx – the stilted delivery making this one of the 21st Century’s saddest sounds // IX Tab – no pussyfooting with high-vis jackets // Noise Research Institute – bumplestiltskin – hands in the air! // Runningonair – public enema dub : surprisingly relaxing // Graham Dunning – radiates as multi-coloured auras // Ekoplekz – “A rare moment of calm. The bombs fall on the Eastern District so all I can see is dust.” // Elisabeth Veldon – loop-tronics raid Esquivel to bring a new clarity to damp cardboard // Decadnids – serious bowed-metal-sax reverberations  border on the erotic // Xylitol – a clear autumn morning, alone in Kendal // Robin Foster – selective tones filtered by sympathetic shimmering feedback // Foldhead – mighty & dark theatrics // FM3V – chestnut seller hacks oven to play Bollywood themes // Tim Hill – tanned seabirds rejoice the new birth // Assembled Minds – I dropped my water pistol down an echo chamber (smeared surprise coda) // Sarah Angliss – Twins joint memories? Phantom limb pluck and solemn-compression electronics.

mudgutslak

Mudguts – Locque Atmir Kodai

The original Death Eater musik – as banned from the Slytherin Common Room!

Bilious clouds of distemper billow from his holiness Lee Culver and are muddied further by dark mistral Scott McKeating… that’s how Mudguts roll.  True believers take note – this cheeky 3 inch is a semi-official offering so even more occluded and forbidden than it’s dark predecessor.*

This disc gets down to business straight away so there is no reason for me not to either.

‘Widowvine’ crashed through a cloud of bad intention and night tremors to become a meditative prescription of bitter herbs and rancid smoke.  Parts are reversed Santana, parts are bar room pre-brawl.  As a map of psychic disturbances this marks the truly terrifying blank spots with an inky smear.

A one minute masterpiece ‘Split Gorgon’ re-lives the dispiriting experience of tuning into another person’s dream.  It’s all falling, falling, falling until the brain juice squirts a different solution and you find yourself becoming Leonard Cohen (or something).  Then ‘snap’ it’s over and you are awake.

Then finally, with the most evocative track title of the year, ‘First my Body, Now my Corpse’ sparkles and shudders with an almost glam-rock brightness.  But this spotlight is so harsh and revealing it blisters the skin and cooks soft rubbery eyes.  At times I’m minded of that Sonic Boom fella if he dug the Darkthrone.  But soon enough I shake my head hard enough for them scales to fall from my peepers and I realise I’m on my knees… Mudguts glory has laid waste to my corner of civilisation and rags and half bricks are all that remains.

Phew!  You dig it?

*What I’m saying is hit up Scott for a copy at the Bells Hill address!

hwf

Hardworking Families – BA/LS/BN

HWF approaches this record in pieces: abstracted sauces, performance as code, gristle, electronic manipulation and tape glitch. Forgive me.  I’m gunna gush, but Tom (HWF) Bench is a master of the thought and edit school for sure.

This release solves sound problems like a damn dancer would; the old soft-shoe shuffle provides texture while clean accuracy is rustled from the percussive rudiments of tap.  All built on sexy muscles the accents are a silvery jet that slips between ear and frames.

This is what I hear…

  • Glutch & fromer! A displaced chord organ melts into black-flecked slush.  The distant whooping crane places his beak into the shellac grooves on the Victrola.
  • “Buff-uddle.” Microphone shuggle in a hair shirt. Constant motion gaffs like an okra bud over Velcro. The hobo orchestra ‘thwack’ old tins and wrestle an egg-slicer back and forth.  The ripple of thin metal dances right in my forehead – things coalesce – merge – re-form into steps cut out of bright paper – Matisse becomes instruction.  The code is to be cracked but a fair advantage is favoured on the light of ankle.  Un-led rhythms shuffle out of this desert storm, moving against each other like lovers, all slither and explore.  Tin & rin & rin & tin & tin pop-out plastic eardrums to faint electro influences?  The gradual sigh of a bus coming to rest and opening up the wheelchair ramp.   Dry energy – like plunging your hand into a bag of uncooked rice – each grain perfect, each cousin similar but individual.  Wheat echoes; a fork balances, it’s twines interlaced with a spoon’s surly lip.
  • Buttons of rubber depressed by pudgy fingers. They sing in harmonies un-dreamt by Clive Sinclair – each mercurial tone a slack-arsed fart. The washer vibe snips out via polo mint.
  • Wooden planks mumble as heavy hands slap until they find a resonant pitch/probing fingers dislodge the lid and keys (the white teeth of shame) are slackened with a tone-wrench/the taught strings are teased and top and sides rubbed with soft beads/a variety of fidelities, each proper in it’s own dissonance becomes partially embedded so rich echo-parlour switches between hi-fi buff and pre-teen noise goofball. I read Miles’ BIG FUN was cobbled together outta oddments.  Tom takes a similar stance but each floor-cutting here is as wonderful as an unexpected smooch.
  • The opening salvo of dysentery bombs that smoke over the battlefield! It clogs hair and exposed pores – the Angel of Mons offers scant sanctuary.
  • An ice-cream headache from Steve Albini’s brow. THAT THE THINK guitar sound shredded through electric fan in a pissing bad mood.  Shaking frozen peas out of a Tupperware box, drilling holes into broken glass.  Or, if you’d prefer, the barista’s revenge – hot milk battered through dirty filters.
  • Free-text box opened up and all the pixels clump together into vague geometric shapes with impudent languor.

All in all, this disc brings an essential vitality into my soft pampered life.  It’s wormed into my lugs now.  I’m saved ya’ll.

Can you afford to miss this one dear reader? Can your children?? Can your immortal soul???

—ooOoo—

Eastville Vending

Bells Hill

Beartown Records

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