human knotty complexity : joe murray on katz mulk, daniel carter/george lyle/fritz welch, downer canada and brb>voicecoilMarch 27, 2017 at 6:04 am | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
Tags: andrea kearney, ben knight, ben morris, brb>voicecoil, daniel carter, dictaphone, downer canada, drone, fritz welch, george lyle, graphic score, improv, iorram records, jazz, joe murray, katz mulk, muza muza, noise, power moves library, sacred tapes
Katz Mulk – Katzenungen (Sacred Tapes)
Daniel Carter, George Lyle, Fritz Welch – So Long Farewell Repair live at The Glad Cafe (Iorram Records)
Downer Canada – Snarl like a Poem (Power Moves Library)
brb>voicecoil – Cloth White Skin (Muza Muza)
Katz Mulk – Katzenungen (Sacred Tapes) C30 Cassette
A new project from N-AU stalwarts Ben Knight, Ben Morris and Andrea Kearney* should make the most cynical of listeners burp – but I can report back from my comfortable trench that Pepto Bismol is not, repeat not needed. This Mulk slips down easy as sherry trifle.
Knight continues his imagineer work for a darker-Disney building a domestic palace of half-song and chant. He adds delicate plonks with increasing grace and moves the air with a palm, then a knee. And Morris knits these materials into a thread-bare tapestry that celebrates the tiny, the small and the microscopic. Kearney provides the graphic score…
Side one: truth bandits, engaging rumble of an outboard motor, the squished goose honk of decaying electronics and wet hiss of traffic. A voice says ‘squeal, squeal’, a bell rings and tinfoil gets crushed underfoot, a plate spins. Alligator goodbyes!
Side two: roar of a space heater, hectic metallic scrape, a voice battles sense against ripped rubber electronics, taped blister pack wrench overlaid by gentle footsteps. The plumber’s mate fouls up the pipes leading to complex knocking (at the7 min 30 second mark) that is both wet and dry, hard and soft, immediate yet attached to memory.
The end is heralded with the kind of repetition pin-ball/gong-strike/marble rolling I could listen to forever.
(iv)Outcome & Impact
The rare art of listening is engaged in this most rewarding of tapes. I’m guessing this is a patchwork of ‘live’ and ‘studio’ jamz with the idea of sparse pushed through a nozzle, so the language bacteria grows in a dish; the rattles of accompaniment become as real as altitude ear-pop.
One to catch in a butterfly net no matter what!
*a most fortuitous bumping into Andrea enlightens me that her presence on this tape is purely graphic score construction rather than future-ghost player. But FFW to the planned Katz Mulk disc on Singing Knives coz itsa trio of all-three-players-playing!
Daniel Carter, George Lyle, Fritz Welch – So Long Farewell Repair live at The Glad Cafe (Iorram Records) CD
Real-proper JAZZ chips from this sax/piano, double bass, percussion trio and sadly the last ever recording from Glasgow bass-face George Lyle.
The dials are set for human knotty complexity rather than eviscerating fire and that is all super-smashing-great for me.
It’s like this. My simple mind is pulled in several directions at once. George saws an undercurrent of resin-soaked wood so it glows like a fire biding its time. Fritz supplies the sizzle of gentle rain on the griddle – a liquid bada-bing! Sax sings for the brassy siren then Daniel moves to a dusty piano playing all the in-notes outwards.
But each piece tightens the jewels further, like when you find the bite on an old socket set and each bolt and nut clicks an extra few revolutions. This is true open-jaw music that plays the lush valleys between the craggy peaks.
Even the most casual listen reveals ear-gems and brain worms: the guilt marimba, felt ravioli all come seeping out a blowhole and begin rolling around my feet.
But weirdest of all, the closing minutes of ‘News Loom’ seem to suck god-save-the-queen backwards over all the rippled sonic scree. That can’t be right eh?
Shit! What more do you want me to say? This threesome are impressive enough as lone gadgies but the sum is most definitely more when all those ears and fingers (and feet) get warm and busy.
Downer Canada – Snarl like a Poem (Power Moves Library) CD-r in classy envelope and free digital download
This slim CD-r is packaged between two pieces of thick card and makes me think that the music is being coddled in some way – like it’s a delicate thing that needs protection from my fat, greasy fingers.
But when played ‘Snarl like a Poem’ is surprisingly robust – a full frequency exploration of brushed steel flux and hissing radiators. It knocks like the ancient plumbing attached to your old head (a gaseous ghost in the pipes, hurtling through copper joints , whipping right and left) until you are not quite sure what’s going on.
And then…a feedback suite; a feeble keening smooth as marble. Limp Morse that rolls as a cylinder would over a deep ice puddle yet fuzzy at the edges like someone just smeared my glasses with Vaseline – most agreeable!
Tones on the edge of collapse send oily ripples through my ear canal, a lo-tech Eliane Radigue, until things blister, bubble and pop.
Dry mouth sounds… ‘kah’ and ‘schah’ and ‘khow’ reveal dusty language roots. Is this the lost speech of the sand-encrusted pharaohs? Or perhaps a sound poet’s secret library hiss?
What was once ultra-minimal collects the grit of a classic Dictaphone approach with each surface filled and smoothed-over with fizzing huss.
It fills my head with sweet drizzle!
brb>voicecoil – Cloth White Skin (Muza Muza) C25 Cassette and digital download
The perfectly dank sound that joins the dots between classic long-form drone, field recording and musique concrete.
Kev Wilkinson’s bands Drill, Big Road Breaker and the more recent brb>voicecoil, have been stalwarts of the Newcastle noise/drone scene for as long as I can remember. After years of steady, underground activity his brb>voicecoil delighted a whole new generation in a triumphant performance at last year’s TUSK festival.
This cool-looking tape is the next instalment in an epic story.
Using source material recorded over an 8 year period the side-long title track ‘Cloth White Skin’ weaves an arcane industrial process (cast-iron rollers flattening bone fragments / blast furnace being stoked with terrible energy / huge tumbling spikes) with the spluttering of cold liquid metal and the distant thunder of Xipe Totec .
But it’s not all spitting-bluster. The final short movement is an introspective shudder, a ‘someone’s-just-walked-over-my-grave’ uneasiness of rusty tin slowly coming to rest.
The itchy rhythm of ‘Crack Vessel’ mimics exactly the enamel rattling of a child’s tooth in a jam jar. The accompanying offset, slopped-shunts of sound remind me of dancers limping after brutal rehearsals, all sore toes, ripped calves and swollen ankles.
The closer, an aptly named ‘Vent 2’ treats us to a Heath-Robinson industrial scene. Grey gas escapes under enormous pressure from cracked terracotta pipes. The hullabaloo flips a series of leather coated buttons to perform an organic, irregular beat. The surrounding soundscape is crisp with busy electric crackles and fades into one lone drummer drumming.
A taste of the grim future? Automation gone loco?
Regard the prophetic warnings of brb>voicecoil!
Tags: ben morris, chocolate monk, disillusion.dot.dot.dot, duncan harrison, field recording, improv, joe murray, karl mv waugh, lost wax, musique concrète, new music, no audience underground, noise, reckno, tapes
Karl M V Waugh – unnamed murk (coagulated detritus may 2014 – january 2015) (download, disillusion.dot.dot.dot)
Karl M V Waugh – Varnish Crease EP (download, disillusion.dot.dot.dot)
Duncan Harrison – Others Delete God (tape or download, Reckno)
Lost Wax – The Poacher (CD-r, Chocolate Monk, choc.304, edition of 60)
Karl M V Waugh – unnamed murk (coagulated detritus may 2014 – january 2015) and Varnish Crease
A lazy, taking a line for a walk, kind of listen. That’s no criticism readers. I’m loving this particular ramble with Karl; round the town, out past the betting shop and onto the Downs, chatting and shooting the shit as we wander.
These unnamed murk pieces are poor orphans (coagulated detritus indeed) with no home to go to. And for me that makes things all the more interesting. Are you telling me these pieces don’t fit into your soundworld Karl? Man…I gotta check out these oddballs – they are going to be the nuts.
The modus operandi remains classic K M V Waugh – an object or technique is picked up and fiddled with for a while and each possible combination of rubbing, striking, bowing and blowing rained down until all options are exhausted.
‘Bread Failure’ dances with some close mic rustle, jazz-gob, fake sine wave feedback loops and acoustic guitar fumble as crispy as an early 2000’s Usurper jam. ‘Close Net’ starts with a slo-mo rave synth trapped in a bathysphere; the two Navy SEALS having it large while contact with the surface is registered in day-glo Morse and trippy emoticons. Outside the Angler Fish get anxious with stress-harps. Blimey, Jacques Cousteau couldn’t get this low. ‘Nada Test’, the most lovely one of the lot, is an untutored, unconscious guitar/balalaika/mandolin (?) improvisation heavy on the Korean and Rembetika influences. There’s pure innocence in this playing, a passionate exploration and experimentation that’s scrabbling but at all times searching for a melody to grasp out of the clear blue sky. The last 2 minutes of this 21 minute piece add a slight distortion giving you a soft landing destination.
This mini-album, the wonderfully titled Varnish Crease, is an 18 minute smeared collage, a bold painting in Bovril hues.
Industrial grot (a malfunctioning PEZ dispenser perhaps?) and novelty dice dropped into a chunky whiskey tumbler form the base coat to KMVW’s meta-poetry. Like several porridge-slugged mouths reading their dreams simultaneously this has a head-fudge quality. Ever been lost in a crowd? This mimics that slight panic and claustrophobic feel exactly.
Wonk-hop snatches of sound are introduced like RZA’s all blunted on Funeral Dance Party; a South Coast One Wobbly Egg. In fact this whole crease has a real Cidershed feel with that slight tint of threat added to the vulnerability.
Essential listening for any young dream-voyager.
Duncan Harrison – Others Delete God
Pearls dipped in butter swirling round the palm of a brown giant. The slick tones fill the smooth handful; fingers wiggle to spread the flutter.
This is a disarmingly charming and hypnotically beautiful opener from his holiness Duncan Harrison.
Gurble-gobs, slop and slobber the lazy consonants and sighs that very skitter with finger-manipulated tape skank. It soon turns into pigs grunting quick enough (oink oink oink) and a sonic Richard Scarry cartoon of crash-bang-wallop.
A water butt slowly fills with rancid treacle as tiny black imps dance around the bloated barrel, slapping their bulbous bellies and blowing crimson smoke rings. A watchful Duncan scoops up the imps and ingests them all a-wriggle, recording their hapless plummet down his gullet.
But please don’t take my sub-Stan Lee dribbling as evidence of sonic goofiness, cynically used to leap-frog to the desired ends (freedom, bliss, ecstasy etc). Repeated listens to this humble tape reveal this to be a mature work, a self-assured work, a personally resonant work floating slowly into my consciousness. There’s no reliance on underground clichés here. The psychedelic-domestic of bus number recital, buffeting wind noise, slow chip-pan ‘pop’ and throaty Gatwick roar have filled my heart with honey and my head with sleepy nutmeg.
Side one ends with another real-life vignette, this time trad-jazz busker (think bowler hat and pinstripe waistcoat) overlaid flinty guitar pluckage (think sloppy Arran jumper and orthopaedic shoes) bringing two worlds together – the beach front and the bedsit – into a tangy-sharp fragment.
Side two opens with a wanking mumble, a half remembered dream of the time John Noakes applied Chopin’s poesie sonore methods in the Blue Peter garden (don’t bother to ‘YouTube’ it. This nugget was never televised and then destroyed on direct instructions from Biddy Baxter.) as the tape edits flutter around his West Riding glottal stops.
Valhalla opens its gates to welcome another fallen hero. For a time the drunken revelry quietens and the bard’s horn plays mournfully through the mist. Shields become bronze gongs beaten with a soft as the captured skald drones on.
Back in the studio Duncan dons his silk gown and adopts the Crane stance blowing on flesh bassoon until a feeder tape of allotment gristle joins the sound mix like it was the most natural thing in the world. Birds aimlessly chirrurp and flapper and cast iron tools are tinkled like collectible glass bells. I can feel the late afternoon sun in this recording baking my neck and making me sleepy. This. Is. Delicious.
A game-changing tape from D Harrison. It looks innocent enough for sure; but this tape’s got a confident swagger that’s unmatched right about now.
Lost Wax – The Poacher
Super-classy Musique Concrete from Ben Morris that takes full advantage of the far-flung places he’s laid his loveable mop-top over the last couple of years (China, Vietnam and even Derbyshire).
The Poacher is split into three parts, each third revealing a different side to Lost Wax, that unlock and fold out on hidden brass hinges. Let’s look inside…
The first third, ‘The Sun is a Hammer’, takes clear recordings of tin parakeets, smoke-train rumble and happy-clapping ritual and slices them up nice with a razor like some heavy radiophonicia dripping secretly out of 1970s Bulgaria.
The pace is stately, like a nurse on a bike, as Ben adds layers of hiss and schloop weaving them into a tapestry fit for a medium-sized town hall. But before we can even jiggle a heavy chain of office beautiful voices creak out of the floorboards. They soar and float like rainbows. Flutes trill. I swoon.
Next we visit the watch menders convention for ‘Time Travel Corrodes the Mind’. A hired drummer fiddles with his high-hat (fairly obsessively tiss-tiss-tiss) as the cummerbunded MC beckons in a phalanx of beach balls full of gaseous hippy crack. The massed horologicalists look up from their chaotically ticking handfuls but relax as Ben, safely at the controls, squeezes out a rhythmic pulse for the cast-iron disco crowd. Tapes of paranoid mumbling (source: CIA bugs, Cuban Missile Crisis?) bookend the track as several men bend aluminium picture frames in your left ear.
This tasty trio is completed by ‘Home, Exhuming a Shed‘. Imagine F.M. Einheit getting ready for a date (checklist – red rose, lump hammer, rusty chain, trumpet, gas canister) dressing in his best dungarees with bear-grease controlling his wanton quiff.
Gnarled hands rip up steel casings and pummel a brass boiler with oranges. The bright zest fills the air and this sudden change in atmosphere calms our man…his fingers caress the splintered keyboard moving from black to white. Digit-shapes transfer from 3D geometry into calm sound-pools that sit gently rippling in the citrus breeze.
Tags: ben morris, chora, chris forsyth, collage, field recording, fritz welch, humansacrifice, improv, jaime fennelly, joe murray, lost wax, new music, no audience underground, noise, peeesseye, psykick dancehall, tapes
Peeesseye – SCI FI DEATH MASK (LP, or as Joe would have it: ‘God damn heavyweight 180 gram vinyl’, humansacrifice, HS008, edition of 300)
Lost Wax – Gongzhufen Breath (tape, Psykick Dancehall)
Peeesseye – SCI FI DEATH MASK
Cryptic headline: Behold the power of threee. The pyramid triumphant: the tripod exultant!
Record Collector style blurb: The Pee/Ess/Eye – Peeesseye – P.S.I – band have been jamming with conjoined frontal lobes since 2002. Instrumentally they present the standard set up with Chris Forsyth on guitar, Jaime Fennelly pumping between harmonium & electronics and Fritz Welch rapping the percussion and the vocals (incorporating his patent fritz-o-size panting).
But beware…this three-o have recorded nothing approaching trad jazz over a whole bunch of heady 8-tracks and wax cylinders. The slow-drawn water-colour and pressurized ‘hisss’ of sneaky graff make more comfortable bedfellows for these beards.
This Sci Fi Death Mask is their last ever recording. That’s it. PEEESSEYE have left the building. But thankfully some bright spark snatched this ritual (a live performance from Antwerp) from the arms of unreliable memory via thick magnetic tape thereby basting the resulting soundwaves in rich symbolism and occult power.
Head-music gonzo stream: This whole performance is chunked into three tasty pieces.
Mouthful one, ‘Let the Hate Flow’ is a growing thing. Starting from mere microbes a leggy beast emerges from the ooze. The shimmering harmonium drone is introduced; a metallic shriek (furniture moved slowly) punctuates. The static-yet-moving palette is like sea viewed from a low-flying aeroplane; you know barely-restrained power lurches behind those cold, grey waves.
Yet when landed this ritual of purification has the same shimmering magik I last heard in the smack-gongs of Vietnam. All pause and release; bronze bones hammered and aching as tears of pure joy and gratitude rolled down my sunburnt cheeks.
Chew the gristle on mouthful two, ‘Legs Without Feet’. Heavy ticking balls and angry holla spit rough Rice Wine in gaseous cloud above your head. The offerings and prayer flags still flutter but are now soaked in foul, flammable liquid. Below, below, below the speed-junk-trash-can, like a coffee-nervous Phill Calvert, spasms in response. Guitar starts to peal, as twisted as the spire of Chesterfield, and Harmonium wildly laughs. Things are getting serious.
Swallow a final long draft with the side-long jam ’What is the value, what is the purpose?’ Tone clusters reproduce at speed to spawn one of them 1960’s goose-bands, freaking-out the UFO club crowd with a come down for an ultra-high society. They call themselves The Grateful Dong, Punk Floyd or something and let it all hang out, balancing reality on an eyelid.
And in that sweaty basement, just off Tottenham Court Road, the band finally locks minds with the audience. Together they soar the skies, pushing through the membrane of atmosphere and the old black vacuum to breach the un-breachable. A place where the senses are amplified a thousand fold; eyes become attuned to taste, ears fondle the colour of sound (all orange, pinks and blood-reds here) and we lose ourselves for eons in the pure joy of sweet slow-explosions.
Reader re-connect and economic conclusion: Even Bacchus took a day off. This ritual has to end sometime. So, spent and dripping, PEEESSEYE limp home.
Heroes? To a man.
Available in physical and astral forms from humansacrifice.
Lost Wax – Gongzhufen Breath
Lost Wax is the one Ben Morris (also of Chora, fact fans) who released one of my favourite tapes from last year, the superb My Sore Daad Heap’d. So it’s with anticipation I jam this one into the stereo, refresh my glass with Pimms and settle back in front of the typewriter.
Right from the off with the title track ‘Gongzhufen Breath’ it’s clear Ben is adding his clear and strong voice to the chatterings concerning field recordings in the avant garde. This is no New Age whale song bullshit. This is no ‘jam a mike in yr face and hope for the best’ tourism. This is a beautifully placed, memory-gong. A tug on the collective sound-DNA we all share.
We’re in Beijing for at least part of this first piece with the busy Gongzhufen Bus Station taking a starring role. Smoky traffic roars by over a plucked string (a spare and solem Pipa possibly) and Blade Runner-style adverts. The detail in the editing roasts these sounds gently….never scorching and letting you drift in and out the soundscape, picking up a persimmon here, clumsily folding a newspaper there. My ears pensively glowed as I tuned-in deeper and deeper into this recording revelling in the non-congruence of what I could see out the window (a damp garden) and what I could hear. The instructions on the bus timetable pretty much sum this up…
Figure it reasonable transfer bus to remind you when to travel. Figure it also provides you with Beijing bus routes, sites, maps, and other information surrounding the query. Stock ride the bus with you, I wish you a pleasant journey!
‘Scragged and Stuttered’ starts with the low-glotty sounds of deep water. The innocent chitter of children talking in the distance makes this dark lake faintly unnerving. Percussive rasps (A manic woodpecker? Polite fireworks?) pepper the mix that seems to be concerning itself solely with building up a sense of foreboding and unease. Yeah…this is horror film stuff. Not that slasher, spam-in-a-cabin nonsense but adult Don’t Look Now nightmares, this time all dubbed up with Jah Shaka at the controls.
Clotted pops greet me in ‘Myfan Snare’ as 74 layers of ethno-percussion get filtered through the sound of galloping horses, each hoof fall a thunderous dunch. Shortwave static and the squeal of un-lubricated wheels wraps and warps the art of the overblown tannoy announcement. A brief taster, sonic-tapas.
Closer ‘Open Kraken’ is a sick creeper. Things start innocently enough with straining brass rods being bent and warped. All very nice I think. But, before I know it I’m bopping my head to the sound of rubber gongs beat with rubber mallets; and then slowly, stealthily the strings emerge.
A single folk fiddle is joined by its deeper cousin the Cello. More and more family arrive until the rosined strings vibrate powerfully and churn up the air like a giant spoon. Before long an orchestra as heavy as any György Ligeti commanded is bowing sea-sick lurches that crash and flood the plain.
This is sheer dislocation and rapture!
I look at the tiny tape with wonder…this sounds like it was recorded at Abbey Road; Scott Walker conducting (with a boner) such is the rousing ferment.
But eventually the sea of strings is becalmed and with a brief coda of pocket fuffle and polite throat clearing we are done. My gosh…I need a little lie down after that.
The Lost Wax do it again…surely a contender for tape of the year.
Editor’s note: Joe is a tease isn’t he? At the time of posting this tape appears to still be ‘forthcoming’. Keep an eye on the Psykick Dancehall Facebook page and website so you can snap one up when it becomes available. Sound clip available here.
Tags: ben morris, drone, improv, joe murray, lost wax, new music, no audience underground, noise, sandy milroy, shareholder, tapes, visual art, winebox press
Shareholder – The Backwards Glance Vol 1, 2 & 3 (self-released, 3 x cassette)
Lost Wax – ‘My Sore Daad Heap’d’ (cassette, Winebox Press, edition of 77)
OK then, Ladies and Gentlemen, a message from the editor: as promised, here is the first piece by RFM’s official new contributor Joe Murray. BEWARE! This hep cat is far too jazz to use paragraph breaks so take a deep mental breath before diving in. Over to Joe:
Hey there no-audience underground! Delighted to spill my beans all over in frantic excitements. You got time to listen? Today I’ve got a bunch of red-hot tapes for you from rare solo projects; Ben Morris’ Lost Wax and Sandy Milroy’s Shareholder.
Blimey! This is a mammoth document from Shareholder. Sandy’s been doing hard time with gruntcore dinosaurs Muscletusk for ages, dragging a screeeee guitar round the yeasty pub scene causing buckets of lightning to implode. But it’s his Shareholder disguise that I’ve been digging this past few weeks. The Backwards Glance is ten god-damn years of recordings all wrapped up in beguiling drawings, elastic bands and creepy collage work. Sandy has taken the Faust approach and jams are cut-up hard against each other so you lurch between approaches, styles, themes and moods. The last bunch of Shareholder CD-Rs I have heard were delightfully guitar based. But this is so much wider in focus. Things kick off with a faux-eastern style keyboard motif and pretty much chop & change at random over the next six 45 min sides. That’s a lot of ground to cover so I’ll start with the signature Shareholder sound: very fucked, distorted guitar, swooping though soft arcs of ‘waauuuuuhhhhh, waauuuuuuuhhhh’ like an eiderdown chock full of downers. At times there’s a harsher edge; like a Sonic Youth guitar breakdown, then things might spruce up like a flavour bud living or a flinty acoustic ramble. All good yeah. But added to this pot is a gravy of dark ambient groaning like some Supersilent workout, generous dumplings of radio play tape chatter, some real-time guitar versus drums jams, silent corridor creak and atmospheric crunch. A staggering amount of styles are covered. I think tape 2 (Alice?) hits the sweet spot from the word go with some jumble-under recording and some real classy sample work. Single phrases are looped until all meaning has been destroyed via senseless repetition. If this was London, people would shout ‘Hype Williams’ and draft an over-written essay on consumerism and modern culture…but as this is Edinburgh it’s all undercut with a Ned-ness lope and knuckle-head knock. The radio interview/play aspect comes to the fore with a beautiful, beautiful tape/speech/keyboard piece. I can’t tell where this starts and ends (no songtitles to help neither) but for 10 mins or so a perfect and poignant set of interviews, phone messages and gloomy keys float out the speakers with a cheeky wink. ‘Proper’ songs poke at that Velvet itch, bombastic news idents screech out at random and there’s even eight bars of some 2-step boogie. I could go on but this would just turn into a long, long list of the different snippets that amuse and startle. And I’m guessing different bits would jump out for you depending on your mood or appetite. My advice is to block out a few hours in your schedule, settle yourself in your preferred listening area and drink this special brew in deep. As in the dog-eat-dog world of high finance the Shareholder is always looking for a unique selling point. This USP for these clever little tapes is their god-damn addictiveness! The Backward Glance was originally a private, ‘trades to mates’ kinda deal. But such is the power of RFM that Sandy has agreed to dubbing a super-limited run of 10 (editors note: I suspect this is seriously overestimating our influence, but good on him! – RH). You too can marvel at Shareholder’s brave vision by sending £10 (inc P&P) to firstname.lastname@example.org clearly marking your mail BACKWARD GLANCE in big letters so it don’t get missed. Oh yeah…trades are very welcome.
(EDIT: After posting Joe’s review of the Shareholder tapes above I secured a set in trade from the charming Mr. Milroy. I have to concur: they are wicked awesome. You’d think my ragged attention span couldn’t deal with four and a half hours of anything but I was engaged throughout and right got the hump when ‘real’ life made me turn ’em off and deal with other things. Wholeheartedly double-endorsed by radiofreemidwich – RH.)
Ben Morris has been treading the boards with what some nameless observer described as ‘the only decent band in London’, Chora. This is his first outing as Lost Wax, with the cryptically titled ‘My Sore Daad Heap’d’ on cassette. Right, first things first. This little tape comes out via the Winebox Press so you’re in for some nifty & challenging packaging. ‘Sore Daad…’ comes nailed to a piece of wood (once a comfortable futon by all accounts) and bound up in elastic bands and brown paper, making it all the more special. With only 77 other handmade brothers & sisters around in the whole voyald you’re going to have to net this sucker soon. It might just be a little thing to you but seeing all this hard work, inventiveness and sense of fun tickles my laugh lines from the off. Sheesh…if I’m gooning over the packaging what’s going to happen when I slam this baby home? Ok…stereo on…tape in…press play. The anticipative hiss of a really warm recording shifts into a fly-blown world as hot and high as a Cement Garden. Golden memory shimmers like tissue paper and drags things like a summer holiday that never gets to the end of the six week fug. ‘M1Jet’…a hissy and fizzy guitar, tape, rusty trumpet (?), organ and field recording struggle in a frothy brew of ever-changing colour and texture. Waves slap against the jetty and a single bell rings as a pregnant coda. ‘Brackish Lung’ takes tiny bell drone/ringing sounds layered over the unmistakable gurgle of piss flowing warmly into a thin tin funnel. Other elements of warm fuggy huff get folded in until these gentle waves climax in a gushing golden shower of trucker’s Tizer. ‘Afternoon Mesh’ summons one of my favourite immersive sound environments…rain falling on a nylon tent. An homage to Maya Deren perhaps? This makes beautiful the art of doing nothing much at all. Rolling hiss and gentle rumble are punctuated by tent-zipper ‘whhoooossshhh’ and the everyday pyrotechnics of a close miked match (or something). The listener is at the core of these intimate soundscapes and this gentle humming is as meditative as a giant gong’s enveloping reverberations; but writ in miniature, tiny cogs ticking away to silence. ‘Clogged & buttered’ takes the rhythmic ‘whump’ of the bilge pump and outboard motor and overlays a peasant guitar, mulchy walk, chunter and Geiger counter crackle to pull together the whole liquid theme. This draws me to the ocean, like an aquatic ape…there is a naturalness and timelessness to this little tape. A 1960’s Ladybird book come to life with clear and precise illustrations. The art of composition is more of a lopsided collage for Lost Wax; see-sawing between clammy-fingered catgut pluck, natural woody drone and high performance field recording. The lessons of Lambkin are applied making this a serious contender for tape of the year. Want it? £6.50 plus packaging costs from Winebox Press my friend.