feedback bleed: scott mckeating on bong and jfk

October 24, 2013 at 7:54 am | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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bong - another dosejfk - la bas

OK folks, here’s the latest from RFM’s mysterious third man.  Scott keeps it sharp.

Bong – Another Dose (Cassette, Washy Tapes, WT004, edition of 100)

They might only be four tapes into their release schedule, but the Washy Tapes label is already rightly regarded as consistently mint purveyors of the North East of England’s underground. Run by Cara France and Cameron Sked (familiar to RFM readers as members of masked psychedelic rock crew Lobster Priest), Washy are heavy on the presentation tip, their tapes being screenprinted artefacts in near-origami card sleeves. With previously dropped releases by the mighty Posset, Stephen Bishop’s electronic project Basic House (he also sings for Drunk In Hell, an equally good but utterly different proposition) and Cameron’s own Trancers II (a very short / infinite loop tape), this Bong tape is probably the label’s most high profile to date.

A single 22 minute jam of monstrous feedback-bleed psychedelic stoner doom metal, Another Dose is one of Bong’s more traditionally rooted and end-of-time proportioned jams. As with most Bong, this track sits within their now-familiar parameters of music that blocks out the sun and aurally heaves itself across the earth moaning like some great land whale. Another Dose is (very obviously) very heavy shit with much recurring guitar riffage, a pulsing low end and vocals channelled from a Fulci-ravaged dimension. With the guitars creating a spiralling Lovecraftian motion, Bong’s rhythm section keeps the track moving in a Sisyphean direction. If there was ever a piece of music made to soundtrack a psych-warped Nicolas Winding Refn undead centurion marching scene then this is it.

(Editor’s note: sadly sold out at source, it appears, but available digitally via the inevitable Bandcamp.)

JfK – La Bas: 1987-1992 (CD, Fourth Dimension Records, FDCD-083)

Probably one of the least prolific big names of the post-industrial and power electronics underground, the dark horse in your post-industrial noise rock Top Trumps, Anthony Di Franco (aka JfK and Ethnic Acid) has recently been collecting/compiling his past work into more manageable releases. With much of this era’s music unreleased, out of print or only available for stupid money from blokes in Charles Manson shirts on Discogs, these recent compilations have been revealing what Anthony had under his bushel all those years ago. With eight of the ten cuts here previously unreleased, even Di Franco’s membership of both Ramleh and Skullflower, made this record something of a potential gamble. Thankfully, much like the recent gush of unreleased Skullflower material found on the 4 disc Kino set, it’s hard to fathom why this music remained unreleased for so long. Those expecting something left of leftfield or vigorously assaulting might be surprised by the ‘relatively’ straight nature of this material compared to Di Franco’s excursions beyond noise rock. While there are drifts of power electronic, clanked rhythms and noise on La Bas, the prevailing sound is that of a skeletal peer of Godflesh’s circling vulture grooves. Middle finger in your face post-punk. As a kind of take on glam-beated industrial, there’s a Cramps-y / Jim Foetus wiry swagger to the sound that differentiates this from less well bred but heavier muscled genre colleagues. Skullflower mate Matthew Bower appears on guitar for three tracks here, blasts of guitar wreckage that refuse to marshal his howled-out searching sound. Stepping away from the rhythm based tracks, ‘Will To Live’ is a more experimental cut of a hard acoustic strum put through a sheared-off top end mix in amongst tape work. All snapped strings and industrial unit processing technology, there’s doubtless more brainfumble music in the archives.

(Editor’s note: Fourth Dimension are currently overhauling their mail order operation.  In the meantime see their discogs listings or buy from Norman Records.)

artifacts of the no-audience underground: space victim

March 6, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Space Victim – Psychotropic Mind Murder (Bells Hill, BH009, CD-r, edition of 50)

In the same package from Scott of Bells Hill that contained the Culver & Fordell Research Unit CD-r was nestled this monster, eyeing me suspiciously and waiting patiently for the opportunity to flex its scaly wings.

For what we have here is Space Victim, a duo of Lucy Johnson of Obey and Mike Vest of Bong and Basilica (see VISUAL VOLUME for details of all these variations).  And what Space Victim have for us is some heavy, viscous, maximalist guitar psychedelia.  Don’t be expecting anything whimsical or pastoral and flower strewn.  This is best-night-of-the-year-without-leaving-your-armchair drug music.  I suppose should you want a musical reference point then this sounds a little like millennial Ashtray Navigations, pre-synth turn, with Phil’s guitar sound at its most monsoon drenched and tropical.

The release is bookended by two lengthy jams (for want of a better word): ‘The Sea of Sleep’ (17 minutes) and ‘Entrail Weight’ (20 minutes, great title) which riff, drone, drift and shimmer in a heat haze.  Teenage dragons might groove on this in a lair filled with dope smoke as they do flame-grilled hot knives whilst sniggering at that lame-ass Lord of the Rings shit.  The tracks that make up the middle section are much shorter and offer glimpses of experiments: part mad science, part arcane rite.  Orgone accumulators crackle and the tang of ozone bleaches through the heady fug of incense.  However glimpses are all you get: sometimes these tracks end suddenly, as if the laboratory door had been slammed shut in your face.

Passages of this album are properly fried.  The psychonauts amongst you may be reminded of the ‘chameleon’ stage of an acid trip: peaking like crazy, your senses fizzing like sherbet fireworks, your skin rippling and morphing to mimic your surroundings, your eyes bulging and swivelling independently of each other.  Or so I hear.  I wouldn’t know, of course.

Over the last couple of weeks a few casual listens led to an addiction blotting out almost everything else.  Then this release became pretty much the only thing I wanted to hear.  I was hoping that typing this up might help break the spell, but I can feel its claws tightening on my shoulders again already…

Highly recommended.  Contact Scott of Bells Hill via scottjamesbellshill@gmail.com

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