Tags: Dating sites, Flandrew Fleisenberg, id m theft able, joe murray, Mang Disc, skot spear, Valentine's day
ID M THEFT ABLE – A Heart Named Spooky (Download from Skot’s profile on the OK Cupid Dating Site /or/ limited cassette available from (Mang Disc))
“Love! I can’t get enough of it” says that Jay-Z fella in Kanye’s Monster (2010) and I have a feeling that this THEFT ABLE, a similar giant of a man for sure, is of the same fluffy opinion.
He’s both crooner and loomer on ‘A Heart Named Spooky’, an album of piano-led ballads (yes really) released as a download on a genuine dating site – OK Cupid.
Gosh…that’s the facts ma’am. But what about all this damn lovin’ and a kissin’?
Skot-ABLE’s world has always been fluid and this collection is as hard to pin down as cherry vape smoke. It’s as diverse as love is broad so forgive me if I skip between warm hugs and a little gentle spanking.
The drift of ‘Blue and Yellow and Different Blue’ pitches a Burberry-soft voice over rolling piano, aching like Phil Collins always wanted you to. ‘Faded Sign’ a lamentation on memory is exactly halfway to becoming a player-piano tune in a Western brothel but with the clipped diction of Human Head’s Ben Knight.
The pieces ‘My Clothes They Never Fit Right’ and ‘A Heart That’s Gasp GASPING for Blood’ could be the middle-sections from vintage THEFT ABLE jams with goof-goof-grub schlurps and snickers; super wet and inviting. It’s stretching at the very limits of understanding and attention ya’hear!
A thin drone sets the tone for ABLE to practice his keening castrato over digital rubble making ‘I’ll Bet’ a bridge of a track. The ideal entry point for THEFT-watchers I’d wager; but slippery? You bet!
But it’s ‘A Bit of Trash, An Unspilled Flower’ that makes me mist-up and blub. This is a truly handsome nonsense, as forgiving as true love and therefore as blind as a bat. Each slurp and tinkle, each howl and arpeggio takes me make to a very, very specific stolen glance; an imperceptible nod from beneath sharp dark bangs that made my heart go ‘pop-pop-popeye’ back, way back, when I was loveable. (Sigh!)
Things end on the very damn poignant ‘A Valentine Late’, one minute fifty eight seconds of pure piano, guff-less, and concentrating on fingers totally. Beautiful anxiety.
With THEF_T on voice-moan, snap-judgments and sloppers only, a clear space is marked out for percussionist FLANDRE_W on collected steel detritus and novelty plastic beaters. I’m listening out for a regular trap set but just keep getting these junk-mechanic flowcharts appearing before my eyes. So be it.
From both gentlemen the watchword is reckless speed and demonic accuracy. ‘Beats’ are dropped like clumsy spoons going all ‘schlang-schalng’ as they wobble comically to rest on their fat bellies.
Rosy-cheeked squawks rumble like a rusty tenor blowing Fela Kuti horn charts deep in The Shrine! It’s a well-mixed match; a garment woven with care for sure but also a jittering confidence that puff-shoulders are making a dramatic comeback.
The pivotal track ‘My Life in a Bush of Ghosts. New Paltz. New York. 05.20.16’ made me really go ‘youk-youk’. I imagine ENO and that Talking Heads guy spraffing on about psychedelic Africa while THEFT and FLAND almost take off at the 4.23 mark paying homage to the Yoruba spirits. The skies open wide and safari fumes vibrate of the land in game-y crescents. For fans of the real here and now – don’t despair! This track is bookended with violent furniture-moving scrapes.
A student of DOUBLE DUTCH? Check out ‘The Lodge, Chester, New York 05.21.16’ for helix-skipping rhythms and rhymes hymned perfecto!
In fact the energy doesn’t even begin to drop until the thoughtful, melancholic closer ‘553 Warren Street, New York 05.22.16’. As benefits a final artistic statement it goes in heavy on the water-filled baking tray, mournful bell ring and asthmatic goose-honks. Perfectly balanced…light and shade innit?
But…whatever the political climate it’s worth checking out IDM’s bottom drawer for any junk you might have missed. You could do worse that HINT HINT, plant your feet on Babb’s Bridge, for example NUDGE NUDGE.
This communication ends baby!
Tags: anla courtis, g.j de rook, id m theft able, invisible city records, joe murray, no basement is deep enough, the pink chunk
Anla Courtis – Microtonal Drifts (tape, Invisible City Records, ICR18, edition of 50 or download)
The Pink Chunk – Unearthed (“C20 Tape in a pink and green bulbous swelling”, No Basement Is Deep Enough)
g.j. de rook – a and bla (“C25 Tape in a chunky letterist bundle”, No Basement Is Deep Enough)
ID M THEFT ABLE – Jowls Without a Face (“C25 Tape in a felt-lipped plush purse”, No Basement Is Deep Enough)
Anla Courtis – Microtonal Drifts
I’m such a brain-doofus I wouldn’t know a microtone if it bit my pooter but I can fairly say this tape is some splendidly jiggering fux.
On side one a skittering hand limply flaps nylon guitar strings whispering new vibrating words in my ear like…
Chid-duh-duh-duh; kunnnn-unnng. Douw. Douw. Douw.
I’m guessing the ex-Reynols professor is nudging a wooden guitar with layer upon layer of rubbery notes. A mixture of electronic effects and intelligent fingering makes each single tone wobble brightly and then gradually build up into an incredibly satisfying jelly. It neatly swerves the dreaded grey-goo approach by revelling in the human touch. The occasional stray string-buzz or delicately lacquered slap adds an artisanal edge, like stone worked smooth.
If that all sounds a little light and pretty for you side two uses the exact same methods (canny fingering, electric magic and fretboard slide-rules) but roars out the speakers like an acid-etched excursion by Xazzaz.
Picture a freezing sleet storm dashing horizontally across a bleak valley.
The stings howl in some Quatermass dialect, harsh and pissy, among never-ending metallic squeals. Thin abrasive sounds slowly peak like waves of shale, reaching a precarious tipping point then shatter noisily among cracked debris.
Imagine the world’s largest blackboard and the world’s longest finger nail.
The shush/slush/shush is polished with a finer grain and, just when you think you have the measure of this misty beast, the tape snaps off with a rude ‘click’.
Crickey! After a pause and pat down I feel like my ears have fallen down the stairs, hubbity-bubbing down each soft step but my body is still paused, taught and alert on the landing. I’m breathing hard and black-coffee wired. Thank you Invisible City for a darn-near perfect tape experience!
The Pink Chunk – Unearthed
It’s a NBIDE joint so that means you’ve plugged into some pure outsider trash right from the start yeah? The sleeve notes hint this is some forgotten classic, pressed originally to 45 way back in the day. I’ve learned to trust pretty much nothing Ignace says but the heft of the beardy voices and sunny collapse of the recording switch my dial to 1979 pronto.
As ever the NBIDE design budget is pushed hard with this Pink Chunk being delivered to me in a blinking Pink Chunk! 35/83?
The ‘Louie Side’ unwraps rock’s dumbest moment and gives the Kingsmen a right royal rodgering.
But it’s the cheeky dub effects that took me by surprise; at times I can hear Lee Perry plotting revenge on Chris Blackwell among the sloppy verbal poncing, smashed tunes (including a vamp on Ellington’s classic ‘Caravan’) and edge-of-the-mind juxtaposition.
Like a couple of Zappas with the smart-arse kicked outta them these partial-tunes/melodies and approaches collide in an unschooled mix. The Guru Gwilly Edmondez seems to be a retro-influence on some of the outpourings and that makes this a darn peachy effort in my book.
The ‘Kitchen Side’ starts with a Kitchen Cantata (natch) and dissolves into multi-speed stoopidity as quick as a wink. Playing purely for yuks can make a listener grudgeful, but no fear – dramatic crystalline metro-gnomes polish my pleasure node good!
Fake Inuit vocals hinge back and forth and have that cabin fever feel. In fact it’s all a bit infected with chipmunk squeals, frontiersmen accordion and, on occasion a ‘residents-plays-the-beatles-plays-the-residents’ hum than feels like I’m looking into an infinite mirror, reflecting, reflecting, reflecting…
What can you rely on? The unreliability, man.
g.j. de rook – a and bla
The phenomenal pulsating brain that is Gerrit Jan de Rook [poet, curator and artist] comes wrapped up in a unashamedly descriptive package of giant A,B,L & A again.
In the early 70s Gerrit Jan concentrated on sound poetry but has been active in publishing, mail art and all manner of edgy performance across the decades. Recently, all old and grey, he’s been roping in them Bloody Stereos for Rotter-fun. He’s a groovy uncle for sure; and as my kids would say…
Gerrrit… he’s legend.
I’m almost trembling as I slide this modest grey tape into the player and soon get jaxxed by some quiet yet fiercely determined vocalese jibber- jabber.
Side one is surely as pure as snowy white towels. There’s no electronics, no hawking-throat phlegm, no burst-sinus koff, no birdcall whittering or flutter but real text/sound meshes that sit as calm as a rose-scented balm.
The gentle undulations of language get gradually unpicked and unravel in a glorious slow-plosion. It flits and stutters but never breaks character or pauses for breath. At over ten minutes the sweet unconscious babble (yet fully scored and annotated I’m guessing) becomes a marathon of vowel sounds, repeated to reduce meaning, necessitating an automatic, animal response.
Those simple base syllables are stretched and re-modelled like putty to create unnatural tensions and networks. Yet, if I listen at a distance this yammer blends with the domestic hum of our house so perfectly they cancel each other out and space becomes transparent.
I have to sit back a little to ponder on what I’ve heard. Such wondrous play makes the ache in my knees vanish and an amber glow of energy snake up my spine. I’m transported to a more innocent time of long walks and toxic Tip Top drinks. This is music as time-travel provider!
Side two starts with super-gentle rounded phonics (all ‘ohs’, ‘ehs’ and ‘ahs’) but soon turns a corner into whispered ‘shiffing’ with a faint whiff of studio reverb.
The volume increases and pace quickens like a gushing tap until we’re in the midst of some demented horse racing commentary. Lips are slapping speedily as neurotic whimpers whistle through the fatty gob tissue. The occasional deft pause is dropped like a Gene Krupa rim shot. The sudden, off-beat, smack drawing you back into the moist melange as the thunder rumbles on.
I’m struck by the stamina and chutzpah that keep such a human mouth swinging with such fruity aplomb.
I surrender completely. Join me in slack-jawed praise.
ID M THEFT ABLE – Jowls Without a Face
MORE PURE KLUNK from the frizz-hair mountain that is THEFT ABLE.
Shit… props are most definitely due to SKOT as the absolute master of this kind of super-fast cut up jaxx and lippy bluster. This couldn’t be more different from the cool natter of de Rook. You can’t measure ID M’s punk-a-delic Truman’s Water to de Rook’s stately P Glass; his gilded Rococo mouldings to Rooky’s cool IKB 79. Apples and oranges man.
But before I go off like a jizz-rocket I must report its sheer chance that interrupts reason on the super-classy opener ‘don’t keep your feelings a secret’ as THEFT ABLE sings Hallmark platitudes in an uncomfortably high soprano. Like in his classic tape Babb’s Bridge found words become the jam in his porridge to gloop down tasty
Girdles rip as ABLE ‘poings’ energetic springs and screws up tape FFW scree to salt lake flats speeds on ‘TRY IT IF IT’S ELECTRIC’. Never a throaty singer, this is all front-of-house style vocal-jaxx with spittle being squirted between flat white teeth and rubbery uvula.
Mid-review note: The lips and cheeks play a fundamental part in ID M’s sound, as key to him as what those jazz-beards will riff over Dizzy’s groovy bullfrog impressions. Like Diz, ID M builds up such an impressive air pocket that other vocal improvisers lay gasping on all fours, all blacked out and nauseous. Yeah…these chops are deeply impressive and singular.
It’s delicious to get lost as side one continues to bluster and poke. Electronics fight it out with radio-thumbing and DJ mumble. The whole construction is whipped up, ever changing and jagged with energy; like a fidgets dream yeah!
But just when you’ve busted your last move and need a little breather ABLE brings out his Beatle-bones to jagg about playfully on xylophone and piano until it sounds like George Martin’s thrown down his headphones screaming
You fucking Scousers drive me batty.
Side Two introduces a multi-choir of massed nonsense. Partial songs jostle with instant composition, the brain-pauses keeping it cute.
Then things devolve into electronic stew // marimba destruction in a matter of minutes. With the clunk-a-bout wooden ‘dong’ being one of the most pleasant sounds this blender of soniks is cosy and comfy. Voices are pitched fairly high so that ‘meoooo’ thing doubled on twin tapes becomes a thick-grey wash, the odd words bubbles through are ‘vain’ or ‘fame’ or maybe both.
I could go on about the disembodied carping, the tuneful scratch, the dub-like ‘boof’ of dropped soup mix. But it would just be more words. If I’ve not convinced you to click on a link or check out this hipster’s profile [Editor’s note: woah, Joe is reclaiming the word ‘hipster’! Ballsy move!], I can do no more.
It’s over to you my most luscious reader.
Tags: get me those pictures of spiderman now!, i'd m thfft able, id m theft able, improv, joe murray, mangdisc, new music, no audience underground, noise, orl records, skot spear, tapes, vocal improvisation
i’d m thfft able – Werther’s Original/Bruised Apple (tape, mangdisc, #69)
I’d m thfft able – BLOOD BLOOD / HER BLOOD (2 x 3” CD-r, Orl, orl16, edition of 100)
Le 6eme Doight de Dwayne (tape, mangdisc, #70)
Id M Theft Able – Babb’s Bridge
Hark! Let’s have a cheer for IDM Theftable. Or is that a shout out for IDM Theft Able? Or possibly we need to make some noise for I DM Theft Able? Whatever way you spell it, whatever way you say it, Skot Spear is a man of multiple characters, approaches and many, many tapes (editor’s note: since the time of writing Joe has done some journalism and asked Skot about this. According to the man himself there are two ‘official’ spellings: id m theft able or i’d m thfft able. No hint as to appropriate use of capital letters so we’ll just wing it.). A recent trawl through the internet slurps up at least 50 but I’m pretty sure that’s just the tip of this particular ferric iceberg. I first came across Skot in a very real, physical form. I pretty much tripped over his enormous rucksack at Newcastle’s historic Morden Tower (sadly now decommissioned) and amid the apologies and grovelling we started to chat and it turned out…this guy was the band. OK. Fast forward a hour or two and the whole room is glowing with rum, wearing witches hats and moaning and groaning under the instructions of the giant ginger instructor. It was a great night, a live spectacle, a shaking of hands across the Atlantic and all that.
In a plot hatched between Skot and Jonah Jameson (editor’s note: heh heh, very funny.) here I’ve scored a whole swag bag of ID M Theft Able goodies to talk/spraff/go wild about. OK…time to dig in and see what comes out first.
There’s a whole bunch of approaches across these releases. But Werthers Original/Bruised Apple are what some cats are calling sound poetry these days. Yeah….I kinda go with that description but there’s none of that academic frigidity in ID M’s voice. The psychedelic domestic is explored and probed with an adventurous tongue as word bombs light up the gloomy interior of my skull. The phrase “she slipped a Werther’s Original into my mouth and my eyes rolled round like a slot machine” is teased and taxed with no electronics or nothing. Just lips, teeth and throat flapping the gas out into my ear. The B-side (ID M describes this as a ‘kinda like a single’) is more overlapped with various ID Ms inhabiting different levels of time & space intoning his Bruised Apple schtick. The words, phrasing, inhalations of breath all stir together in a creepy kind of way making nonsense of sense and leading your lurching down the path mossy with glossalia. We need more of this mung in the top 40 you pop pickers.
The double CD-R package (HER BLOOD / BLOOD BLOOD) comes in the kind of triple folded pop-art collage folk like Richard Hamilton used to paste up and makes me happyjolly right from the off. Inside the delicate envelopes are two live discs; ‘HER BLOOD’ is pure vocal, feral choir chops, with an audience of youngsters and hipsters. ID M makes the process easy, explaining his cues to the assembled choir, then launches into a giant hissing and sighing piece that sounds like the world’s largest Whoopee Cushion deflating as Yoda settles his bony buttocks into the rubbery folds letting out a goose-honk ‘bronx cheer’. Phonetic consonants are rolled round moist gobs and spat into a crackling fire as some Chip, Chet or Chuck wonders ‘Why did he put that in? It’s plastic.’ There is an occasional bell ring from an old fashioned telephone to punctuate but, in the main it’s all live hiss conducted for the BBQ crowd. Wow. This is a hell of a heavy document.
‘BLOOD BLOOD’ (very confusingly) starts with The Verve then Florence and the Machine’s corporate indie rock, and what sounds like psycho-beard Matt Berry (from the IT Crowd fame) as some hapless XFM Jockey…until I realised I had knocked on the radio my mistake. Sheet! I listened for about 5 mins before realising my mistake. I think this serves as a salutary reminder of how diverse ID M’s chunks can be. I guessed it was some anglo-indie-tape piece. No dice!
Right…back to work, here’s the real deal. ‘BLOOD BLOOD’ starts with some speed rapping “I Want It” and breaks into brief verses from TLC’s classic ‘Waterfalls’ to spice things up. The infamous ‘box o’ things’ makes an appearance like some Harry Partch equipment hot-wired by the mice out of Bagpuss and cranked up tight by angry worker bees to sculpt the minimal poem ‘The Hole’; soft twanging tones rumble gently reminding me of a foam gamelan. ‘Encore!’ Chuck, Chet or Chip calls out squeakily and, ever the gent, Theft-san rolls his gums up round more tape-collage fuss to spit and slobber ‘I’m Swimming in Blood, Blood, Blood’ mixing gob-punk techno-squelch with random radio blather and feedback tweaks. A heavily amplified hamster cage is rattled for a bit like another Harry, this time of the Bertoia persuasion, was kidnapped and thrown in the boot seguing into the most primitive sampling this side of the Dave Howard Singers, ‘boof, Burrrfff….clunk!’ Wow. The audience babble and chat and laughter only makes this all the more dixy. As a beginners guide to the ID M universe this is a mightily good place to start.
So far there has been a knockabout, laff-a-minute thread to many of these ID M releases. Me, I love this. Does humour belong in music? If you don’t know the answer, pack up and go home man. But, ya’ know, we’re all different and I appreciate not everyone likes to listen to the band playing for yuks. OK…now that’s settled, the stern-gobs can be safe in the knowledge that Le 6eme Doight de Dwayne is pretty much a serious piece of group improv recorded in a basement so low ID M couldn’t even stand up in it. Instrumentation seems to be sporadic with metal percussion, keys, voice and occasional bass making a rich broth of hive-mind. For a tape recorded in Quebec in 2011 it has a very late 1980’s Eastern European quality (perhaps one of Martin Klapper’s shindigs?) with deliberate placement resulting in busy-brittle-rustling meshed up with junk/toy clatter. ‘Ching, ching…wurrrupp’ says a musical see-saw answered with polite restraint from the players. Things really take off when the voices babble in unison, the electronic bird caller warbles in the background, and throats coalesce into a single snort and honk chorus. Again… I’m a sucker for this approach and it takes me back to huddling under the bed covers listening to Mixing It on the verge of sleep; all the signals getting scrambled in my dozing brain.
Babb’s Bridge (on recycled Max Bygraves tape…I didn’t know Max had ‘broke’ America) channels a totally different approach to everything else I have heard up to now from Thefty (editors note: apparently originally released on vinyl in 2009 via a four-way label collaboration involving Veglia, King Fondue, Zeikzak and Taped Sounds).
Side one totally wrong foots me as it starts with a field recording/stream-of-consciousness poem that rambles politely across time, tense and sense to come up with demented couplets, “loves Kurt Cobain…forever, italiano cheek, 1980…Mike Gray is gay. Bleed rat bleed.” which the occasional knotty thump that I suspect is tapped out on Babb’s Bridge itself. Slowly it turns back into field recording as cars drive on and revellers shout. It’s all drawing to a close I think but, amid the sparse background chatter ID M continues with more precisely timed loves and losses, “the sexy ass beast” and most unusually, the occasional Wu Tang Clan quote. Then it dawns on me…he’s reading from the bridge itself, or rather from the accumulated graffiti that must be scrawled across it; picking up themes, repeating them, turning words and phrases inside out. What makes this all the more haunting and worthwhile is the calm and relaxed way it’s all delivered. There’s no am-dram shouting or over-enunciated performance poetry theatrics. It’s all matter-of-fact and chatty, like overhearing one half of a conversation between an anxious God and his disciples. A beautiful piece of music to add to the ever-growing no-audience underground sound poetry cannon.
Side two picks up the honky electronics, wires, tapes and samples approach. Flustered mouthings and fizzy lippings are laid out over Morse Code spurts while the wheels of a matchbox car are mashed into bright blue Play Doh. It’s all speed-of-thought chaffings and pips, rolling and lurching (bishp…booop. FZZZZZZZzzzz) that raises the pulse rate and stiffens the whiskers. The logic of the collage is taken to extremes with one sonic idea laying over its partner to create a herringbone pattern of interlocked brickwork. As one sound fades it’s cousin takes over, holding the construction tight, making it safe to walk over…just about perfect for a bridge yeah?
For a far more in depth understanding of this mysterious record (also available on vinyl) check out this vintage interview with the man himself. For more general intelligence on IDM look no further than his propaganda page: KRAAG.
I reckon I’ve listened to about 3 hours of IDM Theft Able straight this morning and it’s been a right tasty trip for my ears. I’ll listen to goof-off mouthing all day but it’s Babb’s Bridge that’s stolen my heart with it’s pure otherness. Use Google…check ‘em out Midwichers!