gruff-smog-rackets: joe murray on leif elggren, daniel padden, fritz welch, drew wright

March 10, 2016 at 1:01 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Leif Elggren – Das Baank (vinyl LP, Rekem Records / Fragment Factory, rekem 09 / [FRAG36], edition of 300)

Daniel Padden, Fritz Welch & Drew Wright – The Forgotten Voices of Unclean Men (tape, Beartown Records, edition of 50)


Leif Elggren – Das Baank

Spooky bald-head Leif is one of the most out-est of coots around.  While your chin-strokers would call this Sound Art I’d wrinkle up my nose, spit out the retort

gruff-smog-rackets, mate

and dribble into a labelled test tube.

The insert that comes with Das Baank talks about the sin of Usury and various other clues point the concept towards finance and the giant mess it makes of the world.  Hey… why not?  We’re all being fucked by Das Baank… why not meter out some sonic revenge?

I press play eagerly.  I once watched Leif stalk around Brighton a few years ago with his Guds Soner boots on and this cat is smooth like greased milk.

And, while this is more rawkus than I was expecting it’s still a well-composed and measured gift.  The intro sounds like a fat kid sitting on a church organ, struggling to get comfortable; huffing out duck-egg farts while angels with wide pores let lazy breath hover between slack mouths.  The battle of the airs (massive complex man-made pipes versus weak and corrupt humans) is fought out for five minutes or so, each block of sound hauled up like those Stonehenge Bluestones, until (spoiler alert) it’s the machines that win.  Like terminator or something? (A1)

The remainder of side one is made up of meditations on deep iceberg groans (A2) or the sound of my old electric razor uselessly trying to shave potatoes (A3).  Yeah.  This is one intriguing mix.

Flipping this like a damp pancake I find myself in an altogether more hostile environment.  I need to don the goggles for (B1), hastily re-titled in my yeast-bound brain to ‘Flash Gordon’s Rocket Ship’, spitting black lightning from a tin arse.   The ambient breather (B2) is the exact sound a ping-pong ball makes when balanced on taut electrified strings.  But this time all the electrics happen in a long copper pipe.  You dig?!

We get smaller still on (B3), the inside of a lovely leathery accordion where you are a dust-mite battered by the stale whoosh of pressure – very holy and that.  Expecting more sound art smears I’m taken aback to hear, on the closer (B4), a field recording of Shane Embury’s bass amp on extreme overload blustering and blistering form before the other chaps kick in.  You suffer!


Daniel Padden, Fritz Welch & Drew Wright – The Forgotten Voices of Unclean Men

This is the god-damn BOMB man!

Imagine all your favourite vocal-jaxx styles & stars: Rhythmic Balinese Kecak , Wounded Knee’s oatcake gob-loops, Blue Yodel’s witchy funk and… errr… The Flying Pickets.

Imagine all this lung-pop and distil it into a Power Trio glass beaker.  We’ll ask that Clapton, Bruce and Baker to hang up their psychedelic rags for a minute and embrace the lips, teeth, throat and tongue as you bubble with the Bunsen.

But wait-on.  The style is no-way-Jose jowly-flubber!  No wet-mouth farts here boss.  It’s more of a composed ting with ‘sung’ parts and a manly chorus backing up like goofy Jordanaires.

You want examples eh?  Get this… a sick-doofus refrain is launched into the sky and picked up and used as a beach ball while a revolving door of chaps embellish with a wack-wack solo.  It’s gloriously entertaining and (dare I say it) fun!  In fact… I‘m smiling as wide as a smug old goat while all three cake-holes gibber and hoddle, flap and waddle.

The range of hissing, whooping, ch-ch-ch-ching, yelps and scat sounds is remarkable.  It covers the holy shaman in her yurt to the hysterical commuter on the monorail; Laurie Anderson’s ‘ooooooo’ riff to the self-conscious bluffer blowing hot air into a disinterested marketing conference.

All-in-all it’s an all consuming ritual.   Both sidelong pieces are wrapped up tight like a Quality Street but a careful listen (and I’ve hoofed this time & time again) makes me think Mr D Padden has been busy with the shears going ‘snip snip’.

You puritans… relax!

The edit is as sensitive and slick as a Nile Rodgers lick. Each voice is perfectly symmetrical to its breathy comrades.  Taking a leaf outta the big book D Boon & his Minutemen wrote there is a pure equality; each vocal part is balanced and essential to its partner building up like a tripod… a human pyramid as the babble is kicked like a limp Hacky Sack between each soul in their 60 degree corner.

Can you live another day without knowing what happened when doo-wop sucked a Righteous Oxide cream puff?

You know what to do.


Rekem Records

Beartown Records

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