cloaking motion: joe murray on fvrtvr, mv carbon

February 23, 2016 at 1:00 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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FvRTvR – Following Shapes to the Edge of a Drift (white vinyl LP, Discombobulate, BOB009, edition of 250)

MV Carbon – The Sun Will Turn on You (red vinyl LP, Discombobulate, BOB008, edition of 250)


FvRTvR – Following Shapes to the Edge of a Drift

It starts with Fritz Welch’s close-miked

gowyn gowyn

(just for the record, one of my favourite ever sounds – mouth imitating ruler twanged off desk) and lurches into colourful electronic ‘shirrrs & buuurrr’ from Guido Henneböhl on, wait for it… Oxygen Filtration System!

Electronics, gob-tonics and Fritz’s percussive Hi-NRG clatter are the order of the day.  In fact both sides are blustering and busting-out all over in fine-detailed explosions.  Throughout side one the free-jizz bells and snare snaps pepper Guido’s dry squelch like sound croutons.  It’s hard to believe only four arms are responsible for this octopus-like rattle through the cupboards.

Sheets of static rain slash across the sound-horizon punctuated by the involuntary gasps and thwacks of an avant-garde gaucho.  In fact the clatter of hooves and sexy ripple of horseflesh is the perfect analogy for this kinetic rush.  Even the wired up systems sound kind of organic, like one of them novelty clocks powered by a juicy lemon.

A note on construction.  I’m no expert but these sides sound like several separate jams neatly stitched together rather than long instrumental rambles.  I’m a total fan of this patchwork approach and it nudges at my sweet-valentine keystone THE FAUST TAPES.  It’s the mood that swings like a trapeze from dark-elbowed bothering to sinister clown make-up to god-for-jolly nitrous oxide.

Side two is ever-so-slightly darker with gravity ripples and membranous jottling being pitched to a heathen god.  The pops and whirrs are heavy; like the silence in the room between hastily hurled insults.

Hey… but what’s really weird is how this record changes over time.  On another listening day the bad-vibes melt away and are replaced with a Carl Stalling-esque slapstick.  A pop art WHIZZ, BANG, BOING, making me think of anvils and rocket packs, desert canyons and cunning predators.  Like a perfect roast potato; crispy without and fluffy within.

It all ends in a soft rumbling mess.  Imagine a grenade full of fizz-bombs detonating sensual warmth through your groin.  Oh Lordy, that’s the ticket eh?

mv carbon

MV Carbon – The Sun Will Turn on You

I hardly ever listen to songs these days.

That’s not because I’m trying to be a super-cool more-avant-than-thou dick and, by the way, I’m not a pop hater.  It’s just that you get the Verse/Chorus/Versus stuff everywhere these days.  Every jingle, advert, trailer and the vast majority of radio play is all chunked-up using the same process.  I mean, even Slayer have sing-a-long choruses don’t they?

The structure of the pop song has redefined popular culture.  If it’s not snappy, repetitive and short-attentioned no one is bothered.  If it stretches the strict categorisation used by everyone from Freddie & The Dreamers to Taylor Swift it gets put into the cultural ‘difficult’ pile.

OK… so why all the head scratching and chin-stroking eh?  This is a fanzine record review not Talking Music Bollocks for Critics 101.  But listening to this heavy and beaky disc from the wonderful MV CARBON I reckon we’ve got a real third-way, a set of songs that buck the trend and settle comfortably into their own unique shapes without recourse to any Mersey-beat re-hash.

Pitch-black synths paint dark melodies.  The tottering-tones overlap and wrap around themselves.  Single notes shimmer, then bludgeon, then do both at the same time.  Gaps open up (especially on side two) creating unnatural pauses that would mess up even the most dedicated time signature.

When Carbon sings, speaks and chants, she’s often toking on a Dub effect or double track, creating ghost-like backing vocals or eerie pre-vocal sighs.  In the one similarity to regular pop music these do float on top of the cascading musical accompaniment but in Carbon’s hands they are more like an oil slick, rolling with their own dark energy and cloaking motion.

There’s little repetition to ‘hook’ you to a particular moment.  In fact the endless churning momentum is the thing; the endless chug forward is its own reward.  Even the occasional drums don’t play in circular patterns but a more linear way, rolling like the waves, punching out an accent or highlighting a vocal pattern and then retreating back into the mix until they are needed again.

It all feels very ‘wrong’ and that of course is what makes it so right.



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