rolling gums, stiffening whiskers: joe murray on id m theft able

November 3, 2013 at 8:48 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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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

her blood-blood blood oneher blood-blood blood twoRFM IDM

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!

group mind clank: the murray dynasty on ua yenoh cry cry, le drapeau noir and various various artists

October 2, 2013 at 12:01 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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space and order

Ua Yenoh Cry Cry – Space and Order (C40 tape, Orl Records and Paraphernalia, orl17, edition of 100)

Ua Yenoh Cry Cry is some Shon Mahoney dude from the USA doing his solo jizz on the cheeky Greek label, Orl.  Who sez the no-audience underground doesn’t get around eh?  Well packaged with some lace/plant cell motif this sexy little tape slips into bed and spoons you without any small talk.  Headline…degraded loops of keyboard mung and gentle brown distortion fug round the corners of some proper tunes that repeat and loop and repeat.

Now then, reviewing tapes can be a lonely business so this time I enlisted young master Posset for his views.  We did the Burroughs/Bowie/Gysin method to create a two-mind, stream of consciousness thing.  You get the drift.  So catch this one:

Soft waves of chords and notes travel to you from another space as black rubber drone pipes get huffed leaving a sooty halo round the gob. The ever growing drone wobbles and shakes; micro-syringe sounds swagger like mercury badgers waddle.  ‘Verberating beacon flashing highs and lows bridging the gap between no-audience underground and the hipster set…a crossover hit?  A meditation on ferric construct?  The incessant ringing becomes more eerie and sinister as kindergarten keyboard melodies (played by stubby fingers) lighten up a blowfly hum.  The sci-fi organ continues to bless us with more notes and patterns as the drone pauses and sound pierces the atmosphere.  The ominous furious-classical rusts and decays.

(Editor’s note: woah… can you dig it?!  Whilst they were being super-jive hep cats Joe and son created a visual review of this tape too.  Check it out.)

Hope that’s all useful my dearest reader.  And if not Orl have a snazzy website with all the sounds so you can do a judge for yourself.

le drapeau noir - whalley range

Le Drapeau Noir – Whalley Range (C30 tape, Krayon Recordings, KR020)

A whole family of mungfarmers: Chora, Part Wild Horses Mane on Both Sides and The Hunter Gracchus team-up like DC’s finest to beat up swollen-headed bad guys.  This is reconnaissance blues.  A stealthy assault, silently slipping a dagger between the ribs…you don’t know you’re cut till you drop to your knees.  My head was here, there and everywhere when I first jammed this one so I bribed Master Posset again to give me a hand with the cut-up technique:

Group-mind clank and free reed drone; quivering waves and harmonic screams with cymbals thrashing, drums beating.  Imagine the Edinburgh tattoo populated not by purple rinsed matriarchs but the very you and me; but there’s subtle feedback behind the violence.  They shriek, “A river flowing out to the sea embraces the thick salty arms of wild current.”  Whooping and gentle rings pierce the heavy beat of a solemn drum but among the soft rock, soldiers march in concentric patterns – shifting your gaze starts the sands to pour down one channel.  Slight shakes can be heard but they’re not alone in the sound of this dark opera.  The grain of moans is rough, a feral call to prayer.  Then the noises clear and all that is left is the drums and metallic, echoing howls.

Yup.  That’s it.  It’s been out for a while now but still available via the ever reliant bandcamp.

RFM_CM Tour Tape 1RFM_CM Tour tape 2RFM_CM tour tape 3

Infinite Gaaah / Blood Stereo / Usurper / Pengo – Summer 2013 Tour (cassette and inserts, Giant Tank)

I missed my opportunity to get one of these on the actual tour but later was cock o’hoop to slam it in the tape drawer and dribble on the eiderdown as it gushed.  Infinite Gaaah takes a couple of loops of sweating machinery, roasts ‘em up nice and hot and plunges them in ice-cold cider.  Bright and refreshing.  Blood Stereo take a nice set of domestic cackles and record in the garden (it has been a great summer eh?) bending and shaping loops like they were silvery zinc.  A dinosaur’s tears roll down scaly cheeks while a caveman mungs on.  It could be that I have all that Opal Tapes stuff locked in my head and I’m making unnatural connections between things.  Check out your nearest hipster coffee room.  Are they playing Blood Stereo?  Thought so…the tide is changing and the Blood shall inherit the earth.  The Usurper employ egg whisk and bottletop-rattle, twanging ruler and various dull ‘clunks’ to make a pastoral piece of gentle loveliness.  Like listening to the breathing of a new born baby this has an innocent rise and fall with sweet chirrups of milk-sour breath making your nose wrinkle and say, ‘Ahhhhhhhh-bless’. Pengo come across like a beefy Spacemen 3 raised on good old beer rather than that nasty heroin.  But the routes to transcendental bliss are buffeted and bruised by honking geese and wild fowl as the kind of echo-action King Tubby saves for extra strength dub gets hurled about.  A mighty tape document of this season’s tip-top sounds baby.

…and if these sounds were not enough there is visual tosh to viddy while you listen.  Karen Constance & Dylan Nyoukis collaborate on a tidy cardboard box cover (that squeaks pleasingly on opening) and four C-30 sized postcards printed with a kind of kinky Victoriana that raise a variety of chin-strokers around the medical aesthetic.  Release the foxes!

See the Duff and Roberton tumblr and email ‘em for availability.

RFM_Blue Spectrum comp coverRFM_Blue Spectrum Comp 1

Blue Spectrum Tapes Artzine #4 (Various Artists Patterns Grown Like Crabgrass CD-r and 30 page art-book, Blue Spectrum Tapes, edition of 50)

Another intriguing package from Brum’s Blue Spectrum.  The zine cradles a selection of ‘cut ‘n paste’ collages from Mr Blue and the occasional photo-copy blurr/photo shot from some of the other collaborators.  I’m no expert but I’m guessing the zine as we know it is celebrating it’s 40th birthday right about now. But there’s no grey hairs or paunch for this slim-hipped package…it crackles with punk energy and sticky edges.

As for the disc, there’s 17 jokers on here all pumping it hard and bursting forth with variations on scorched-earth noise, rusty-metal-clanging noise, throat curdling noise and black ambient noise.  For reasons beyond my ken there seems to be a hard drinking theme to this comp; it all starts off pleasant enough but before long you’re wobbling on your heels and puking down someone’s neck.  A guilty knee tremble round the back then it’s nosh first into some deep-fried nightmare.  Most notable mentions go to the Gas Mask Horse for recording a bouncer’s dark thoughts pre kick-off, Yol for an increasingly unhinged closing time lament (to Kebabs it seems), Kapali Carsi’s subtle mic bumble that wanders into sound poetry, Robert Ridley Shackleton’s enraged ripping sound stretched low and slow and the extra-violent, knuckle duster kerfuffle from Blue Spectrum himself.  There’s over an hour of sub-underground noise and drone in this sleek edition of 50.  Don’t wait ‘til they ring last orders.

Buy here.

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