garlicky pillow talk: joe murray on thf drenching and i dm theft able

July 24, 2013 at 7:52 am | Posted in new music, no audience underground | 2 Comments
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THF Drenching – Cup Penis Open Penis Cup (CD-r, Council of Drent Recordings, edition of 50)

I’DM Thfftable – Popsicles, Icicles, Baseball And Fancy Clothes (CD-r, Chocolate Monk, choc.260)

thf drenching - cup openi'dm thfftable - popsicles

THF Drenching – Cup Penis Open Penis Cup

The great THF Drenching needs no introduction to the keen student of shifty Dictaphone shenanigans.  However, I realise not everyone is as obsessed as me so here is a potted history culled from the Observer Book of Dictaphones (1988):

THF (slave name Stuart Carlton) formed East Anglian Pop Sensation Pence Eleven in 1999 with some other bloke and got played on the radio loads.  Pence Eleven were all very clever and that but were still relying on songs with verse-chorus-verse leanings.  Stardom beckoned but Drench chucked all that lot in to create Limescale with everyone’s favourite grumpy old uncle Derek Bailey in 2002.   Drench dropped the guitarbassdrumpiano and now played a mean Dictaphone along with Sonic Pleasure on bricks, Derek on the usual guitar with Tony Bevan (sax) and Alex Ward (clarinet) to boot!  Hey – things were looking up!  Before, after and around this time THF rocked the mighty Pleasure Drenching Improvers with Sonic Pleasure again on common house bricks.

I caught their fizzy volcano full in the face at a rather impressionable age, this melted my head somewhat and things have never been the same since.

Thanks for the history lesson Pops but what’s this got to do with this here record?

…I hear you cry.  I’m trying (probably with a ham-fist) to build up a sense of history, a journey and all that, because our boy’s come a long way.  Cup Penis Open Penis Cup is a fully realised music concrete piece, with intent and purpose and a god-damn score and all that jazz.  The voluminous sleeve notes and inserts take you on a carefully planned trek around ‘Seven Kinder Dach Lieder’, ‘Sixty-Nine Fat-Stock Brevaries’ and ‘A Hundred Stirrup-Spout  Pots’.  The sound is classic English improv with a ‘chuck it all in’ approach.  Micro-recordings of belch, keyboard hump, domestic warning, tin percussion etc are carefully arranged in several dimensions at once.  Drench-o must have had a tidy editors head on so what might come out a mess sounds delightful Spartan and breezy.  Like me old muckers, Usurper, the thin line between just enough/too much is artfully balanced.  Listening to this on headphones is a real trip with that outside/inside thing really making me work it.  I have to keep taking my earphones out to see if that rolling marble/milkshake slurp is really inside my head or without.  And of course this discombobulation is all part of the experience with ‘Seven Kinder Dach Lieder’ going through several movements – increasing in complexity, colour and texture until you find yourself trilling and hissing in response to this Bakelite sound world.  ‘Sixty-Nine Fat-Stock Brevaries’ slows the pace with measured swells of electronics and bruised clouds of butter to make the kinda thing you hear on Radio 3, late at night with a cough-syrup jones.  Things continue in this vein for the lengthy ‘A Hundred Stirrup-Spout  Pots’ until THF takes things to the street with an un-holy Hip Hop sound; wrestling dumbbells, sweating profusely…drenched as it were!  I tried listening to this disc doing the normal domestic jizzle; packed lunch construction, cat-hair tumbleweed removal etc and realised I was doing Drench and myself a disservice…I was half stroking it.  Go the whole hog, dive in, Cup Penis Open Penis Cup demands your attention!

I’DM Thfftable – Popsicles, Icicles, Baseball And Fancy Clothes

All bow down to the rightful heir to Carl Stalling’s jump-cut, cartoon sound violence! 

ID M Theft able has been ploughing his fertile furrow of trash-culture, sound-sculptures for an age.  This bear of a man has a gentle touch with the ‘pings’ and ‘pops’ of non-idiomatic improv and honk-core jollies.  OK, so just listening on disc does miss out the visual aspect of the live ID M experience (catch a bus or train to catch this chap live Midwichers) but this is no less vinegary as super-frantic jump cuts and Donald Duck quacks assault my tender ear buds. 

But it’s not all fast forward scrimming, ID M places domestic snitches confidently to give this warmth and keep it all outta the avant-academy.  Was it that dullard Zappa that asked the question, does humour belong in music?  Well buddy I think Theftable has pretty much proved the argument, hands down, that you can play for yuks and still bristle a professors beard. 

Examples?   The lullaby of ‘Browning, Cooling’ melts over a glass hexagon making too much sound not enough.  ‘Leaving the awkward cook out only to find myself at another awkward cook out’ measures the cheap pre-set dog woof sounds (pretty much the worst manmade sound ever) and places them right next to real dog growls and barks (pretty much one of the best natural sounds ever) giving your nip a playful tweak and a wink that says ‘I know exactly how to ride this wave Chief’ all the while hurling chunky glops of mustard in your eye. Track 3, the mysteriously titled ‘A (lord or c)ie or y in the snow’ sounds like The Residents got hold of cLOUDDDEAD’s tape library and had a go at making a perfume advert.  Just when you think your poor old nervous system can’t take no more a simple loop (andoverandoverandover…) and wood block ‘click’ remind you of what true beauty is on the fade of ‘Vanishing Memories.’  Surprisingly, for this kinda jazz, ID M milks the cover version with a very secret and intimate version of Heart’s, ’These Dreams’.  No need for Spandex and hairspray this cuts right to the heart of the sentiment…garlicky pillow talk whistled through ginger whiskers.

Council of Drent (editors note: this site is hilarious. RH)

THF Drenching on Bandcamp

Chocolate Monk

I DM Theft Able

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