More reviews of
THE FREEDOM FROM label
this page: vinyl
JASON LESCALLEET: Another
example of Parkinson's Law 7-inch (FREEDOM FROM)
of all the 'electro-acoustic' type shit I've reviewed for this
issue -- Pimmon, Drumm, etc. -- this might just stand as the quietest
and most subtle, as well as the most effectively brief and concise.
Since the unplanned but emerging themes from this issue of Blastitude
seem to be, one, "I have too many electro-acoustic improv-type
noise records" and two, "Most records, especially noise
records, are often too long," this is really a nice cup of
tea to be served so late in the game. Maybe all improv-type noise
artists should only be allowed to release 7-inches from now on.
At least for a couple years.
SIGHTINGS 7-inch (FREEDOM FROM)
catalog on the Freedom
From website lists so many raving press testimonials for this
record, I almost feel like I should write an intentional dis of
it in order to maintain my individuality. But I can't, because
this is maybe one of the better noise-rock records I've heard
in ten years. It's even as good as Lightning Bolt! Right now SO
many people are trying to 'make noise ROCK again' that hearing
people try to do it has become no more exciting than hearing noise
itself. And the thing is, people think they're bringing rock back
into noise, when really all they're bringing back into it is rock
posturing. Noise is still noise no matter what kind of costume
you dress it up in. Well, the Sightings very successfully bring
rock back to noise, and by the sounds of this 7-inch no costumes
or drama routines are necessary. Not that they can't posture too;
when you kick this much ass, you can wear all the costumes you
want, or khaki pants and Abercrombie & Fitch baseball caps.
Some bands just earn it.
THE VIBRACATHEDRAL STRING
I like Neil Campbell and the Vibracathedral Orchestra, but I've
always felt his release schedule was a little overbooked. I mean,
I'd be glad to own a couple records by the guy, maybe even three,
but 30? 40? If you add up all of his/their CD-R's, cassettes,
lathe-cuts, and comp appearances to the regular LP's and CD's,
he/they have probably released more records than Reynols. These
Premises Are No Longer Bugged, now that's a great LP. But
Lino Hi, strangely enough, barely made a ripple on my consciousness,
even when I put it on repeatedly, with the express intent of 'getting
rippled.' Versatile Arab Chord Chart sounded great when
a friend played it on my radio show, but then I bought my own
and it never sounded quite the same at home. I did dig the Neil
Campbell half of a split CD-R with Universal Indians I lucked
onto a couple years ago. Hmm, maybe that's it -- I like Neil Campbell
solo, piling on thick layers of fuzz-caked overdubs, but (and
I realize I'm pretty much alone in this opinion) I'm not so into
the cleaner, brighter group version Vibracathedral offers.
But, as suggested above, the 7-inch
is seeming like a better and better format for improv-type drone-type
noise-type music, and I like what I've got here. The gimmick of
having side one be a jam for strings (gtr, violin, etc.) and side
two a jam for percussion (cymbals, bells, drums) works very nicely.
Thing is, side one's dense cloud of super-burrowing super-layered
hum ends very abruptly, and ironically, would've sounded good
at 20 minutes. This record would've made as good of a 12-inch
as a 7-inch, one of the few records this
ish I've wanted to be longer instead of shorter.
BIRCHVILLE CAT MOTEL: Jewelled
Wings LP (FREEDOM FROM)
a year ago while hosting a radio show I played a track from a
co-host's copy of Richard Youngs's House Music, a CD recorded
entirely at home, without any electricity-based sounds at all.
Bowed oven trays, rubbed wine glasses, that sort of thing. This
Birchville Cat Motel LP features the same methodology, recorded
at home with "no electric instruments, no effects, and no
overdubs!" it says on the Birchville
website. The funny thing is, the track I heard by Youngs left
me cold, while this Birchville LP is pretty frickin' hot. In fact,
with winter coming, I plan to play this record in lieu of having
a fireplace in my living room; it's got this glowing-ember sound
to it that I find quite cozy.
Side one features a hum that
glows while epic crinkle happens in the other room. A whistle,
or maybe a string instrument, or maybe something else entirely,
starts harmonizing with the glow-hum and lovely bells start slowly
chiming. It's calm and beautiful. Side two mines a similar vein,
although to somewhat eerier effect. Either way, the website calls
it "gospel music" and it certainly works that way for
me. A nation of couch potatoes would be justified if they reclined
to this instead of Seinfeld. And dig that cover art...gives
me Brakhage flashbacks...