(Public Eyesore page)
NOTE: Soundness CD-R (PUBLIC EYESORE)
Public Eyesore label just keeps getting more and more
ambitious. Based in Decorah, Iowa, on initial glance the
label seems like some sort of Minneapolis-region harsh
noise kind of thing…the label name, for example, would
reflect that....…but upon closer inspection, it's clear
that CEO Bryan Day is on a whole different level. Like
this release, for example, a recording of an improvisational
trio from Sapporo, Japan that plays sax, stand-up bass,
and electronics. The whole thing could easily be released
on some sort of 'art music' imprint…it reminds me not
a little of the Nachtluft CD that just got reissued as
part of Atavistic's "Unheard Music" series. The difference
is the tenor sax and stand-up bass, which give Kangaroo
Note more of a 'trad' jazz sound. While several tracks
(notably the first one) offer way-out rumbling and blasting
in a very impressive style from the get-go, here and there
the disc slows down just a little with either the saxist
or bassist taking a ballad/blues approach against which
the other players juxtapose more avant sounds, most notably
the edgy electronics by Aso Takashi. I prefer the purely
out stuff, but the trio interplay is very good throughout,
and just the fact that this disc exists is impressive…Sapporo,
Japan? I've gotta reiterate the question that Dead Angel
e-zine asked: "Where does Bryan find this stuff?"
FUKKTRON & HAIR
AND NAILS CD-R (PUBLIC EYESORE)
I like these bands! Fukktron is Vanessa & Dino and
Hair and Nails is Walenska & Dino. This 71+ minute
disc features about 17 tracks by each of 'em. Fukktron
kicks it off with a dense stew of wild, churning noise,
mumbled vocals, and weird guitar playing. It's great,
but you've maybe sorta heard it before, so it's the next
track, "pudding pampers," that really sets a
distinctive tone, featuring a funky scrambled-beat chant
hip-hop kinda thing that is basically the underground
antidote for PJ Harvey and/or late-period Prince. It's
funkier and grittier than both of 'em; when female vocals
emerge from the noise-funk background haze Twin Infinitives
comes to mind, but the cry of "yeah!" at the end of one
line sounds just like Valerie Scroggins from ESG, and
that might have been Dino singing because it sounds like
Vanessa's doing the rapping. Or is it the other way around?
Sexy/funky androgynous noise, right on! And besides the
whole track is only two minutes long, followed by several
98% instrumental tracks, no-wavey lurch-huzz and extended
Towards the end of
the Fukktron portion of the release, on "bc" the vocals
are sped up beyond gender over a warping guitar jam that
starts to sound like The Melvins playing under a pillow.
The next song, "cd", sounds more like The Melvins playing
in their practice space, or at least like a real rock
band, with guitar and drums playing heavy riffs, and a
great pan-ethnic vocal chant coming in halfway through.
"cd" is definitely one of the best new rock songs I've
heard this entire year. Remember rock songs? 17 Fukktron
tracks in all, with titles like "darkroom televator,"
"k-y firebird,' 'charlene's diploma,' 'you are samantha,"
"no shuts," "red pill," blue pill," "do done," most of
them short, all right to the fucking point. Their last
track, "do done", starts with a blast of tape skree that
turns out to be room hiss on a cheap recording of someone
watching TV. Some ominous sounds start coming from the
background, but they might just be someone working in
the kitchen. At 5:36, it's most likely the longest track
on here. Okay, the insane noise guitar playing in the
background at the three-minute mark is definitely not
someone just working in the kitchen. There is some post-production.
Hair and Nails,
again, is another duo featuring Dino, but with Walenska
instead of Vanessa. Pretty similar approach, lots of garbled
garbage-burrowing sound experiments, without the occasional
song-like vocal thing a la "pudding pampers." (Though
vocals can be heard, or at least felt, on the great "red
vidwhirl," two manic minutes of hazy super-abstract burrowing
crunching microcircuitry jamming...waitaminnit, those
aren't vocals, just some whirling high-pitched electronic
sound that sounds like Little Richard himself goin' "wooh!
wooh! wooh!") Track 22, "punctured face," ends
with twisted carnival sounds from a keyboard. Track 23,
"centuryshifter," starts with a weird percussiony
thing that gets drowned out by moaning/squelching noise.
Track 10, "no shuts," is a grinding bit of slowed-tape
slurpage, sorta the sound Non was getting mastering old
thrift-store records played at 16 RPM to even shittier
vinyl and drilling three holes in the middle and then
etching into the vinyl so when the needle hits certain
parts an added layer of horrid hiss comes out of the speakers.
Oh wait, that's a Fukktron track, and I'm on the Hair
and Nails portion of the review. Oh well, no matter; this
is one of those rare occasions I feel comfortable quoting
a hippie: "It's all good!" -- Brad Sonder
VARIOUS ARTISTS: Analagous
Indirect LP (PUBLIC EYESORE)
I'm like you, whenever I get a compilation album of any
kind, I usually listen to it once or twice, and then it
ends up stowed away in the back of my collection. This
is strange, because I don't even subscribe to the cliche
that compilation LPs feature just "leftovers"
and "outtakes that were taken out for a reason".
In fact, compilation records often blow me away. For example,
the CDs that come with zines like Bananafish, Muckraker,
and Ptolemaic Terrascope are always great. I've got a
three-record set on Impulse called Energy Essentials
that I wouldn't part with for anything. Hell, I've even
got an '80s pop compilation that I'll never part with,
because it has Spandau Ballet's "True" on it.
This LP from Public Eyesore seems destined for the same
lofty status -- it might even be the most impressive various
artists record in my collection right now. Hats off to
Public Eyesore CEO Bryan Day. Here's what he's assembled
for us, in order:
3 minutes of
great stark & squelching solo electronics by one Ando
Kunihiro. A few seconds in it reveals itself to be cello
(actually contrabass -- ed.) run through effects. Puts
me in the mind of Motoharu Yoshizawa's solo bass improvising,
of course, but also of Michigan resident John Olson's
naked-ass barely-released "improvised handmade electronics"
trilogy (Bone Columns, Sand-Bagged Lagoon,
and Double Right Hands). Ends suddenly to the applause
of 3-4 people. Ando plays in the group Kangaroo Note,
with a CD-R also on Public Eyesore. (See elsewhere this
page -- ed.)
to get weirder and goofier, here using gibbering echoey
vocals to elevate a dada-improv opening into a no-wave
rocker into a very suavely done backwards-tape collage-type
thing. With this track, Monotract have practically become
the Boredoms -- they really are on that level.
Port are an improv electric guitar duo that continue to
carve out a unique sound in a limited genre. I have yet
to hear a New Port full-length (one is forthcoming, yet
again on Public Eyesore), but the two short comp tracks
I've heard (on EFCSSCDR and here) have been totally
head-cleaning. They use the same harsh tones as their
Minneapolis improv electric guitar duo forbears Negro
(a/k/a Modehji Freeman), but with a more sparse approach
-- not necessarily quieter, but leaving much more space.
(Note: the only Negro I've ever heard was on the cassette
that came with Muckraker #...6? New Port is much more
spacious (chill?) than that release, anyway...)
is/are one of the biggest 'stars' on this comp, a somewhat
"old-school" Japanoisician with releases on
the Alchemy label. His/her/their track is great; it's
called "'loop 7," and features some stopping-and-starting
squelching electronics that don't actually sound looped,
just minimalist, and are soon overlaid with great streaming
noise that cuts in and out and changes frequencies, and
also doesn't actually sound looped, just minimalist.
Luttenbachers contribute "dog death," a very
strange track that starts with dirgey bass drone that
is quickly overtaken by crazy loud-but-strangely-airy
electronic treatments. After this shitstorm subsides,
aggressive free drum music emerges from the mix, and I
finally start to believe that this is actually a Luttenbachers
track. It is rare to hear a free music drummer, even the
good ones, and hear a truly distinctive approach. Graves,
Murray, Bennink, and Oxley are distinctive, to name four....and
whaddayaknow, Weasel Walter is right up there with 'em.
Here, his playing is mixed strangely enough to be distinctive
by default, but his singular musicality burns through
anyway, particularly the willfully superhuman volume and
power and weird boxing syncopations. Believe the hype
-- he really is combining death metal with free jazz,
and he seems to be getting better as he goes. I'm guessing
this track is a fervent duo for contrabass and drums recorded
in an empty warehouse in Chicago and then post-produced
to hell for inclusion herein.
chip in "cd," which you might remember as also
appearing on the Fukktron & Hair and Nails
CD-R, also on Public Eyesore, also reviewed on this very
web page. Up there, I call it "one of the best new
rock songs I've heard this entire year," so I certainly
don't mind having it show up again, especially here, as
it's backbeat is a welcome rock foundation in the fairly
raging sea that has come before it.
Moore floats you all the way to shore, that is, the end
of side one, with a calm pretty piece called "o michigan."
Soft woodsy chord strums that hum softly and evolve into
a drony shuffle. Ends with a snippet from some record,
Alice Cooper I believe. No obligatory obvious 'noise'
or 'improv,' just calm soulful hush-folk, a style also
heard to great effect on the "Lydia's Moth/Not Me"
10-inch by the Moore/Tom Surgal duo. And, when I think
about it, the Klangenfarbenmelodie performance
released by Corpus Hermeticum, even though it's louder,
is still basically languid hush-folk.)
now for side two! Jonas Lindgren kicks it off with "myrornas
krig - vit." It starts with Sukora-ish silence (room
hum and eventual quiet crinkle). Not so Sukora-ish is
the way the crinkle gets steadily louder as the piece
goes. After a bit, other electronic night-time insect
whirrs and skipping runout groove ambiances creep in,
and, because you'll probably have your stereo up loud
because of the intro, it might get kind of scary.
don't know who Billy? is, but they're next with "y-tok,"
which is more on the computer/digital/'glitch' end of
the noise spectrum. Is this what Pimmon and Seht sound
like? I think so, as I've heard both of those bands, er,
guys, er, projects before, and I think I like both of
'em. Like I say elsewhere in this issue of Blastitude,
it's my elevator music, and Billy? does it well too.
Blue offer "A Pool Wound," a short, cavernous
guitar droneout. Very short, in fact; before you know
it, you're right into the next track, Kazumoto Ondo &
Yoko Sato's "Yoko Is A Punk Rocker." It sounds
more like Nurse With Wound than it does the Ramones, as
chanting female vocals duet with icy French art-woman
vocals, alternated with harsh blasts of noise and a couple
other disorienting effects. The eerie lamenting/chanting
vocals really put a nice spin on this track.
is Cornucopia, from Puerto Rico; I've heard one-half of
Cornucopia, Jorge Castro, play some calm and pretty guitar
stuff in a duet with Carlos Giffoni (see review last issue),
but the Cornucopia track on here is some harsh, screaming
noise. However, whenever the noise intermittently breaks
into strangely funky lock grooves, I somehow catch a whiff
of Castro's more 'ambient' sound.
that particular Cornucopia track with a track by harsh,
screaming noise maven John Wiese is striking, as they
both work at a very similar intensity and within more
or less the exact same tonal frequency. If you're not
actually looking at the vinyl to see when the needle goes
from one band to the next, you might easily mistake them
for the same track. In retrospect, the obvious difference
is that Wiese never breaks into the lock grooves that
is "She's Laughing At Me" by Sickness, another
band I've never heard of, and surprise, it's ALSO in the
same frequency/intensity parameter as the Cornucopia and
Wiese offerings, the compilation's third straight track
of harsh streaming noise. You could say that the programming
of the LP isn't balanced or varied enough, but now that
I know what's going on, I like to see it in theoretically
visual terms, the three consecutive harsh noise tracks
forming a little monochromatic clot on one little section
of one side of the LP.
this theoretical clot further is the final track by Automobile.
It also uses noisy sounds, but they seem more acoustic
in nature, and are played live in a room, rather than
run direct into a recording unit. Most importantly, the
sounds are made spaciously and calmly, creating a piece
more still, empty, and quiet than the last three. Public
Eyesore CEO and presumably, the compiler of this LP, Bryan
Day is in Automobile, and possibly may be involved with
some of the other otherwise-unknown-to-me artists on here.
In fact, I'd like to know more about most everyone on
here, which is the sign of a good comp.