Sunday, April 13, 2014

THE LANTRIFIED GENTRY: Stefan Jaworzyn on Kye

Stefan Jaworzyn
The Annihilating Light LP
Kye Records KYE 28

Mostly in-situ synth affair from Ascension/Descension/Skullflower and [recently reheated] Shock label figurehead Stefan Jaworzyn. My relation to the man began when I was a middle school outlier, unwrappin' a copy of Sauter/Dietrich/Moore's Barefoot In the Head on his aforementioned label and puzzlin' bout (in the way we use-ta in the pre-Internet era) why it was so hard to find anythang else on that imprint (read: as a 13-year-old pro-loner in a know-nuthin' town). Apparently, I wasn't alone in my wonderings and disappoint, cuz Shock releases ran cold as the streams offa Blood Mountain but moments after hittin' pavement for most of the label's salad days. Later on, a crew of leather'd longhairs with manually-enlarged earlobes chucked Form Destroyer by Skullflower in my general direction and lo a whole scope of scuzzy possibilities appeared--not the least of which was the wealth that is the Broken Flag imprint. And then I learnt he was all up in Whitehouse, too. (Hell, Stefan even "gave away" the bride at the Lambkin-Hoyos wedding, according to a recent interview I read offa my scribblin' screen.)
Then time passed and somehow I got him confused with Stephan Mathieu from Main et al. for a minute, which'll, to all y'all, either make a weird kinda sense or cast light on how much my brain resembles the moth-bitten basement with a French drain (i.e. a channel for the ass-end runoff of a river kept alive cuz some Confederate general watered his horse in it--long enough ago that there was such a beast as a Confederate general ta begin with and, yeah, in that part of These United...) that once propped up an ol' "house" of mine. 
I disambiguated alla that when I found out Mathieu had released a record of e-Bow'd autoharps or some such wad of keech years back and realized it couldn't be the same dude. So...

"Oasis of Filth" (aka Side A) is a squalid onsen of looped 1/4" adapter bumps and roof drizzle. Much as I am reminded of Moon's Milk-era Coil (speakin-on the Shock label...) throughout this record, there is something of the latter-day tendency [in longform noise-lineage musics] toward cycle/repetition w/o rhythm in this spring-reverb'd bongwater spill that puts me at least a lil in mind of the Richard Youngs aesthetic. The humidity and all-'round menace to the simmers herein continue to steam my living room on repeated listens.
Side B, on the other hand, I'm at odds with. Much as I think it would pair well with Tietchens's "Teilmenge 33A" in its manic itchiness, I don't think it holds its own without, as ol William Carlos Williams woulda said, another track lighting it.
Still, an intriguing chapter in Jaworzyn's career. If'n you need a refresher course in the depth and breadth of the music of his youth, the Kino series of heretofor-unreleased Skullflower on his Shock label shit'll get ya right and sorted.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


Rob & Stefan
Manic Guitar Sessions, white cassette edition
Albert's Basement

This collection of unreleased electric/fretless electric duets from the Christchurch in the early 90s took a few flips to finally catch me, but now it's unspoolin' just fine. Something clicked when I read the frets in Stefan's guitar were removed manually; threw a weird and wonderful light on things. The accountant's version of this affair (Oh, you mean the "you had to ask" segment. --Ed.) is that it's a clutch of half-in-the-bag "jams" from a coupla blokes clearly keen on D Boon, early twitchy surf instrumentals, and mid-seventies Magic Band. That's a fine enough tipple for me, and they certainly don't kowtow toward any specific longitude, but what don't quite add up is whether this bears the akimbo worldview of classic 80s Kiwi indie intentionally, by osmosis, or just cuz that aura comes free with purchase of a 4-track in those parts. Havin' no bio for either of these folks, I'm gonna assume it's just in the air, or my brain fillin' in the Mad Lib blanks my ears done carved. In the end, this is best viewed as a document of a working relationship with a set of legs I hope took 'em somewhere further than a living room and the two blocks to the nearest licka sto'. There's promise in these reels.

Thread Bare 7" 45rpm
Albert's Basement

Looped, layered 'n chanted sound poem smoke-out from who the fuck knows. Seems to have been shadowed by the same fog what drizzle-dropped on Elklink, Klyd Watkins, and those haunted/silly vocal bits on the first Fraser & Debolt. Ya can just feel the wispy white webschapstick collected at the corners of their lips. As is the case with the aforenamechecked, "terse" and "effective" be neck-to-neck. Thankfully, the format allows Moffarfarrah just enough footage to eep, wheeze, gasp, and chew the scenery to get the business did. "To everyone who has lived," may be the most inclusive dedication in art history. Really, dude? Errybody? From Pol Pot and an drunken mechanic from Des Moines to your downstairs neighbor and the rest of every phone book everywhere ever? Ain't nobody that forgiving.
Plays at 45, but a drop to 33.3 adds a moany, Halloween element I'd be remiss in leaving out. Pairs suitably well with the recent reish of Preggy Peggy's snort-n-giggle-fest, recorded in a rental car, A Short Visit to the City That Bleeds, if'n its runnin' time leaves you jonesin' mightily.

Untitled 7" 33.3rpm
Albert's Basement

I do so heart a handmade sleeve and mine (which differs wonderfully from the above snap) has all the fingernail-chipped marker blots of a well-aged elementary school textbook. As for the sounds contained, Matt Earle is involved. For some that may suffice or cast light. For the rest of the world, Side A is a long walk off an amp pier; how the highway feels when my pickup truck is hungover. Side B casts a bit more light on this amiable mess, via an alternating throb with a sinus infection, a wounded cymbal and the occasional mumble evaporatin' outta the kitchen sink grit trap. Anthems for listless 4am navel lint extraction. Muura appeared on the staggeringly thorough Feral Flotsam 2xcass comp the following year and on the seminal Breakdancing the Dawn back in the CD-r epoch. Your guess is as good as gunk.

Monday, April 7, 2014


Good Area
Cubic Zirconia/Bad Karlshafen 7"
Kye Records KYE 707

Another dislocatin' transmission from this pair of Philly loons and, again, I sprint to confess a major deficiency in comprehension regardin they mindset. And I seen 'em live, in the flesh, in a musty basement even! What I can say is, fear not: they still ekin' out (read: eek!-ing out) a courageous existence in the disused factory district of the Philippe Blanchard prefecture, shacked up somewhere between F-rants and the Durchschnittsanfall comps, and makin' din outta whatever bits layeth around that be neither garment nor utensil (and don't quote me 'bout the latter). FF-garbled recitations, busted/dusted trumpet, tin drum machine and tabletop guitar are all hoovered up in the slipstream of a garbage truck with no air-brakes. (Incidentally, do trashmen in Philly still tie, like, teddy bears to the front of their trucks? Am I makin' that memory up?) 
Look, I know what you're thinkin', lookin' at the format of this release and the answer is no. Just cuz this thang is less than half the run-time of the French Antarctica LP, don't mean shit's gotten reined in like a mule for the plow, or simplified to harvest support from the ADHD crowd. No, sir. It just means each and erry one o' dem slender grooves is double-stuffed with abandominiums fulla cracked aural notions. It's like the Swill Radio catalog compressed into black hole spaghettini.
I ain't heard much of the tape they put out last year on their Vitrine imprint (nor more'n a sip of Debris Music neither, as I blink too slow for the 21st century), but I'm inclined to believe there mightcould be some Vanilla Records/early RRRecords-type buzz-harshin' above and beyond up they sleeves, too. Either way, my ears is cocked.
Insert is a scan of the receipt for the fish used for the front and back cover, I presume. Nice touch. How this thing is still available, I could not tell you. Highly recommended.

HYPHEN-AIDED: Rodman Melchior Melchior Rodman

Letha Rodman Melchior/Dan Melchior
Rodman Melchior Melchior Rodman split c-70
Fabrica Records FAB026; also available from Dan's store

I'm a broken record bout these two, fer sure, but that don't mean I gave this tape the once over and filed it straight away. I been soakin' both sides up for weeks now, revelin' in the overlaps in their respective approaches--not to mention alla the curious deviations. Firstly, we can sort out the former. What pervades the whole affair is what I'mma call "indoor music by outdoor people": instrumentation gets brushed by itchy radio mosquitoes and record loops all aquiver; sections get dipped in dub wells deep as lunar lakes; and there are visitations of the physical world, like passing storms (that become applause?) and avian chitchat. And, naturally, they play on each other's sides. But the moods on the whole feel distinct. Letha's cuts, which weave in and out with piano ellipsis that bring to mind the plaintive calls of ancient Swedish pastoral music and the lamp-lit solitude of Inoyama Land's Danzindan-Pojidon, run thru powerful cycles of diminish and renewal; exhaustion refreshed by dark humor. Near the end of her side, there's a tellin' lil snippet of a nurse or doctor's aide talkin' bout contact numbers that breaks off into the closing of the head melody. It just about sawed ya boy in two.
Shapes appear and recede on Dan's side, too, but the vibe is way more cerebral. I ain't talkin' stiff recitations of form or underground rock ratiocination. His longer works of late feel like a walk through dismantled spaces, like the edges of cities: the haunted underpass beneath Franco Falsini's Naso Freddo; the blinking, anxious intersection of VU, The Decayes and Pärson Sound. Things alternate between unglued, mystified guitar passages of brain basement blowouts and synth-coated mood bridges. Letha's music is full of windows, shifting daylight; Dan's with hallways, occasions for meeting.
All around some of the most moving, courageous and enveloping work from both parties and made all the more fascinatin' and puzzlin' when experienced in tandem. How they do it under the circumstances continues to stagger my feeble dome.


A Band Called Life
s/t 7" 45rpm

Pull out yer copy of Vibing Up the Senile Man, soak it in Quakersol for a week and leave it behind a bus station, retrieve it once caked in the fond of a wet summer and what ya get is the single I got sittin right 'ere. Straight up rotted gunk oozed outta Karl from Hammering the Cramps and a few names I don't recognize. The words--ranted, layered, and strewn like a cardboard box shredded in a rainstorm--speak obtusely of fuck buddies and deep paranoia. Then they play train conductor for a bit before dragging Santa's sleigh by the short and janglies into the woods for a twisted ceremony, singing "everything is naturaaaal...electricity is naturaaal...just like the tennis..." all the way. The final track is almost affectionate and almost normal, but not without its teeth. Hoo lawdy, if I wern't havin' a round while this spun, I'd be hurtin' for one after. Which is to say, I'm into it! Transmissions from the Gulf seafloor of pop music; case of the bends free with purchase. 
Still to be found in distros in the US or direct from the label.

Friday, April 4, 2014


Morning and the Sleepy Kids
Songs 2004-2007 cassette
Alberts Basement 2010

Working my way thru the back catalog of Albert's Basement, I find this right-charmin' lil compendium of bedsit indie pop. Thankfully, this stuff is way less emetic than some of its contempos and predecessors in that it skips the MASH note-type emotional galaxy and goes right for the burned-out high school junior carvin' sad admissions in a shredded notebook sittin' on the hood of a Honda dimension. We all need to hang with that kid from time to time and these past few weeks seemed ripe for it round here. Nice, humid, dusty ashtray recording helps, as does a cover of "Cryin" that's at least as good as the one the glue fiend in Gummo mumbles to his buddy. Dub some for your friends, but file betwixt Cannanes and the Southern Comfort 7".

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

DETOURN TO SENDER: Jason Lescalleet

Jason Lescalleet
Much to My Demise lp
Kye records

In the handwritten all-CAPS liners, Lescalleet commands the possessor to damage their copy in whatever ways they see fit, suggestin they even forgo a poly sleeve; just let age and affection do they work. A tall order for the grip-n-flip eBayboomers, fa sho'; though that ain't me, so I'm finna do my part to degrade this proper. Spring has arrived here--not so much sprung but sproinged haphazardly--so maybe I'll let it sunbake on the patio for a stretch between a coupla busted panes. But first, I'll finish having my last crisp moments with it so I can give y'all the primo needledrop experience.
Side A is just about the most delicate and at times downright sleepytime relaxin' stretch of wax yet dug by Mr Lescalleet; a side so packed to begin with ya gotta crank the receiver just to compensate for the compression. I knows his steez enuff to say he meant it that way and that surely would add to the well-worn G- listening experience. Like Marchetti, he herein does the loud-bits-soft-and-soft-bits-loud right as summer rain, suckin me into the speakers flanked by an antique stethoscope and a looking glass the size of a coffee table. And once I'm down on my hands and knees, the slo-mo mumbles buried within raise all the right hairs on my collar.
The flip on the other hand, a sidelong affair called "My Dreams Are Dogs That Bite Me," (and my track title of the month, if'n you's the accounting type) you could grok with a pair of aural opera goggles. Though it relishes plenty of due pauses (remindin' me of the low groove bits of This Skin Is Rust in their precision), once things blast into firework focus, one is possessed by the sticky heat and the threat of storms like ya oughta be in tape-based longform musics. Maybe it's cuz when I was a tyke resistin' sleep my ma would plop me down on the washer-dryer in my grandpappy's basement (where we shacked up after a failed relocation to Las Vegas) to put me out--that is, if it were too late to discreetly take me out for a drive in the hatchback of a Chevy Celebrity with a rotted muffler. Worked like medicine, I'll tell you what. And as in the sidelong epic that is the B side of The Pilgrim and it's hefty patriarchal narrative, in this I feel both the warmth and lull of a placental brunch and the rush of the birth canal slide into the cold fluorescence of here. Nicely did.
Carved up on porcelain vinyl and already headed for a second press, the damn thang done induced grip-sweats worldwide. Catch em where ya can.