Body music for strong stomachs

Well now here’s something provocative. Samples from porn became at some point a clichéd element in industrial and electronic dance music. Travis Johnson, honcho of the Ilse netlabel, quotes himself as having once declared that he would never release music with porn samples; then announces the release of Histrionics by Lezet: an album constructed entirely from porn samples. After reading the description, I had to hear this, mainly because the concept is so good, but also because truth be told, at heart I can be a little bit of a perv. Here’s the relevant text from the Ilse site:

“This is a tribute to the adult industry which emotionally crippled many a heterosexual male (myself included) and distorted the very notion of what physical love should be and how liberating it is. Each featured performer is treated as an audio artist of proven vocal prowess and mildly hazardous stage antics. Hearing Zorn speak of our contemporary culture being ‘predominantly visual’ got me thinking – how pleasant or aesthetically appealing might the organized sounds of a staged intercourse be when bereft of their visual accompaniment?”

It’s an interesting idea, but I was only really able to mentally remove the sounds from the idea of their source context, which I think is what Lezet is trying to get at, at a few of the album’s best and most enjoyable moments. For me, these were when things got rhythmic in a musical way; tracks 7 and 14 resemble chanting. Through much of the album though, I just couldn’t help thinking this guy must have some weird porn in his collection. Or hell, maybe porn is weirder these days, I probably haven’t seen much that’s recent. There’s plenty of the usual heavy breathing, moaning and groaning, body parts slapping and farting against each other, giggling, kissing, and spitting; but then there’s other stuff like the weird watery gurgling noise that starts track 11: it sounds like someone sticking their face partway in water and vocalizing into it like you might have done in the bathtub as a kid for fun. Hell, maybe it’s a bong. At a couple of points there are mechanical noises, one probably a vibrator, but another sounding more like some sort of wind-up toy. There is also some definite gibberish or scatting, which seems like a weird thing for someone to do in a porn video. The worst, however, are the gross throat noises prominent on several tracks that sometimes sound like vomiting. All in all, I found it pretty hard to listen to, even moreso than most “difficult” music.

If you want a more fun, lighthearted use of porn samples to contruct music, might I suggest some of the contents of BOOGIE by Albert Tross, Leader Of The Demons:

On the other hand, if you’re looking for something even more difficult made from awkward human noises, might I direct you to the Public Eyesore label and its CD release Babanço Total by Philip Gayle. I’m not familiar with Philip Gayle otherwise, but I hear he’s more well known as an experimental guitarist, and that this album is another sort of experiment entirely, to work entirely with sounds he could make with his body alone. Bryan sent me this a while ago but I have still yet to make it past about track 4 — not that it’s bad, it isn’t really, it’s just really unsettling and kinda gross. The reviews quoted on its page on the Public Eyesore website, and there are a lot of them, sum it up pretty well.

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