Rough news for folks in Europe looking to get hold of a Lupus Dei tape: after wondering for a while when the copies I sent to Steven were going to get there, it turns out that his local post office in Belgium simply forgot to tell him they had arrived, and after sitting on them for a while, had them sent back to me. They haven’t made it back here quite yet but I intend to send them back again. You could still order one from me though, if you don’t mind the bit of extra postage cost. Otherwise if you don’t mind the wait, email “malegys” at gmail.
Meanwhile there’s a new Mahler Haze joint out, the Final Vapour CD-R and we’ve just been informed that a handful of copies are on their way here for distro. So hell yes!
UPDATE: They’re here and awesome. Still no sign of the tapes yet though, stay tuned.
You can get these from Lava Church. And now you can also get them from me. This is advantageous to you in some way, I’m quite sure. Pat’s on a roll lately and there’s never yet been a better time to pick up what he’s laying down.
LOVEBRRD/SS SOUS TOULOUSE EN ROUGE SPLIT TAPE [Lava Church] “The Lovebrrd side is a harsh noisy collage of answering machine loops and radio signals over some minimal Casio action. The Su Sous Toulouse En Rouge side is all over the fucking map in the best possible way. Su Sous Toulouse En Rouge is one half of the Uh… plus his better half, and together they create some dope ass tuneage. I’m honored to be on a split with these fine folks.” $7
LOVEBRRD “MORNING SICKNESS” [Lava Church] “Morning Sickness was written and recorded on the morning of August 31 from about 10am to just after noon. After waking up and puking my brains out, I figured it was as good a time as any to sit down and lay down some intense Casio riffage.” $7
LOVEBRRD “JODOCUS” [Lava Church] “Lovebrrd is Sarsota, Florida’s premier minimal synth nightmare. On his lastest outing JODOCUS he melds casiotones with distortion and freaky ambience to draw you in. Dark and terrifying it’s perfect for the fall season. Wild enough to leave anyone in a deserted vhs dream.” $7
DURASTATIC+LOVEBRRD “THERE ARE NO LAPTOPS ON THIS ALBUM” [Lava Church] “TANLOTA is a huge four track collaboration album between the legendary Durastatic and myself. Durastatic has been noising up Florida for a bit now, and you may be familiar with his older project Tree and his label Steele Grinder. Pure ass shit yo; you’d be a fool to miss out on this solid hour of quality noise.” $7
It’s been my great honor to be requested by the great Michael Scott of Koobaatoo Asparagus to do a split-release, and of course as you probably know I like to make my splits a bit incongruous so that folks familiar with the artist are likely to be getting something they won’t expect. I got downright tonal on this track and made it one of many pieces I’ve recorded over the years that I file in a mental category marked for my warped version of jazz, especially when drawing on my neglected trumpet skills as I did here. Mike likewise pulled out all the stops to contribute one of his lovely feedbacky space-noise pieces. He billed me as Centipede Farmer on the cover and made “Distant Trains” part of the song title as it’s listed on the back, but that’s fine by me, plenty of people know me by the name Centipede Farmer, I’m not real picky what people call me as long as I can tell when it’s me they’re talking about. So I’ve got a couple copies for sale and Mike says he’ll be sending me more eventually once he buys some more discs.
And incidentally, I feel the need to mark this morning’s passing of jazz pianist & composer Dave Brubeck, a man with an interesting legacy to say the least, I’d reckon his influence stretches even into math rock today. I got into his stuff years ago when I picked up a few really old 45s of him at a local record store in Cedar Falls on a whim, took them home, played them, loved the hell out of them. As jazz stuff goes he’s maybe on the more buttoned-down end of what I’m into but his stuff always makes me feel good, and it got me digging back into jazz again after having mostly forgotten about it since high school. I pulled those records out again today to give them a listen to mark the occasion, and “The Song Is You” from Jazz Goes To College Vol. II is winding up as I type these words. A true original and just a real cool spirit finishes up a pretty kickass life on Earth.
One week ago yesterday I loaded some gear into my car, picked up Dave Wren (Moulttrigger) at his house, grabbed some beer, and drove up to Boone, a small town west of Ames that a couple old friends come from but that otherwise doesn’t usually have much going on, where I took part in one of the most epic noise/experimental music gigs I’ve ever been to.
I consider “Zeitgeist 2012″ one of my great triumphs of 2012 even though I honestly don’t feel like I did a lot more than show up and play. But that’s the beauty of it, it came together so organically everybody just put in what they had to offer, though the biggest contributor was no doubt Trent Reis (Juxwl) who hosted it at his occasional show space known as the Elephungeon. I think it was also his PA that we used. Trent really came through big on this. Hell, there was even free food. Going into that weekend I knew this thing would be a success even if this bunch of freak sound artists just ended up playing for each other, because great things were bound to come of our just meeting each other in person, and honestly this scene is very participatory; we don’t care a whole lot about the artist/audience distinction; one thing I’ve noticed happens an awful lot when someone becomes exposed to this scene is that immediately want to start their own noise project. That’s probably why Henry Rollins said in that LA Weekly piece that noise is more punk rock than punk rock ever was. Turned out we got a few people who came just to check out the show, and I think they left with some great tapes and CDs and their minds reeling with sound and freedom. Zeitgeist was the kind of experience that really makes my synapses light up.
Dave Wren of Des Moines is moulttrigger and “Birds” is his latest opus, built entirely from bird samples, via the National Geographic Guide to Bird Sounds, manipulated and mangled and arranged every which way into various emotional messes. Loopy, droney, noisy, featuring a healthy dose of big low-end rumbles and packed with audio treats for both headphone and speaker listening.
Well, for starters, Stream is a collaborative project of Sara Mascara and Consciousness Sam — an Internets meeting of minds that previously resulted in the mascara/Consciousness Prism split tape available from us right here — they’ve came up with this very cool album Poem for my Human Lover
“Poem for My Human Lover” is about an android named “2095”, a beautiful combination of both male and female. Each track is a stanza of the poem that 2095 is reading to its human lover. “Poem for My Human Lover” takes the listener on an emotional and highly visceral journey through the mind of a tender and vulnerable android. Through 2095’s poetry we become acquainted with an otherworldly/futuristic landscape as well as the rich inner landscape of the fluid and intricate mind.
Recently my laptop pretty much died — well, the display went out, it mostly “runs” otherwise; I can connect to it on the network — it was getting mighty old anyway and I found a suitable replacement. As I got my files and settings moved in to the new machine, I decided to take the opportunity to organize some of my files a bit better and delete some things I didn’t really need so as to make some space. In the process, I somehow confused the “iTunes” folder on my Seagate GoFlex network drive, where I kept all my music files (not including lossless files or Audacity projects for my own stuff or Centipede Farm releases, that is), for the usually useless “iTunes” folder that I usually have in my home directory on the hard drive of my computer, and, in my trigger-happiness, deleted. the. entire. thing.
I have since been working to rebuild as much of my iTunes library as I could from what I could pull off my iPod Classic using an app called Music Rescue, and of course there’s all the stuff I have on CD that I can rip again anytime, but I’m sure there’s still a lot of stuff I’ve lost — but I realized that a lot of it I couldn’t remember anyway. And what does eventually spring to mind, I can probably manage to download at some point, and might have on vinyl or cassette anyway. Still, that realization, and coming to the grips of the mental overhead of managing my maddeningly large library of downloaded music turned out to be an opportunity to gain some perspective. Apparently, I have a problem. My relationship with music is obsessive bordering on addictive.
It’s not something that’s ruining my life or anything, but I could stand to stop worrying so much about whether I’m missing out on something cool. There’s probably more music being recorded in a single day in the world than I can listen to in my life. But these days, I too rarely listen to something twice, let alone enough to build a real relationship with it.
One effect of this is that my backlog of “stuff I’d like to write reviews of for the website” is about to be mostly purged. My attempt to check out and evaluate all the big important albums I heard about in 2011 is already nine months into 2012 after all, and there’s a bunch of stuff I’ve barely gotten to. I could probably delete it and not even miss it. It’s just downloads, and unpaid-for ones at that. If I cared about these albums, I’d buy them. Because that’s what I already do with music I really like anyway, unless of course I haven’t heard of it yet, and then what’s the big deal?
I like reviewing music but I need to be less hard on myself. I’m probably not going to write as much on this site about music I wasn’t involved in making, from now on. If you send me something and specifically ask me to write about it, I will try my best. I seem to have no trouble keeping up with that. But no point in volunteering myself to write about stuff nobody asked me to.
Anyway The Centipede Farm is obviously becoming more of a “label” than a “music blog” these days anyway and I’m really into that. I have opportunities to put together little cassette releases by a whole lot of really excellent artists. I should probably be placing the focus of this website more on them. I am still open to contributing reviews for other sites, though, so if you have one and you’d like me to write some stuff for it, by all means get in touch and I’ll try to fit something in. And if you’re interested in just keeping up with what I’m discovering online lately, I post mad links to the Facebook page, so you should follow that. And comment a lot, because one-sided conversations are boring.
Anyway here’s a couple things I still wanted to get a few words in about:
The Big Drum in the Sky Religion: Ithyfallacy: A Tribute to Rudimentary Peni – I must admit to not being familiar with Rudimentary Peni, but have seen their name come up here and there in experimental/outsider/oddball music circles. It’s ostensibly a British punk rock band, but supposedly headed up by a rather eccentric fellow with some pretty far-out ideas and lyrics. You don’t need to be familiar with R.P. to get into this “tribute”, however. The booklet deceptively contains a long list of hilarious song titles, but the disc actually contains a single 79-and-a-half minute track, not entirely different in intent and form from Vive la Revelación that I wrote of the other day. The foundation of it is a loop of furious rolling toms and a buzzy bassline that falls in and out of sync with it. Over this, a few things come and go, including some quite nice noise-guitar jamming, some of that upright piano from Vive, and I’m pretty sure I heard a jaw harp in there somewhere. The strong rhythmic drive of the piece, courtesy the toms, makes it nicely conducive to shamanic states of mind, or at least I suspect so, it definitely got me spaced out and grooving along despite being once again a piece of insane length and hypnotic repetition. The artwork, black-and-white drawings, is also pretty stellar, reminiscent of the great Food Fortunata.
The Mighty Accelerator: Back From the Dead EP – Four more tunes from Ottumwa’s sleazemeisters. Mixed by Andy the guitarist, this has a notably rawer sound than Soccer Mom — I could have used a bit more vocals, finding it difficult to understand some of the lyrics without the benefit of headphones, the focus is more on the catchy rhythm guitar riffs which is fine too. The lyrical concepts of songs like “Lesbian Date Rape” and “Werewoofs and Fast Cars” are deliciously goofy. “This Hand Needs A Job” hits all the double entendres you expect but it’s unclear how intentionally, so you’re actually left with a quite sincere lament on small-town blue-collar employment troubles, that builds nicely through and an uptempo multi-part bridge section and some fist-raising whoa-oh backup vocals. “Truck Stop Lovin’” has a similar epic structure and build section. Money lyric: “she’s not much to look at, but she’s out of sight.” The download is free and the CD-R edition available from the band contains all of Soccer Mom as bonus tracks.
Wreck and Reference – Youth – With Black Cassette, Wreck and Reference set about showing to a new generation of metal kids what some crusty old Skinny Puppy fans already knew, that electronics can be heavy. The sampler-and-drums duo have taken an intentionally cleaner production approach with Youth and continue to evolve a sound that evades easy categorization yet carries wide appeal for all lovers of the unpleasant, drawing on a palette of influences miles wide and maybe just as deep but that appropriately draws out references to doom, black metal, industrial, noise, and Swans-y apocalyptic folk. The song structures tend toward the linear, and even in those moments where the sampler is employed making guitar-like sounds the effect is something otherworldly and quite other than you’d hear if it were a live guitarist. Vocal approaches and rhythms are as wide-ranging as the literally infinite palette of sounds from which the hugest and are so tastefully chosen. You can name-your-price for a download but the vinyl edition from The Flenser is gorgeous to behold and totally worth getting, especially the green-and-black vinyl which you should act fast if you want. This album and this band are really fresh and special and you should definitely give them a chance.
Samuel Locke-Ward: Double Nightmare – There is more that I could say about Samuel Locke-Ward and his latest opus (a two-hour, 40-song digital album!) than I have the energy to type here. You should get everything he makes, and give him all your money besides, because he is amazing and beyond explanation.
Mekigah – The Necessary Evil – Australian gothy black/doom project’s second album loses the flimsy storyline and high-school drama-kid vibe that might have marred The Serpent’s Kiss for some, but without sacrificing any of the grandeur of their deliberately-paced metal songs swimming in cavernous concert-hall reverb and symphony-in-a-box keyboards. I hesitate to reference Type O Negative just because I never much cared for that band, but it’s a fitting comparison (especially with respect to the vocals), and I’d even say there’s a little bit of a Candlemass vibe going on at times. On “Bloodlust” the vocals get so low that I’m pretty sure he’s doing that Tuvan throat-singing or whatever it’s called. But Mekigah also do harsh well here, both vocally and musically, resulting in actually quite a fresh synthesis of doomy and “blackened” elements. If the album gets at all maudlin at any point it would be on “Touching a Ghost,” which I would liken to a sort of pop-DSBM version of The Shangri-La’s “Leader Of The Pack” what with the sound-effects bridge to advance the story line. There are some pretty cool noisy ambient interstitial tracks, which help to tie it together as more of a rock album, as opposed to the ambitious opera/concept thing they went for on the previous album, and I think it’s a welcome change.
Orchid Capricorn Like a lot of retro metal or trad doom or “stoner” metal (I wish we get a better name for it one of these days — my own personal appreciation for it didn’t really take off until I could no longer be credibly referenced by that word), Orchid are borrowing pretty heavily from Black Sabbath here, enough that the references are occasionally in danger of getting too blatant, but then again, Sabbath weren’t the only band in the old days doing this kind of stuff, they were just the most well-known. There’s still an excitement for and vitality to this sort of music even after so many decades. I myself am more than glad to listen to heavy riffy rock tunes like this any time. I don’t know what it is about it, but these familiar elements, in the right hands, just never seem to get old, and Orchid seems to have that touch. I also like how their singer can pull off both Ozzy-ish and Dio-ish moments, his own sound hitting a nice territory somewhere between the two. And the title song on this album, “Capricorn”, is just too good to miss out on.
Marax Funeral Liturgy Marax (Eric Crowe) put out an astounding amount of material in 2011, even for a noise or drone artist (of which he is both, and you might as well throw in dark ambient and death industrial and all that into the mix too). This is one of several download-only ambient drone releases put out by Marax right around the same time and feels very much of a piece with them in style. This one is among my favorites, however, perhaps due to its not being or having any 20+ minute tracks, though I do realize that’s not a great bias to have on my part. The title track starts it out as a low, almost inaudible drone that fades in pretty quickly with a thick sepulchral atmosphere. Each of the five tracks, themed around funerals, and one of them even featuring a slowed-down sample of a funeral sermon (possibly backwards? It’s hard to make out the actual words), is a different setting of waves of dark and heavy but also very pure sound flowing in and out of each other. Very meditative and ominous.
Marax/Coma Centauri Coerced to Pull the Trigger The liner notes spell out the concept of this release, and it’s a concept that extends to a lot of Marax’s work that of suicide. According to these notes, Eric and Brandon wanted to explore it as a theme not so much in terms of the “desolate and depressive” modes as it is usually approached, or even the tranquility of a romanticized escape from pain; rather they wanted to explore the mindset of a person leading up to the act, the frustrations and anxiety and trapped feelings that drive one there. That idea is translated by these two artists each through their styles of frantic, nervous harsh noise on their respective sides of this tape.
Marax’s side narrates a suicide by gunshot, the first 13 minutes depicting the emotional states preceding it, then the planning of the event, then the last moments holding the gun just before firing, culminating in the sound of the gunshot and a brief silence; the state of death itself makes up the remaining 17 minutes in the form of a ghostly drone with some amazingly haunting vocal sounds. Marax’s ability to compellingly navigate both harsh and ambient sounds and unite them thematically is unique, and it’s represented especially well here.
Coma Centauri’s side sticks more specifically to the harsh discomfort, and joins this emotional state with third-person perspectives in the form of sparse sampling of news reports about suicides. Overall it’s less of a narrative approach, instead a set of pieces examining different facets of the subject of suicide, its causes and the social issues relating to it.
I greatly respect how these two noisicians approached this release with a concept and an idea of how they wanted to approach it. Noise music as pure abstract and/or physical sound is plenty fun and can even be awe-inspiring, but Marax and Coma Centauri set out here to make a noise album presenting a very honest perspective on a subject, a deeply emotional one at that, and the result succeeds on both viscreal and intellectual levels. Order from Worthless Recordings if they have any left.
Midnight Satanic Royalty — One of the coolest things about classic heavy metal is that in the days before metal got all complicated, it was really just rock and roll amped up on horror, sex, and aggression. Midnight keep this spirit and sound alive and fiery as they delight in evil and depravity. Songs like “Necromania” and “Lust, Filth, and Sleaze” are snarled out fast and furious with simple headbanging riffs, and sound a bit like a cross between Venom and Mötorhead with a dash Social Distortion guitar melodicism. Yes, it kicks ass.
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.
The Centipede Farm is a blog about cool/weird music/noise/art and also something of a DIY music label. Started by Chuck Hoffman as an outlet for his own musical activities, it's expanding to involve a variety of interesting artists.
Ira Rat is the quieter half of Neon Lushell, a big wheel at Workerbee Records, and hooks us up with some cool articles here.
Note: if I'm hosting anything of your making here as part of The Centipede Files and you'd rather I hadn't, just contact me and let me know and I'll take it down, no questions asked. I mean no harm, I'm usually just trying to get people to rediscover cool overlooked music. But if it bugs you, just say so. We cool. --ch--
My own writings on this blog I consider to be licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License. However, the same does not necessarily apply to works incorporated or linked-to herein, and those are probably used without permission anyway. When in doubt, either just stay confused and afraid to create for fear of legal BS, or just just say fuck it and do whatever the hell you want.
(c) 2013 The Centipede Farm |
powered by WordPress