Something from E.F. Tapes, the birthplace of the legendary Cock ESP. A drums/guitar-or-bass duo doing some primitive noisy improvisation. Nicely crunchy lo-fi recording, lamest insert E.F. ever did. Saw these guys play an E.F. showcase at The Red Sea in Minneapolis probably not long after this came out along with Wrong and The Amputease. My girlfriend I dragged along hated the whole thing. It was awesome.
Good ol’ 1990s tape weirdness from the legendary Steveggs. On this tape pretty much what happens is the Pile Of Eggs/Egg Scab Radio mastermind and a buddy identified as “Dreadhead” dropped some acid and started recording. The result is some ambient and techno-ish goofing, a few metal guitar riffs, and over it all Steveggs rambles incoherently through a pitch shifter. Nothing earth-shattering but kind of a fun ride.
My efforts at resurrecting old content continue.
I fixed download links at these posts:
- http://centipedefarm.com/2011/04/09/lid-11-black-industrial-diamonds/ (<– Hey Josh it’s this one)
If you take a look at the page numbers at the bottom you’ll notice they go clear up to 64 now. That’s because I finally got around to importing all the old posts from the old Wordpress incarnation of this site, dating way back to April 2010. YouTube and bandcamp embeds probably got killed off in the process but I’m not going to bother fixing all those. Images and files I put up for download should all still show up. Everything from the “audio archives” page, however, has just been tossed in with all the stuff at ragmanrecords.com. Other than that, if you see anything that looks broken or like some hacker script stuck it in there while this was still a Wordpress site, please let me know.
Uploaded some new stuff to the MUSICIAN Bandcamp last night, the biggest thing being the contents of the tape trade thing I did this year. I probably won’t be doing any more of those since I got rid of my Facebook account, though. There’s some pretty interesting collaborations and remixes on here and the early experiments in no-input multi-effects (Boss ME-30 specifically) which now, along with old Peavey Musician amps (hit me up if you’re selling one cheap, I’m considering expanding the two I have into a collection), forms the core of the MUSICIAN instrumentation.
I also threw up a couple recent compilation tracks. Noise heads should definitely seek out this “I’m An Adult” double-CDR on Busey Teeth CDR. Available from the Hair On My Food Tapes Storenvy page.
I lost touch with hip hop somewhere in my crucial teen years. In my memory, the breaking point came in the summer of 1991, when I was 16. Bit by bit since about 5th grade, I’d been introduced to rap music by friends and relatives, and by this time considered myself a fan of Run DMC, Whodini, Kool Moe Dee, the Beastie Boys, Public Enemy (the original noise-rap group, suckas), and Ice-T – all probably considered corny oldhead stuff by now. NWA and the Posse was among what I considered the more “hard” end of what I was into at the time, and even with its incoherent stylistic mishmash, I loved it, and while I had kinda missed out on Straight Outta Compton (yeah I know, I was a nerdy white kid from Iowa), I liked what few songs I’d heard from it and was excited for new material from them. But when I heard Efil4Zaggin at my cousin’s house I just couldn’t hang with it.
If you’re going to write songs about getting your dick sucked, I think one per album is probably plenty; the group’s seeming obsession with this one topic just seemed lazy, self-indulgent, and literally masturbatory. I also found the sharp jump in usage of the dreaded “n-word” in lyrics to be distressing, as hearing it, regardless of from whose mouth, had always given me a real twinge of discomfort ever since I was old enough to know what racism is. Thus it was that in the ensuing years, with a few exceptions including The Chronic and a sense that while Ice Cube’s solo work still felt a bit too militant for my young ears he was speaking important truths I would look into once I was ready, it would be to my great chagrin that so much of hip hop ended up following NWA’s lead on those particular points, making gangsta rap mostly very difficult for me to listen or relate to. Since by this time I was just as enamored of thrash metal and industrial music as I had been of hip hop, that’s where my focus ended up turning, and then I discovered the avant-garde, and everything went to hell.
I eventually realized I would just have to get over this aversion to gangsta stuff if I was ever going to make sense out of its cultural hold, because it obviously wasn’t going away. I figured that the only way I could do this was through enough exposure to desensitize myself to its more hard-to-swallow aspects; about a year or so ago I came across a huge zip file someone had uploaded of 1990s underground Memphis mixtapes and resolved to force myself to listen to all of it. By the time I was through maybe half of the folders I was becoming able to appreciate the music, make some judgments as to my favorites, and discover a few excellent artists that were new to me. (Is Princess Loko still out there?) It takes a pretty committed music nerd to fulfill such an enterprise, though.1
And I likely never would have bothered in this quest – apart from such hipster-approved oddities as Das Racist and Death Grips – if not for Lil B. As something of an aficionado of weird Internet culture I first knew of the BasedGod mainly as an interesting Twitter persona, though I was aware he rapped. When news of the release of Thugged Out Pissed Off reached me, I felt I was overdue for checking out his music. This began something of an obsession. I heard an adventurous artist with a fresh outlook taking musical and lyrical risks that were like nothing I’d heard before. Thugged Out Pissed Off is nearly as stylistically bonkers as NWA and the Posse but also something like three hours long, yet I think I ended up listening to it at least half a dozen times in a row. It doesn’t all quite land, but when it does it hits hard with a unique mix of brutal honesty and his own exclusive brand of gonzo gangsta mythos, two things which had seemed to my mind rather at odds before. It was clear that Lil B was up to something special.2
So I was among those eagerly anticipating Black Ken, which delivers even beyond what I could have hoped for. That couple years off BasedGod took to further develop his already compelling skills pays off big. Lil B wrote, produced, played and rapped everything here – only one other soul is credited, a short rap by someone called ILOVEMAKONNEN that, in a tastefully chopped form, provides the hook for “Go Global”. Everything other than that vocal is 100% pure BasedGod and absolutely kills in at least a half dozen different ways, though not all of them are guaranteed to be your particular cup of lean. (Sorry for the cringeworthy phrase but I couldn’t help myself. I’ve always been about cheezy humor.) The stylistic variety is if anything expanded on, yet presented with cohesion. It hits very experimental points as well as very mersh ones with apparent ease. Depending on the climate where you live, it may yet not be too late to make any or all of Black Ken your 2017 summer jam.
At 27 tracks, Black Ken is another Porterhouse with sides, so strap yourself in. However, it plays out rather like a sequence of four EPs, each exploring different territory in the BasedGod’s galaxy and each potentially pulling in different audiences, so you can easily pick your favorite part if so inclined. Beginning with “Produced By The BasedGod”, an instrumental intro that goes on just long enough to start to get awkward, the tape’s first section is an absolute gift to old farts like myself, an earnest exercise in roots hip hop. Lil B does throwback right; the Doggystyle-esque comic-style cover art is not for nothing. If it’s not to your taste though, don’t make for the exits just yet. For the first couple tracks of this song cycle Lil B has at least updated the lyrical content, cranking the raunch maybe a click or two further than mainstream rappers were willing to go in the old-days. Good Willsmith on Twitter describes this section of the tape pretty well in a couple tweets:
Black Ken sounds like early 90s west coast, self-produced G Funk beats, thick bass & 808s thuds, Based God channeling Too Short & Ice Cube 🙌— Good Willsmith (@GoodWillsmith) August 17, 2017
"DJ Basedgod"— Good Willsmith (@GoodWillsmith) August 19, 2017
Lil B as Marley Marlhttps://t.co/Vt6C2YO44F
"goin to Harlem & then to the Bronx / spit your best lyrics & then you can come"
As for classic rappers Lil B “channels”, I feel like Eazy-E, LL, and early Snoop should make the list. I must admit, however, that Marley Marl is even a touch too old-school of a reference for my immediate familiarity and at this point probably runs the risk of feeling like what ’50s rock-and-roll was like to me as an ’80s kid. We’re going back to the very origins here. You could probably play “DJ BasedGod” and a couple of the songs following it around your kids and not feel too weird about it. That particular track especially sticks out, a hearkening to early-80s NYC (even with its west coast shout-outs) that teeters on the edge of corniness but never quite falls in. It’s pure fun and I can’t stop smiling like a dork throughout its nearly seven minutes. The production is daringly sparse and its sole concession to prevailing trends may be its slower-than-seems-normal tempo and pitch. The track moves along at a leisurely pace, leaving plenty of space for the beat and minimal synth lines to do the talking. In the third verse, we find DJ BasedGod in New York himself, in a rush on his way to do a show, inviting some rando on the subway to come party with him if he’s got bars. Positivity positively flows from “Free Life” and hometown ode “Berkeley” with BasedGod even engaging in some spot-on scratching, or at least picking some pretty killer scratching to sample in – I’m unsure what the state of the vinyl DJ arts is in 2017, if anyone still does this in the classic style, but this sounds great.
A skit introduces the second act where things finally start to get hardcore in a set of the kind of synth-driven club bangers that Lil B introduced on Thugged Out Pissed Off as “Pretty Boy Music.” Despite the heavily turned-up yet dark and dangerous gangsta party atmosphere prevailing over these tracks, Lil B makes an unusually restrained production choice in the drum machine department: big 808 bumps are there where it counts, but you might go half a song without hearing one, leaving fat synth basslines to carry the low-end much of the time. It works though, in setting this sound apart from the pack. In fact, Lil B’s keyboards are very much the star of this whole section, which is why it makes a warped kind of sense to end it with “Hold Up”, a left-field darkwave track that sounds like it could have come from Gary Numan, capping off a night of slinging in the club with a tense after-hours scene in a hood-as-claustophobic-dystopia setting.
Lightening things up abruptly, the third part also begins with an explanatory skit, this one about the need to go party in Mexico before the wall gets built. A couple tropical-themed dancefloor numbers with shout-along hooks lead into, I shit you not, two straight up pop songs with just barely enough irony. Is Lil B making a bid for radio play? BasedGod is about to steal your girlfriend and “Ain’t Me” is an earworm if I’ve heard one.
From here things swing back in a harder direction with the kind of hard-hitting trap-funk that made for many of Thugged Out Pissed Off’s most memorable moments like “Maxwell’s” and “These Parts”. It’s also the most emotionally raw and naked portion of the tape lyrically and vocally. Lil B is especially in his element on this material. “West Coast” couples a vintage g-funk chorus with a pained look into the struggle of the game. “Raw” is true to its name, a nasty, horny fuck rant right along the lines of “Tryna Buy Pu2698y”. Lil B then gets out all the diss venom he needs to on “The Real Is Back”, calling out Soulja Boy among others as fakes. “Rawest Rapper Alive” follows it up in the same overall tempo and cadence like a part-two but with a killer new bassline and chorus, and by now you should need no more convincing of its titular assertion but Lil B still serves up plenty evidence. “Da Backstreetz” repurposes “Hold Up”’s chord progression and melds it to “These Parts”’s rhythm, but this is more of a lament than a boast, touching on the need to maintain a tough front. “My eyes red ‘cause I smoke blunts,” he insists through yet another insanely catchy chorus; “N***as die every day, I don’t give a fuck.” A screwy ring mod effect on the vocal even helps him sound on the point of tears. “Rare Art” takes a trip into BasedGod’s endearing weird side with some plinky keys and awkward phrasing and feels like the tape’s low point but still has some pretty cool lyrics. In fact, Lil B’s lyrics throughout Black Ken are consistently among his best yet, at a level that “I Can’t Breath” previously hinted at.
Black Ken’s outro gets its own intro skit and depicts Lil B emceeing the opening of an imaginary live gig in Hawaii, riding an irresistible feel-good funk vamp while he shouts out his imaginary onstage band and hypes the dubbed-in crowd for the party of their lives. It’s a consciously comical and conceptually over-the-top peek into the BasedGod’s possible aspirations for his live experience and even my antisocial ass wants to go to there.
It’s hard to guess what the future holds and Black Ken feels like it could either be Lil B’s Nevermind or his Tales From Topographic Oceans or in some curious way both. Or maybe neither, but that would require it to be overlooked to a degree that seems unlikely for something this good. It’s a towering artistic achievement with the smell of a titanic watershed about it. I’m probably wrong on that and just geeking out, but you’re fucking up if you don’t check out Black Ken at least once.
I don’t recommend my personal level of music obsessiveness to anyone and sure as fuck don’t judge anyone for being less so. I like to think this separates me from the average hipster, but I’m probably just the music scene equivalent to the lead character in Camus’ The Fall, a sonic judge-penitent. ↩
This would also be my introduction to mixtape website/app DatPiff, which has since brought a wealth of cool new stuff to discover including from some of that old Memphis bunch. Even Public Enemy has some new stuff on there. I still don’t fully understand the use of “mixtape” for what I’m accustomed to calling an “album”, but I figure it probably has something to do with either the legal hurdles of sampling or just keeping the record labels from asserting claim over a work. ↩
This is a whole lot of noise and some not-so-noise.
Stembreo: “MK Ultra Lite”
Distant Trains: “Huge Collection”
MUSICIAN: “dead dog 1994”
This gem was found in the short-lived ‘mixtape exchange’ box at ZZZ. The j-card announced “Bloodstains Across The Midwest” or just “B.S.A. The Midwest” but it turns out that this material is from a similar but different compilation of obscure old punk singles possibly from the same label. Research from what songs and lyrics I could figure out suggests that this is someone’s favorite cuts from Killed By Death volumes 1 through 4 and 7, with The Cortinas’ “Fascist Dictator” added at the end. Preserved as full A and B side FLACs for all that mixtape feel.
BTW ZZZ: Bring back the mixtape box and I’ll put this back in it.
- Slugs “Problem Child”
- Vox Pop “Cab Driver”
- Dogs “Slash Your Face”
- Gasoline “Killer Man”
- Child Molesters - “(I’m the) Hillside Strangler”
- Authorities “Radiation Masturbation”
- Authorities “I Hate Cops”
- Nuns “Decadent Jew”
- Users “Sick of You”
- Vicious Visions “I Beat You”
- Freestone “I Hate Tourists”
- Machines “True Life”
- S’Nots “So Long to the Sixties”
- Rude Kids “Absolute Ruler”
- The Eat “Communist Radio”
- Cheifs “Blues”
- Mentally Ill “Gacy’s Place”
- The Plugz “Mindless Contentment”
- Shock “This Generation’s On Vacation”
- Ambient Noise “I Was There at the Texas Chainsaw Massacre”
- Screamin’ Mee-Mees “Hot Sody”
- Zero Boys “Stoned to Death”
- Zero Boys “Stick to Your Guns”
- The Rotters “Sink the Whales (Buy Japanese Goods)”
- The Rotters “Disco Queen”
- Filth “Don’t Hide Your Hate”
- Brulbajs “EAP”
- Huns “Glad He’s Dead”
- The Victims “TV Freak”
- Mad Virgins “Fuck & Suck”
- Jerks “Get Your Woofing Dog Off Me”
- Guilty Razors “I Don’t Wanna Be A Rich”
- Tampax “UFO Dictator”
- Fresh Color “The Source”
- Maids “Back to Bataan”
- The Screamers “If I Can’t Have What I Want, I Don’t Want Anything”
- Cortinas “Fascist Dictator”
Introducing the Powerwall compilation. Not my brainchild, but I was tasked with making the tapes. The concept was powerviolence meets harsh noise wall. The results are a mix of short walls, cutup, and super blown-out primitive noisecore. 17 artists in 14 minutes on both sides of a C-32 or possibly C-30. 66 tapes have been made. 20-some are white, the rest are a motley mix of colors and shell styles. Some have the tabs in, some don’t. 26 of the j-cards are basic black and white photocopies, the rest are a bit more glossy. 5 of the white ones with glossy covers are in poly boxes and all the rest are in black and clear norelcos. Artists will receive 5 copies each in the order in which they send me their mailing address, until they run out, so the last few might be out of luck. Artists featured, in order:
- CANCER LAKE
- ERICK HILL
- WE ALSO LET BLOOD
- ANGELLIS TALIUU
- FEDERATION OF SORROW
- A LIGHT AMONG MANY
- HIVE MIND
- RYAN DAVID STEVENS
- RYAN SCHNEIDER
- GASOLINE FIGHT
Hit up me here or find one of these artists to get yours.
New in the distro: Krueleco “Regno” - On this inaugural release of their Supro Rituale label, “Krueleco plays true black harsh noise”, which seems to amount to some good harsh noise with blastbeats behind it, which is not at all a bad idea. There’s a great occult dungeon vibe here. They’re from some part of Europe but I can’t offhand recall which.
So as discussed in prior posts, I’m pretty much giving up on the idea of the Centipede Farm as a label in the sense of taking any submissions or releasing anything that was not pretty much my own idea or a cool idea from one of my friends. I intend to still make tapes, but there will be no label name or contact info attached to them, and they will be largely of projects I myself am personally involved in. The means to make releases of this sort are within the reach of artists directly, for the most part. However, I’m still feeling really bullish on trades and distro, especially as a counter-measure to expensive international shipping costs. I’d like to help spread good noise around. Towards that end, I’ve added a new catalog page to this site. Buy tapes from me directly, and if you’ve got a release you’re proud of, let’s talk about trading for a few copies.
Will there be another Zeitgeist? Not one that I’m organizing personally. I haven’t related it to him in person, but I’ve sent word out into the aether that I’m leaving it in the hands of my co-conspirator Trey Reis to handle from here on out. Zeitgeist would probably not have existed in the first place if not for he and his brother Trent, and without Trey the last few would probably have been hopeless shit-shows of chaos, and that’s a fact.
Cancer Lake has a split tape with Bullshit Market coming out on Personal Archives fairly soon I think. We’ve taken an abrupt stylistic left-turn from 15-minute songs to 15-second songs, hammering our free-jazz-sludge tones into abrupt blasts of good old fashioned noise-grind. We’ve actually been working hard on this and plan to keep it a major part of our sound. Bullshit Market are probably the best noise duo going in the Midwest these days but they’re out of the Detroit area so I don’t know how realistic it would be to get them down this way for a release show but it sure would be rad to get them to play in Matt’s basement at least.
This is it, folks: the last Centipede Farm releases. All are up for order on the Bandcamp and will begin shipping out as soon as that box on Norelco boxes gets here. The label won’t disappear right away, of course, because I still have lots of inventory and I’ll need to do some promotional work for a little while if I want to sell them. So order up now and get this shit out of my house. I’ll entertain distro offers as well. I’ve just decided that I need the energies and dollars elsewhere for as far into the future as I care to look. I’ll still be doing my own music, there will be releases by my own projects (the original purpose of the Centipede Farm anyway) but they’ll be considered self-released now, unless some other labels want to get in on them. I’m taking things out on a high note though, release-wise. Basically everything I mentioned in the previous post is out now and will be available from the artists themselves before long as well, if they aren’t already.
Musician plays a house show at Matt’s place Friday night and then hits Weirdtown 3 in Rock Island on October 14 and 15. October 13 has Bob Bucko Jr coming into Des Moines for a show at the Des Moines Social Club, and Tim Kaiser will be doing the same on the 23rd. There are more shows coming up after those. I might find continued excuses to write on this blog.