If you ever want to see a lunatic in action, armed with fake blood and music equipment then see Baptizer. I saw and performed with Baptizer in late 2012. This guy made me want to give up my day job, become a roadie for him, and worship his ass. Seriously. Not many people have a firm grip on entertainment in heavy music nor know how to keep a small-ish audience intrigued, but Baptizer does. I saw him play at the seminal underground experimental venue, Amma House, and while I had heard a few whispers of what to expect, I wasn’t fully prepared. In stepped a maniac, gripping a microphone in his teeth, drenching himself and others in fake blood via a found chalice, and pummeling our ear drums and body cavities with a sick assault of noise-addled destruction. Jim, as he’s pleasantly known, hails from North Carolina, has a normal life, a family, and a day job, but you would never guess that once he sheds his shirt and begins to destroy your ear drums. “Signs ov Apocalypse” is a noisy amalgam of a variety of styles mashed into one bludgeoning of sound. His music is pseudo socio-political with an undercurrent of religiousness – but don’t let that stop you. I almost guarantee that if you didn’t read that and just experienced his music, you wouldn’t disagree with him on anything. The fact that people have in the past discredited his musical offerings because of his views, one way or the other, is disheartening and shows a complete lack of respect for what an experimental genre and its sister scenes are supposed to be all about. “Order of Wolves” by thee Grey Wolves was remixed and sound especially incredible. The track that stands out more than the rest is “Denial as a Defense Mechanism” with its artful craft mixture of noise and vocals, stirring up chaos and decrying apathy all at once. Stunning, incredible, and a must-have for anyone who wants to think that they have heard it all.
Posts in category experimental
Daniel Euphrat is the mastermind behind the eclectic Timmy Sells His Soul outfit. Each song is so uniquely distinct and different from the last it’s like listening to a more pop version of Mr. Bungle though without the busy backdrop. Dripping wet with indie-pop incredibleness, “Name and Form” jumps from genre to genre but always boasting a terrific array of textures. His off-key vocals range from somewhat spoken yet muffled to melodic crooning. A huge array of electro influences are smashed up behind his voice. “Seeds” finds Rachel Springer Dunbar lending vocals amid a chaotic stew of IDM and melodic indie pop harmonies. “Knife and Bowl” evoke a kind of melancholy – something this album doesn’t seem to lack in – but with an industrial-pop edge ever so slightly creeping upwards. I couldn’t begin to tell you who he may be influenced by because so many things happen throughout the listen which is a good thing; I highly doubt it’s easy to pigeonhole someone like Timmy Sells His Soul. “Vicious” sounds like something you’d hear off of Metropolis Records while “We are Surplus” could be easily heard at your local coffeehouse with its low-key indie-pop flavors. Rangy and yet authoritative in what he’s trying to deliver and accomplish, “Name and Form (Black)” is a dark beauty but one that demands your utmost attention. Highly recommended.
Full disclosure – I really don’t know a whole lot about the power electronics or harsh noise wall scene. That said, I definitely can appreciate many of the artists that perform it or some variation. Japanese Torture Comedy Hour is one such outfit. Scott Hull of Pig Destroyer, Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Anal Cunt, and other metal offspring has been a member, but J. Randall is the mastermind behind “Dolphin Meat“. This hour-long distorted absurdity just crushed your cranium with harsh noises that were manipulated live with no computer(s), samples, guitars, or instruments just a bunch of crazy pedals chained together amid a fevered tenacity to blow one’s mind. The textures are dense for sure despite the lack of post-production editing and while it’s decidedly lo-fi in nature (recorded live onto VHS cassette). Looping effects pedals together in a feedback loop, J. Randall has crafted a simple sounding yet unorthodox concept into an unearthly creation that simultaneously stuns, eviscerates, and evokes raw emotive states. I can only imagine the melted brains in the live studio audience that got to witness this. Not for the weak willed or closed minded.
Toronto-born Scott Lanaway decided to take everything he loved about music, melt it down, and create his own silver bullet. “Mergers & Acquisitions” is the fruit of this labor. Granted this is sophomore release, it still feels like a birth. The songs and sounds contained are so well thought-out, planned, and composed that it feels like it was the work of a debut simply because the majority of songwriter’s best songs are created as their first body of work rather than their second or later efforts. “Oprah, God Wants You to Have a Private Jet” shows Lanaway doesn’t need to be cornered amid the subject matter of his songs that are often mind-wandering noodles and thoughts of love, death, time, the mind, and everything in between. His textures are sprinkled with electronica and acoustic vibes that are just unbelievable and uninhibited. He bares his soul, unafraid to let anyone in to peer in curiosity at what this creature is thinking and doing. Beautiful, please pick it up and tell him I sent you.
Phil Western and Mark Spybey together again! Well at least for two tracks that is. Dead Voices on Air, one of Spybey’s many projects, once again takes us to new and exotic locations. Amid their album photography on the digipak we’re whisked to far-off Argentina amid the beautiful landscape of Patagonia taken by Argentinean artist Marco Roberti. In addition to his collaboration with Western, Spybey enlists American-Serbian singer Ivana Salipur to assist on the title track, a track that is inspired by the Serbian poet Desanka Maksimovic, a poet perhaps most famous for poems regarding the atrocities committed by German soldiers during World War II. The album is Dead Voice on Air’s 14th and their 2nd collection released on seminal Lens Records. Songs range from ethnic world ambience to experimental to pure relaxing ambient. I’m constantly amazed at how Spybey and likeminded audiences are able to create such intense ambient pieces that just ooze attention-grabbing passion. Yet another notch on the proverbial belt of essential for DVOA.
Ah a band that is near and dear to my heart. The Walking Hellos is an infectiously catchy bizarre band who strives to do everything so damn well that you’ll never listen to music the same way. On this latest effort, “Because I Wanted to Know”, The Walking Hellos combine field recordings with banjo, clavinet, accordion, and sickly twisted bass licks. Add in a sprinkle and dash or two of percussion that marches up and down your head with spastic guitar that twinkles in the moonlight. Vocally this is five years better than their debut album. The group spent time writing stirring songs that last. Experimenting a bit with song structures deconstructing them down into a melting pot of melody, chaos, harmony, and piecemealed sound, The Walking Hellos have fashioned a steady and undeniable appeal.
Hannis Brown, a creative indie rocker, spends time on “Oh Ah Ee” exploring free jazz compositions, improvisational arrangements with spazzy yet smart lush textures dominating the experience. Lovely, I love how the title track has vocal harmonies that sound like Thom Yorke. Very intriguing minimalism at times that sounds removed from Tortoise and injected with the oddities of Charles Mingus. How many artists can you name that count the following objects as instruments on their album: rustling paper, running water, tapped beer bottles, and the percussion nature of heating systems and trash cans? Rhetorical I know. Only one comes to mind and it’s Hannis Brown.
Okay pretty much any band can have my immediate attention when they start their album off with huge tom and snare rolls. “The Living Breathing Organ Summer” just gets better from then on, improving on avant-garde indie punk. Boasting a surprise around each corner, Child Bite sucker punches you with a funk-oriented soul that is so quirky you can imagine this being a band that is frequented by the likes of Mike Patton and The Jesus Lizard. Eclectic and freakin’ weird, Child Bite is certainly going to be an acquired taste for many people. The Detroit-based band is yet further proof that a crappy economy can have profoundly good effects sometimes – only unemployed maniacs who are craving the prescription drugs they can no longer afford would put pen to paper and come up with lyrics this fucking maniacal.
You wonder if the twin brothers Blaze and Reid Bateh and their longtime friend William Brookshire decided to name their band after the beetle, the groundnut, or the ethnic group in Mali. Well however they were inspired to self-identify as Bambara, the group is certain to inspire some indie noise acts out there. “Dog Ear Days” is a manic EP of creepy compositions made up of feedback, distortion, beats, airiness and noise, and lots of delay. Thrilling and suspenseful, each song seems to build on the last further tightening their grasp around your entire body. While everyone else seems to focus first on melody and then build from the ground up, it seems as if Bambara’s approach is more visceral with an intelligent ear honed to crafting a cinematic and moody backdrop and then Lego-ing the various pieces together unlike most of their fellow Athens, Georgia based bands.
Cascading loops with dark soundscapes and Latin-influences and velvety melodies, “Pequenas Canciones de Amor” reminds me of something off of Acuarela Discos out of Spain. Inflected indie rock noodles throughout this stirring experimental album. Exploring a variety of styles, O Paradis deploys a king’s ransom worth of diverse instrumentation. But the one all encompassing common denominator is heady vocals and a knack for crafty a finely tuned song. There’s seventeen tracks here that bridge the gap between Euro-pop, indie-pop, electronica, experimental, and abstract. I love it. Thank you Tourette Records!