I R E
transgressing the hermeneutics of contemporary aural architecture
month we play a series of hopelessly obscure and barely listenable
records to a self-important fringe musician of microdot significance.
The artist has no prior knowledge of what they will hear, and they
have to attempt to identify the music in order to justify their
hallowed reputation in a pompous and deeply solipsistic musical
tested by jasper cotterell
from the neo-post-bop scene in Scranton, Missourri, Carl Nebulous
joined Pig Eyed Shitbag and the Slayers in 1978, adding heavy bass
reinforcement to their already pioneering reggae-opera infused aural
diaramas. Nebulous moved on as the scene suffered from an increasingly
self-referential pusillanimity, and formed Nebula with Gary Garrison,
a two-man Drive Time outfit with an imaginary third member, Invisible
Keith, who contributed a playful element of silence to their recordings.
The duo moved to Hamburg in 1984, and the West German city exerted
a strong pull on the duo’s collective weltanschauung, but
only two tracks of microtonal feedback were cut to vinyl before
Garrison moved on. Nebulous joined forces with Tandy Tandem, a triangle-shaped
Swedish chanteuse, and released a string of genre-defying roots
dub Viking Folk soundclash 10”s. In the 90’s Tandem
left to build a zoo in space, and Nebulous harnessed the new possibilities
offered by the internet to record subharmonic cloth-jazz tapestries
with left-field luminaries Brandon Hill, and Bronson McVitie of
Prince Mince fame.
Tub Atlantis – Prince Pha Pha (Albion Records) 1979
Oh wow. This is… I should know this. I own this record. I’ve
never heard it played at this volume before.
DIRE: It’s quiet.
CN: Yeah. My turntable is much louder than this. What stylus is
DIRE: It’s a Bang and Olufsen SP-14.
CN: Of fuck, of course it is. Yeah, I know this record. I’ve
never heard it before. I’ve no idea.
DIRE: It’s Prince Pha Pha.
CN: Of fuck! Of course it is. Is it Red Sea Pharoahs?
DIRE: Not quite.
CN: Black Sea Riddim?
DIRE: You’re getting warmer.
CN: [shakes head]
DIRE: It’s Bathtub Atlantis. That’s Chip Pazz
CN: Oh man! He’ll kill me when he finds out I got this wrong.
DIRE: Correct. There is a rumour that you played bass on
CN: Pretty sure that’s not true.
DIRE: It is.
CN: Is it?
Gonna Get Me Some In 7/8 – Rotting Horse (Monumental Diminutive
Is it Merzbow? Sounds like Merzbow. It has that Bartok-esque carnality;
like that chainsaws-in-a-burning-brothel thing he was toying with in the
DIRE: Not quite.
CN: Hmm. Is it Floella Benjamin from BBC’s Playschool?
DIRE: You’re close.
CN: Ah! It’s Rotting Horse.
DIRE: Good work.
CN: The project John Craven and Maggie Philbin worked on together.
DIRE: No, that was the Flashpoints with Keith Chegwin. Rotting
Horse was Chegwin solo, drinking lighter fluid in a darkened room.
CN: Yeah, I remember this record. I’ll have to dig it out. I got
it on laserdisc in Tokyo before it was recorded, but I never listened
Brain Pirates of the
Open Road – Dresden Pilots: The Equestrian Dream (Brian Damaged
This sounds like another one of those instrumental groups with strong
rock tendencies and an armchair association with classical music.
DIRE: Definitely that Canadian Post-Rock sound.
CN: It sounds dense and compact in a loose, freeform way. Fast yet slow.
Like a large man descending a flight of stairs wrapped in parma ham and
chicken wire. I like it. Hmm. No… can’t place it.
DIRE: It’s Dresden Pilots.
CN: Oh. This is lame. I’ve really had enough of that whole scene.
DIRE: You started it.
CN: Did I?
Be Sensible – Rod, Jane
and Freddy Krueger (Rainbow Records/BBC Worldwide) 1981
This sounds like Arabian metal. That Sharia-core scene. Is it Ktub? No-
scratch that, it’s Rod, Jane and Freddy Krueger.
DIRE: Well spotted.
CN: It’s…no. Can’t place the track.
DIRE: It’s Be Sensible, from the 1981 series of Rainbow.
It’s the episode where Zippy ribs George mercilessly for wanting
to be a beautician when he grows up, causing Geoffrey to intervene and
lecture Zippy on his latent homophobia.
CN: I know it’s completely ridiculous, but I don’t even own
this record. It’s like I made a conscious decision to stop listening
to stuff like this because I thought I was kind of cornering myself creatively.
And anyway, their sound is so iconoclastic, you can’t take anything
from it without it being obvious. Being influenced by the whole Rainbow
scene is inevitably plagiaristic because they had such a singular aesthetic.
– Krebka (KuK) 1964
Is this RBJ? This is RBJ. Man, I’m gonna email him now! I haven’t
even heard this yet! This must be new stuff. He has such a muscular take
on formalism. He manages to be simultaneously pugilistic and fragile.
In fact- I was with him when he wrote the main signature of this. No…
wait- this is me on bass! This is Sasquatch Pie (Regent). Jesus, I can’t
believe I failed to recognise a track we recorded together. It’s
funny, we often joke about how we can’t identify a track until the
bass line comes.
DIRE: It’s not RBJ.
CN: It’s not?
DIRE: No, It’s Jethpa by Krebka. You aren’t on this
CN: Oh. Woah. I guess… that bass line is a little to close to mine
for comfort. Maybe he’s been listening to us.
DIRE: This was recorded before you were born.
CN: Mm. It’s okay I guess. Not really my kind of thing.
DIRE MAGAZINE STAFF
PICK OF THE MONTH
– Sound/Map/Vision (Carbon Data)
new album from Dan Coma’s S/M/V project exhibits a new-found irreverence
and subversive whimsy. “People didn’t really get the jokes
on my previous records, so I’ve pushed the humour to the forefront
this time” he explains. Opener “[*Poq.]” exhibits an
avuncular assymetry, hopping blithely between 16/4 and a gently knowing
17/300 signature. This immediately presents the listener with a conundrum:
a playful juxtaposition or a brave (if foolhardy) musical portmanteau?
Further on, Coma pulls off more sonic subterfuge, shoe-horning Foie-Gras
Jazz rudiments into a regressive limbic-toto. The coruscating interregnum
“Cratpdukn (l)” is perhaps too obvious a side-swipe at the
moribund Bench Core scene, but when Coma transcends the exegetical limitations
of the song-as-satire, his quarry resides squarely in the crosshairs.
“Pumped Jennison” is tipped at a sound 14 to 1, with “Honey
Girdles” still the firm favourite at 3 to 1. A robust, if occasionally