Accompanied by the Archdrude and fellow Black Sheep Fido-X, artist Hebbs displays his William Blake deathmask at Avebury’s West Kennett Avenue.
As the culture of Exxon, Cowell & Coke wades daily ever further into the mire, I’ve been buoyed up recently by our ongoing Black Sheep experiment – now four years into the process – and the manner in which all of those members who practise genuine alternative living are starting to ‘become’ themselves. Of course, some are still too busy or too entangled in the so-called real world to have entirely slipped their shackles, but that’s surely all a part of this weird social experiment. There is no time limit, only the justified expectations of other members (we’re like the AA). Black Sheep VC’s daring ORCADIA travelogue of last summer was – to my mind – precisely the kind of direct action that plucked ‘the moment’ out of thin air, Vybik and Common’s cavernous screechings exhorting the Sunday Times to name it a ‘future classic’. Come on, now! True, being a member of the Black Sheep will never make rock stars out of anyone, but they already got me in their ranks so no sweat that end, what what? Besides, the Black Sheep is ultimately about practising (or attempting to practise) that same Personal Responsibility that Gerard Winstanley’s Diggers brought to the English Civil War, that Zapata – by way of his anti-nationalist Weltanshauung – brought to the Mexican Revolution, in other words: excel at being yourselves! Excel at being yourselves, motherfuckers! Excel at knowing your environment and why it works for YOU. I still fervently believe that the only way to Revolution is to make it the Highest, None More High Revolution of all time. Look at Dorian’s unyielding ON THIS DEITY, for fuck’s sake. Fuck the middlebrows whose gruelling adherence to the rules of PC Plod is creating within our free society a near-Nazi demand for Conformity of Opinion. Too strong an accusation? No no and thrice No!!! Modern life is clearly here to get in the way of L I F E, to trip us up with so many minor problems that even some of those with a great Vision are in no position to enact it. Without facilitators, even the Visionary’s Vision may recede forever. Which is why the Black Sheep experiment is set always at thee very H I G H E S T. Take a look at Hebbs’ incredible deathmask of William Blake in the main photo above (and it looks just as three-dimensional when the viewer is up close. Indeed, my friend Urthona mistook it for a 3D art piece, and he’s seen Blake’s real deathmask). But would Hebbs have felt the need to achieve such a specific and startling piece were the Black Sheep experiment not in full force? Would Hebbs have felt the need to achieve such a specific end had the goals not clearly been set at thee very H I G H E S T and he was confident that enough Black Sheep were perceptive enough to appreciate all the time and labour of his endeavours??? Methinks not, kiddies. Moreover, the Black Sheep experiment has bred in several of us the kind of high expectations that exist only when a movement is afoot. But are there enough Black Sheep members for this social experiment to work? Well, who can tell so soon? I suggest we hang fire on judgements just now, and keep on keeping on.
DRINKIN' STELLA TO MAKE MUSIC TO DRINK STELLA TO by Workin' Man Noise Unit
Okay, now deffo the best way to commence this month’s Reviews Section is to pop on to my nearest ‘90s ghetto blaster this manky chromate yellow cassette emblazoned with the simple words ‘play loud’. Brilliantly named DRINKIN’ STELLA TO MAKE MUSIC TO DRINK STELLA TO and magnificently performed by four English nuttas by the name of Workin’ Man Noise Unit, there’s enough cunted Mithraic fire within these two brief sides of monumental midrange and Tinnitus-inducing plateaux to summon up a whole new music scene around these geezers, nay, these Pyramids of Giza. What’s it sound like? Fuck knoweth, brothers’n’sisters. How about the bastard offspring of Final Solution-period Pere Ubu plays Tight Bros From Way Back When, or even the Electric Eels performing Monoshock’s ‘Model Citizen’ into a single compressor microphone. Sweeeeeett! Yes, it’s true you can get a digital version of this kackarama, but my suggestion is SCORE THE CASSETTE, motherfuckers!!! Yup, released on Double Dash Records
), this so-called ‘audio cassette’ (sheesh!) is the Ur-artefact, thee limited edition for all ye most militantly limited Braniacs de la West. And do remember to vibe these high-achieving gentlemen with a kind email of support to firstname.lastname@example.org
. A classic debut, kiddies; let’s just hope nobody with a studio comes to fuck’em up.
BORN A TRIP by Mr Peter Hayden
Same applies to Finland’s gargantuan frost giants Mr Peter Hayden, whose enormous new album BORN A TRIP deploys all of those same marvellous stock devices from last year, just more more more of the same bile, as St. Lester would have it. So just imagine umpteen raw vats of Zeppelin’s ‘Kashmir’ played not by Bonzo the Unruly but by scores of martial Magma-esque marching drummers… then into that fucker dump plenny o’Glenn Branca’s early multiple guitar workouts – ‘The Ascension’, ‘Lesson #1’, that kinda thing – stir in well then process through a 21st century monotony filter set to ‘CUNTED 11’. Oh ja, and then add, from time-to-time, a slew of unexpectedly mawkish near-SABBATH BLOODY SABBATH chord changes totally out-the-blue. Now, brothers’n’sisters, now you’re about approaching the kind of stentorian and ever-advancing Teutonic Amoeba that Messrs Hayden and Hayden have been developing (and in direct contravention to the sonic clauses writ up during the Continuation War, I’d wager). Really no more to report about these Haydens then, kiddies, just buy the disc and get this stunning quintet out of the cold weather and into the charts. Released on Kauriala Society Records
, you can also send much deserved praise to the gentlemen via www.facebook.com/mrpeterhayden
. Stuck for the right message? How about just … Motherfuckers!
AKU by Superbugger
Right, let’s move on now with grace, style and Taliban levels of devotion to the monaural monotrip with the always exhilarating and psychically cleansing AKU by New Zealand’s noiseniks Superbugger. Whew, this is a spectral beast or what, brothers’n’sisters. Over here, arid and scorched guitar riffs hang and entwine in the middle distance as somebody (with a lot of enthusiastic mates) builds an aeroplane hangar in the background, whilst over there is a Japanese noise obsessive almost covering Les Rallizes Denudés’ ‘Smokin’ Cigarette Blues’ by way of ‘Psychotic Reaction’. At times, listeners feel like Superbugger’s show is JUST around the next corner… always almost there. Disconcerting and alienating. Like arriving at an early Funkadelic gig 10 minutes into Eddie Hazel’s masterful ‘Maggot Brain’. Dammit. So if your bag be blissed-out bootlegs of Death Comes Along and you only come alive when the 17-minute ‘Freak’ version of the Stooges’ “LA Blues’ hits the turntable, then these belching Anzac broncos is for you. Released on Israel’s superb Heart & Crossbone Records
, AKU should be secured in hard copy and dangled in front of all your friends, neighbours and accomplices as evidence that 1) Rock’n’roll in 2012 had still hardly started, and 2) you knew it.
BRODA by Gala Drop/Ben Chasny
Next up, I’ve been compelled this past month by BRODA, the huge collaboration between Portugal’s sextet Gala Drop and Ben Chasny, American whizzkid leader of Six Organs of Admittance. Featuring just three supersize pieces, BRODA’s epic multiple percussion and axe burns-ups all develop into meditations of a truly wiped out intensity, propelled by that same early Ash Ra Tempel turbo-buzz, but fashioned cannily enough to facilitate here-and-there ecstatic keystones of rising and genuinely emotional chord structures, each move adding one more Irminsul-sized log to their furious Dervish fire. Moreover, Mr Chasny’s razor sharp contributions throughout this disc often have me ho-humming at the death of Comets On Fire. Released on their own Gala Drop Records
, BRODA should ensnare anyone with a permanent jones for percussion heavy Kraut-Outings, even more when you see that pervy WTF front cover. So do make sure you score the vinyl versh, brothers’n’sisters, even if it’s just to un-nerve the pets. Lovely.
THREE SONGS… E.P. by Ric Kemper
Change of scene, now, me babbies. For THREE SONGS… E.P. by London’s Ric Kemper showcases a particularly quaint and absent-minded Englishness, not twee at all I might add and, though somewhat reminiscent of Syd’s brain-fried BARRETT swansong, here seemingly brought on – to this listener at least – by a world of genuine experiences, successes, failures, highs, lows, winters, summers, expectations and lost expectations. Released on Garden Shed Music
, these songs of Ric Kemper are as delicate and instrumentally brittle as early Felt instrumentals, Kemper’s vocals remote, detached and youthfully weedy. There are no true peaks in these three songs, instead the music lifts off as though from some hang-gliding cliff, thereafter quickly establishing a low flight trajectory barely more than twenty feet above the ground. But in their breezy and bucolic easiness, these songs wheeze with loss and the passage of time. Beautiful.
CONTROL UNIT by The Fugitivies
Finally, Vinyl of the Month must go to Italian duo The Fugitives, whose mind-munted and disembodied debut CONTROL UNIT is the work of guitarist Ninni Morgia and the wonderfully forthright chanteuse and musique manipulateuse Silvia Kastel (whose equally persuasive SEX TAPE I reviewed a coupla months back). CONTROL UNIT commences with the highly catchy ‘Again’, whose pumping bass navigates stealthily under overwhelming storms of Porton Down-sized radio signals and feedback, as the twin voices of La Kastel lay claim to the territory, here the fellatress of fools whose hearts know only turmoil, there the distant Ban Shee who declaims her laws from the mountain tops. ‘Live in Your Mind’ crashes Thomas Lear’s private plane into the Lydia Lunchian heart of No New York’s twin towers. Metaphysical or what, kiddies? Over on side two, ‘Don’t Go Out’ is an industrial radio transmission of a woman’s mental breakdown made by a culture that never discovered the micro-chip, so the sobbing is more Soviet-sized even than A. Vega on Suicide’s ‘Frankie Teardrop’. And by the time the title track closes side two, it’s like Catherine Deneuve dumped two cases of post-Repulsion psychiatric notes over Pere Ubu’s Dub Housing, lit the fuse and, ahem, stood well back. Released on Backwards Records
, CONTROL UNIT makes a good case for some Ethan Mousike-type documentary maker to film La Kastel over 24 hours in her own familiar environment… with contact microphones aplenty, natch. Or at the very least, let’s have a full 2CD set of this compelling Ambulence. Yow-Tsar!
Right, that’s me finished for yet another E pluribus Munthum, save to say that I might well meet you should you choose to grace North Wales’ Dinefwr Literary Festival at the end of June. But as I might well be mohican’d and surrounded by scary motherfuckers, please don’t feel obliged to say hello!
Love reign all over yuz,