Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Catalogue
Pénétration


Released 1982 on Hat Hut
Reviewed by Lugia, 25/02/2004ce


Catalogue: "Pénétration"
Hat Hut Records hatART 1997/98. Recorded and released 1982.

LP:
Side 1:
1) Khomeiny Twist - 7:45
2) Derisoire - 3:45
3) Pénétration - 8:20
Side 2:
4) Stop Stress - 3:00
5) Ultim Arlene -1:45
6) The End - 14:10
EP:
Side 3:
7) Orphelinat - 7:50
8) Demnachst Mon Amour - 1:30
Side 4:
9) Khomeiny Twist #2 - 3:45
10) Absolution - 6:00


With yowls of nasty, black-noise guitar feedback, Catalogue kicks off their supposed final live show in Basel with "Khomeiny Twist". Ahh...but don't expect everything to be psych-metal here. Nope. After a minute or two of 'tar 'buse there's a...Casio home organ? Huh? And as if nothing were wrong, the guitar just keeps blanging and screeching over this as the vocals come in "KhomeinyKhomeinyKhomeinyenyeny...TWIST!!!"

What...the...hell...?

Catalogue were an interesting and damage-prone interstice between free jazz, New Music, punk, and just plain trouble. Incorporating Jacques Berrocal from around the time of his collabs with Nurse With Wound, a pre-Urban Sax and Lard Free Gilbert Artman, and noisemeister and acquaintance of the likes of Blurt, Arto Lindsay, Makoto Kawabata and Elliot Sharp Jean-François Pauvros, this trio lays down an LP and EP set for the equally-troublesome Hat Hut label here that is...well, it's not easy listening. It's really twisted, in fact. By the time we're getting toward the end of that first track, Berrocal's seemingly out of his head on his vocals.

"Derisoire"...very free-jazz/noisy now. Instead of abusing the guitar, they turn to abusing the inside of a piano, while people beat the shit out of various gongs and cymbals and Berrocal moans and honks on a harmonica and runs the results thru some primitive electronic device that sounds like it was developed by hillbilly sound engineers in 1824. Then it all snaps into minimal turf...very repetitive/Krautrocky, but at the same time really fractured and sloppy. More yowling racket, asthmatic wheezing, and it's over.

Then what I would guess is their 'themesong' comes to the fore with a nice ambient drone...and then piercing trumpet noises, like Miles, but Miles in a very weird zone. Scrapy fiddle...and drums...hmm, this is kind of like an ether-binged slopbucket version of something on "Get Up With It". Sort of a defective "He Loved Him Madly", if you would, crossed up in the latter parts with some early Guru Guru with most of their gear broken or inoperative.

Flip the side, and you get Berrocal coughing and hacking in rhythm, a sort of Mani Neumaier-ish drum groove, and guitar meandering all over the map. "Stopstopstopstopstopstop...STRESS!" intones Berrocal. Yeah. Damn. Real nuts, this. It's punk-raw...but it's not punk...or is it? Who the hell knows?

But "Ultim Arlene" sure as hell is punk. Just guitar kraaang and skreeee and frzzzzz and Stooge-o-rama drums and out of his head yowling, with the only words you can make out being "YyyyES! Feel awright...!" Short and to the point.

"The End". Well...don't expect the Lizard King, folks. Berrocal begins by murdering "Stranger in Paradise" on the trumpet with hideous Gristle-grade processing. Artman's out in polyrhythm freejazz leftfield. And when Pauvros comes in, it's all psycho-strangulation-dronenoise and fuzz added to even more chaotic layers of general chaos. And the destruction goes on and on, into this sort of Herb Alpert meets the MC5 zone. Wrong. Just...wrong. Insanely wrong. By the time we're past the halfway mark, it's turned into sheer noise for noise's sake. Lease-breaking stylee. Yeaaaaahhh! When Berrocal breaks out the squeaky-toys against the "Sonic" Smith style blaaaang...you know you have _heard it all_!

Ahhh...but you haven't. See, this is no mere LP, but Catalogue gives you an extra 12" 45RPM slab of difficulty to digest.

"Orphelinat" sort of starts out like a more jerky "Heroin" with half the VU's gear missing. Berrocal starts intoning some story (I think) about "some sorry dude" (maybe) that meanders (relatively) off here and there in French and English and gibberish and noise and such. This really kind of redefines the whole notion of 'really loose playing', I think. Pauvros may just as well be playing the bass here with his big toe, Artman's off...somewhere...and Berrocal is...somewhere else altogether. Cheap plastic whistles give the latter parts a "Zamfir-meets-NWW" sort of sheen (sheen? what the fuck? hah?).

"Demnachst..."...oh, just wrong. Klaus Dinger did more coherent singing on "After Eight". One of the other members starts chanting "PLEASE STOP PLEASE STOP PLEASE STOP...!!!". Trouble.

Second "Khomeiny Twist" is no nicer than the first...even faster, more screech and peeeyaaaang, and weird-ass dub effects that sound like things out of Lee Perry's nightmares. Yeeeeeeee...it's even EQed to be more ear-piercing!

And then finally, the last track, "Absolution". Catholic liturgy meets Motor City-style. These boys are just banging away like Sonic Youth in their more troublesome free-jazzy moments. I'm not even wholly sure they bothered to tune the guitars for this. It's just sloppy and damaged and really fun. Everything grinds to a halt...and then WOO-HAH! KICK OUT THA JAMZ! ...and we're back into this crazy-ass late electric period Miles + late heroin problem Stooges zone.

Them boys shore 'nuff like their noise, I tell ya! If you're looking for some sort of straightforward rock-n-roll experience, forget it. Don't even bother with this. But you like some SERIOUS fucko mayhem slathered together with something like a primitive garage-grade band trying to play a cross between some three-chord Troggs thang and Stockhausen's "Aus den Sieben Tagen", then have you ever come to the right place, brother! On the noise-n-trouble Richter, I'd give this an 7.5; it's not unlistenable blasto-racket, but it's not easy on the ears or mind, either. If you like 'em difficult, find this one.


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