Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Ron Geesin
Right Through

Released 1977 on Ron Geesin private label
Reviewed by achuma, 16/02/2006ce

For some of Ron Geesin’s previous solo works, please see the reviews for ‘A Raise Of Eyebrows’ and ‘As He Stands’. This album, ‘Right Through’, contains less of the weird humour and monologues found on those two albums, being mostly instrumental, but remains one of his most interesting and experimental albums. The cover, showing a person looking down at an open book they’re holding out, with a peculiar miniature cut-out of Geesin appearing to be stepping out of the book itself from a 2-D universe and introducing the title page to the viewer with a sweep of his arms, certainly hints that a strange listening experience is to be found within, and that first impression doesn’t disappoint.

‘Door-O-Plane Gets Its Blades’ [1:49] fades in quietly with an atmospheric, forboding high organ drone, as munchkin mind-slaves chant mechanical assemblages of words, and tape-manipulated door sounds fragment and swell into great clusters of moving sound. This goes straight into ‘Blades Spin Notions’ [3:05], as weird church organ stabbings give way to a meandering melody, bizarre looped chants swim in and out like a dark storm, and then synthetic bird noises chirp in a brief country interlude, as a farmer babbles nonsensically, then into something else again... too much is going on to keep up with the changes, but suffice to say this is a pretty strange slab of musique concrete that swims between various realities like flipping through a deck of cards, each card taken from a different deck.
‘Motion Above Rhythiodor’ [5:37] fades in from the previous track and sinks into a cosmic netherworld of intertwining synths, evocative of slowly unfolding subterranean drama with a hint of cheesiness, settling into a quirky repeated groove that sees the munchkins marching off to work the mines, kinda like Raymond Scott-meets-Mort Garson circa Lucifer/Black Mass, riding it out for a few minutes before shimmering into glassy haze and fading into a spluttering morass of chopped-up tape-manipulated sounds.
‘Four Guitars Did Laugh, Then Thought Again’ [7:55] emerges out of the chaos with gently plucked acoustic guitar melodies interlocking. The mood now is moody and cerebral, with an almost chamber-music feel, before the classical mood is broken by seemingly random spasms exploring incidental nooks and crannies and overturning small rocks to see what lurks beneath, then veering straight back into the previous structured journey, creeping through a forest that promises mystery and a possible quick and gruesome demise just around the next looming tree or behind the next dark pocket of shrubbery. This settles into a hypnotic groove on one guitar as another solos away baroquely, all sounding much like some early Third Ear Band mantra, before multiple guitars splinter off in all directions whilst maintaining a solid but complex structure amongst the seeming chaos.
‘Throb Thencewards Thrill’ [4:14] immediately throbs forth both jubilant and threatening with all manner of synths and keyboards running both warm and cold, like a rallying cry to a rebelling army of outmoded robots, and here I’m reminded of parts of the electronic half of Tony McPhee’s ‘The Two Sides Of’, then building to a climax as said robots get melted into slag before they knew the battle had even begun.
‘Hiding Haul Of Voices, Hail!’ [4:52] enters with reverbed footsteps running through interlocking passages towards your ears and through your head, before falling down an interdimensional flight of stairs, noisily knocking over a whole bunch of shit, then running back to where they came from, only to return again, leap into a rocket ship and fly straight into a huge pile of cardboard boxes that bring it stumbling to a quick halt. Multitracked, reverbed vocals seep in like a rank gassy mist, one whispering and the others more loudly all reciting the same rhythmic nonsense poem like a comical spell to raise the corpus of some forgotten and obscure trickster god footnoted for not making enough sense to be viable in the real world. Near the end subtle industrial static noise flows beneath like molten lava, and a door closing brings us to ‘Shut Out Hailing Calls Through You’ [2:36], as mournful chants and whimpers lay down a slowly growing web of mind-fucked intrigue, again managing that great Geesin conjuring trick of sounding both slightly ominous and lightheartedly silly at the same time. At the end this all gets sucked down the tubular gut of some glowing plastic worm made out of a partially clogged alien-engineered vacuum-cleaner, emerging onto the lunar surface of ‘Gong Of Going Goes Right Through’ [12:22]. The sparse sounds laid down initially sound all electronic, but there’s probably only one actual synth line here, the rest being treated conventional instruments made to sound more exotic than they really are. Quasi-eastern melodies play out over a mantric, chiming and droning undercurrent as though constructing a planet in unhurried and coldly logical sequence, and nearly seven minutes have passed like a ship in the night before much change is really obvious, as it all builds gradually and smoothly in complexity, a sacred temple being erected around us as we sit and meditate. Spirits dance and morph in the dim space before your eyes, getting more and more fevered, before an intergalactic wormhole appears and sucks everything inside, including you.
‘Rhythiano Plonks The Plug Out, And We Follow’ [5:31] squeezes the listener gently through this tubular passage, bringing you to a hazy bubble world of kookery as a mechanical, cheesy circus tune glintzes away at a seaside fair that never was, munchkin work chants fade in reverbing within their own encapsulated bubble and fade away again, and the wheel of cheese rolls along deliriously and obliviously to the conclusion of the record, as the muchnkins are revealed to still be chanting the same repetitive, mechanical sequence of words from the start of the album. And then you’re (hopefully) left scratching your head and thinking, “what the hell was all that?”

The CD reissue of this album on Headscope also features previously unreleased music from 2003, but I’ve only come across ‘Right Through’ on the original vinyl issue so I can’t pass comment on what the extra stuff is like.

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