Ramleh - Grudge for Life

Grudge for Life

Released 1990 on Vis a Vis Audio Arts
Reviewed by Lawrence, 19/12/2013ce

Gary Mundy's ongoing project Ramleh has continued to have one foot each in two different music styles, one in the Industrial/Power Electronics camp (so to speak) and one in Avant-Rock. For a long time he's also been displaying his unique guitar-wares with the indie-rock band Breathless... How does he do it? Who knows?

If many people familiar with the noise and cassette underground scenes would remember, Ramleh started out inspired by Whitehouse and Throbbing Gristle, utilizing home-recording and cheap musical and audio equipment. (I recall it being mentioned they used an early-model Casiotone...) They weren't mere copyists, as one listen to their early recordings would reveal. The naming of their label after a track by Patti Smith (Broken Flag) would not seem so ironic when later Mundy would break out his guitar under the Ramleh monicker.

So by this rare album, released on a small Japanese label and never reissued to this date, it might have surprised some avid noise-listeners that this was a mostly guitar-oriented record featuring Mundy but also maverick noise-nik Philip Best on vocals and synth. Although lacking a drummer or even a drum machine, this was a rock album.

Now I shouldn't forget to say some words about Best, me being only a month younger than him but with his early Consumer Electronics project he was already doing his own thing at a time when I didn't even know the Industrial/noise scene existed, much less had made my own noise. At a young age he definitely seemed to know what he was doing and always seemed very candid and sharp in interviews. You can just get a hint looking at his boyish smirk on the cover of Grudge for Life -- worth the price of admission actually.

Anyways Grudge for Life occasionally recalls the Velvet Underground, particularly on tracks like Reunion Riders. Leaving Here might just be about Best leaving home at the age of 13 (I'm thinking anyways...) I think if this record ever gets reissued though, there should be a lyric sheet because even the titles like In Any World Worth Saving would make one curious. Indeed in any world worth saving this album should be reissued anyways... Later the group would be more of a band with a more streamlined if noisier sound. The closer Bastards in Any Language is a nice ambient piece different from anything else on the record.

Reviews Index