Liviiing/I Love You I Love Life

Released 1987 on Oblivion
The Seth Man, May 2006ce
Liviiing were a short lived studio project fronted by Kathleen Lynch, and on their last release her vocals were decorated, assaulted and laced with layer upon layer of sound: Some moved by the caseful at warp speed by swift, invisible roadies around the darkness of the studio floor while others peer in for a few seconds, stick their red razzies out only to hightail it immediately while most of it just flails about on its back, raving and drooling until inevitably dropped off the nearest precipice.

As stripped down as the black labeled, 7 inch and thirty-three-and-a-third-rpm record it was released on, the final statement of Liviiing was also their severest. For when the lid of this aural box of Pandora’s dub is opened, what comes rushing and spilling out but a punishing cut-and-pasted anarchic freak out of haunted female exhortations backed by a bombardment of unruly noise, effects and cut with blocks of cooling silence all shifted in a constant state of re-arrangement. Like the song titles of their previous three singles, the expressions here are (in chrono order): abandoning, gathering, sensing, emanating and tracing. And sometimes all at once, as though a freak worm hole into oblivion has opened up with side A and closes only with the opposing side’s final gasp into silence.

“Liviiing” sees Lynch’s introductory “Seeeeeeeeee...eeee...” accompanied by a furious drum track erupting, shutting off and re-erupting again while speed control manipulations are applied upon everything. A distant synthesizer squiggle briefly enters, then the drums re-enter...and cut off. Again and again. Coursing over aural speed bump after speed bump, the vocals continue in their echoey, ethereal persistence within a huge circle of silence that the accompanying music explodes and disappears all around. Bits of guitar riffs are chucked around, feedback creaks, and then stops in its tracks. In fact, all of these of elements collide more than intersect and when they do, they all fall away and vanish: except for the vocals that continue in wordless prayer, space whisperings, ascending arias or just vibe to the surrounding space and/or lack of it. Synthesizer begins a quiet, two-fingered passage until it zigzags, modulates then tangles up with a low, rumbling undertow of guitar riffage. More modulations occur until the piece descends into a relative pool of calm. but at this point it is the continual pulling of the plug, the false bottom-ness and trap doors into silence that comprise half of the composition of this single so that when it finally fades, it always seems another barrage of racket is about to haul ass back double time. But when all is silent and remains that way until the needle lifts up, it’s startling and needless to say...REALLY silent. With a capital ‘S.’ And three ‘i’s.

The B-side is cut-and-pasted from the same sense of space, random noise interference and freedom interfacing with silence. A whisper slowly grinds up in the mix into a growling atomic blast, and soon the vocals are chattering and scattering away backwards, forwards, anywards in conversation with the constant appearance and disappearances of the drum track used more as patterning than percussion. The vocals only just perceptibly intone the title, “I love you/I love life” with Lynch’s voice of many colours. For no apparent reason, synthesizer begins a leering creepazoid theme only to get wiped out by the drumming which is currently being sprayed errantly all over the place. The near-wailing vocals are now echoed, rebounding at top speed and stereo-panned to dizzying effect. At some point, the signal of the track experiences technical difficulties as it cuts out a couple of times as though applied at the speed of changing the radio station during a spell of Attention Deficit Disorder. But the vocals still are shining like a torch through the growing darkness, making circular patterns and waving up and down with the disjointed rhythms which never cease to change in their uncontrollable and impossibly random hurling of beats in against-the-grain counterpoint. Those invisible roadies are still shifting blocks of signal all around the mix at a crazy speed: from the clipped drum track of breezeblocks in the dryer set to ‘permanent press,’ the sneaked-in synthesizer mystery theme leaking out of sealed Hazmat drums to the vocals; which are now caught smearing into the turbines of multiple jet liftoffs and carried off and all around by the wings of mixing board mayhem. As the drumming continues to be laid down in pulsating, sweeping waves that are anything but percussive, Lynch’s vocals are once more carry the message: “I love...I love...I love...liiife.” And there are three ‘i’s in ‘life’ it’s so wildly echoed and completely freaked out. Synthesizer tries a final time to muscle in, but is swamped by the opened floodgates of drums and cavernous, multi-tracked vocals so it hangs in the background as a fill drone. Through all the chaos of this disassembly, the refrain “I love you...I love liiife...” is repeated one final time by Lynch. And you know what? I do, too. And I love Liviiing for flinging this brilliant one-off into the lap of existence.