Like many other Holodeck releases, SSLEEPERHOLD’s Ruleth LP needs roughly three measures of playback to begin conjuring mental images of the approaching era when robots have taken over our society and routinely force us with gleaming chest panels and syringe-like appendages to carry out all the tasks we once gave them before the robopocalypse. José Cota’s solo sessions stretch out as swathes of engorged synth tones clashing with oscillator noise and cassette collage, all laid out atop a drum machine stomp, with just enough reverb on the bass drum to find that early industrial sweet spot on your cortex grid and prod it incessantly.
If you were expecting some kind of resolution to your stroll through the Conquered Lands after the robot uprising, you’re not gonna get it. Maybe you’ll find an undented can of Progresso among the ruins of a nice single-family home caught less than 40 kilometers from the blast radius, but it’ll be a small victory compared to the miles of post-urban ashscape you have left. As Cota’s tracks grind on, synth melodies manifest and pile together into bleeping counterpoint structures reminiscent of Wendy Carlos’s sorcery — a connection fully soldered into its titanium chassis by track titles like “Timeghosts” and “Dreamwaves.” But SSLEEPERHOLD’s grim restraint, the stoic pace at which new elements hit the mix, allows us enough time to revel in each analog drum or synth tone, with the kind of unbridled admiration that our electronic overlords can only dream/calculate of glimpsing in our fleshy little eyeballs. (“Will they ever love us, as we once loved them?” the RoboMonarch wonders aloud, gazing out upon the charred husk of a public garden.)
Find some comfort in the fact that even in the dystopian absence of telecommunications networks, intercontinental fiber-optics tunnels, and any reliable correspondence with other groups of human beings outside of your eyeshot, you still might one day happen upon a basement chamber in which SSLEEPERHOLD has plugged a 909 and a Walkman into an ethanol-powered generator and is still pounding out the jams for a semicircle of exhausted rebel commandos at a volume low enough to not bleed through to the surface.
• Holodeck Records: http://holodeckrecords.com
No, silly, not the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio or the Slavonic and East European Review; Seers are a nihilistic noise band. Ushered in by a ruthlessly elongated school bell, Pete Swanson and Gerritt Wittmer play with big slabs of noise (and the occasional hint of redemption) across these 12 minutes. Yet, this is merely an introduction to what is to become a collaborative beast in December on Wittmer’s Misanthropic Agenda. As per usual, it will be mastered by the most suspiciously prolific man in the prolific field of prolific electroacoustic composition: Giuseppe Ielasi.
• Misanthropic Agenda: http://www.misanthropicagenda.com
“I don’t want to talk about the flowers on my dress, no,” she said while whisking her hair in whatever way.
He just had to hold her hand and muttered, “It’s not the print I’m interested in, you know?” He shakes his head, eyes fixed on the floor, and thinks about approval. “Think of all the people.”
“Couldn’t you do better?” she asks and may have looked at him, “You could do better.”
“What are you even talking about, am I not even…” he hesitates honing in the heat of this scene, “Better… better… let’s stop eating meat.”
Growing her hair gray, maybe, she turned, not meeting his eye level, and says, “Let’s play divorce for 15 more minutes and get some beer, okay?”
“Okay. New sheriff back in town?” he asks without cracking a smile.
She scrunches her noise and eyes, starts to cry; it’s borderline convincing as she yells, “It’s usually your fault, but —” He bursts into laughter, as she gets up, washes her face, puts on her pants, and says, “Let’s get the cheap shit, I’m not particular for taste.”
• Giant Claw: http://giantclaw.bandcamp.com
My Mind Travels Far
Like his fellow countryman and beat maker Stekri, French producer Le Parasite first came to my attention through his contributions to the Dzordr Records’ Session compilations. In fact, at least one of the songs on here — “The Collapse” — previously appeared on an installment of that series, albeit with a different title. All that being said, Le Parasite’s instrumentals always stood apart from the bunch, even when “the bunch” was an alternating roster of experimental artists specializing in various subgenres and based in different locations around the globe.
Now, Le Parasite stands on his own with a formal solo debut that’s about 16 years in the making. Stream My Mind Travels Far below for free, buy the CD for €12 (or more) here, and be sure to check out the video for the album’s first single “Chaos Technique.”
You strut down the beach promenade, clutching an irn brew ice cream, and the smell of fetid sea water clings to your skin. On the distant horizon sits a gleaming white yacht. Something about its perfect contortions of plastic and fiberglass feels… dirty. There’s an inescapable seediness to such shining, high-cost islands of personal pleasure. This is helped by the faint smell of sewage still lingering after your impromptu dip. Luckily, we are all too polite to say anything.
Miracle Strip do well to show us the cracks. “Girl Gang” is three and a half minutes of thrusting, roughed-up pop music, imbued with a narrative flare that seems rare in much contemporary song writing — filth, mystery, sexual tension — the luminescent panels of some modern noir comic book, set in Scotland of course. The record contrasts a plunging lead vocal that works to recall, then escape, your favorite bass-baritone — Stevie M? Aidy M? Scotty W?! — with a collection of stolen synths that summon a moment in-or-around 1982, when we’re told that the future last really sounded like the future.
Stripped back down to your Speedos, you stand, feet blue in the cold lapping waves. What can we do but wash in the dirty water?
“Girl Gang” is released as a limited-edition deluxe 7-inch white vinyl on October 21 via Glasgow gig promoters/micro-indie label Simply Thrilled Records. If you are in this neck of the woods, the record will be launched with a headline show at Glasgow’s The Old Hairdresser’s on Friday, October 25.
The single also has a rockin’ bunny-trip of a video to accompany it, filmed in Rio De Janeiro.
The first time I saw Cellular Chaos (Admiral Grey – voice, Weasel Walter – guitar, Kelly Moran – bass, Marc D. Edwards – drums) was at the dearly departed Brooklyn venue Zebulon. At that time Ceci Moss was the bassist, with the group bringing together low-end sludge, Walter’s Bob Quine-inspired slick guitar howl, Grey’s martial chants, and Edwards’ taut, walloping metronome. In this they were incredibly disjointed and highly effective. This was certainly in part because the guitarist was careening into the tables of the seated audience, sending glass candles and wax everywhere. In the year since that gig, with Moran in bass chair and occupying a Tim Wright-like role, Cellular Chaos have tightened up their music considerably while retaining near-reckless abandon. With a ghoulish glamminess and an unsettlingly vague sexuality, Grey is a powerful and confusing frontwoman, though the band certainly has its own valuable instrumental orbit — equal parts Lake of Dracula and Jack Ruby.
All of this can be quite difficult to contain on record, but the sound of “Adviser” (from their eponymous debut LP on ugEXPLODE) is more akin to a bottle exploding — tinny and played at a breakneck tempo (compared to live settings), with speed and brazenness that slip past Teenage Jesus and Black Flag into electrifying singularity. Grey’s vocal delivery pierces and shouts, yet is imbued with an aridness that slides around the ensemble’s jagged clamor. It’s interesting to hear Edwards in this context too – he’s a free player who has worked with Cecil Taylor and David S. Ware as well as leading his own units. He has described working in Cellular Chaos as pure athletics, requiring an entirely different set of responses. A band that is frighteningly dry on disc and a wet, unruly experience live, Cellular Chaos are a strange and powerful brew.
Streaming below is the premiere of “Adviser” on their eponymous debut LP Cellular Chaos out now via ugEXPLODE, and experience them on a still-materializing tour starting November 1 in a town near you.
[Photo: Justina Villanueva]