Officer! is BACK? Nah. Well, sorta. Blackest Ever Black tore into the chest of its deep discography and conjured up an unreleased album from the 90s, Dead Unique, this past Monday; and to kick it off PROPER, here’s another snippet, “Elephant Flowers.” And it’s ultra smashed-out trippy. Not in a harsh way, but in a way of intricacy: Alto woodwind blowin’ it out. Random distorted vocal bits. Lingering bass. Rhythmically slapped-around drumming. Light-light acoustic guitar. “Elephant Flowers” grows bright and big and (yeah) beautifully bored of getting bogged down, so what’s there to do? Song time. Whoa! These drums really warp at the end here too. YES!
Mick Hobbs, of course, is not just a solo sandwich-losing joker. Throughout the 70s and 80s, Hobbs worked with all manner of UK-based experimental and post-punk groups, including initially The Work, and later groups such as Flaming Tunes and Family Fodder. He was also quite closely associated with This Heat’s Brixton-based Cold Storage studio, recording his 1984 LP Ossification there. In the early 90s he moved to the US to work alongside Jad Fair’s Half Japanese project. His Officer! project, though a solo endeavor, gave him the opportunity to collaborate with all his pals, including on Dead Unique everyone from Patrick Q of The Legendary Pink Dots, the animator and illustrator Marsha Colburn, and Jad Fair.
Dead Unique is out NOW via Blackest Ever Black on 2xLP, CD, and digital, so scope “Elephant Flowers” below until the physical arrives, as always:
• Blackest Ever Black: http://blackesteverblack.bigcartel.com
Seeking the Millenary Kingdom
Solid Melts, where have you been? I found that Branches tape somewhere in Portland almost two years ago. And then that Clearing tape showed up in my mailbox, and I’m thinking, “Okay Solid Melts. Okay.” Then SILENCE. Where have you been? “Wait’s over, Top Heavy,” says some little shop somewhere in Chicago (How do you know my name?). “Check out this Josh Millrod tape. SM026 and shit.” Then, I blacked out. That Chicago trip was crazy. I popped the tape in the deck on the drive home, steering with my knee while I read the inside of the J-card:
In some corner, a vestige of the forgotten kingdom. In some violent death, the punishment for having remembered the kingdom. In some laugh, in some tear, the survival of the kingdom. Beneath it all, one does not feel that man will end up killing man. He will escape from it, he will grasp the rudder of the electronic machine, the astral rocket, he will trip up and then they can set a dog on him. Everything will be killed except nostalgia for the kingdom, we carry it in the color of our eyes, in every love affair, in everything that deeply torments and unties and tricks.
Some quote from that Julio Cortazar novel, Rayuela, which, fittingly, reads like two opposite sides of a tape. That part about trying to grab onto the electronic machine stands out. The churn of synthesized swells rise and fall from the magnetic field of the tape head. Faded regal horns wheeze from the tops of broken, stone castles. Shrapnel flags still fly, but the wind has died. I slip the card back into its case and look up. A gate is opening in the distance.
The Seeking the Millenary Kingdom cassette is available now from Solid Melts, of course.
“Take It Slow”
Is shit like “Take It Slow” or really ANYTHING with guitars as a focal instrument LOL to anyone else in today’s modern music? Like, it’s mildly archaic now, right? For example, when you see bards and chamber bands playing pubs in movies, you think, “Holy shit, that’s fuckin’ old-ass music.” It’s like that, but people are still serious about it. Thus, I’m curious what SECRET COLOURS is more about: the imitation of OTHER rock bands as an aesthetic or embracing rock aesthetics through something progressive I’m missing as a listener in “Take It Slow.”
So, I’ll suggest that I enjoy the candidness of their music, as my attention is directed to this through the randomness of the “Take It Slow” video – which the video is super fun – just reminds me of my constant question, “People are still trying to learn guitar and not more progressive electronics and computers and shit?” Though, in rock and roll, it’s all about showmanship now, and through this video, it seems like it’d be REAL cool to roadie with SECRET COLOURS. They’d probz know ALL the chill spots ‘cause since 2010, they’ve been on a roll with releases. SHIT! All self produced too? Yo, TRUE “indie” artists right here. Like how Mel Gibson paid every dime for the Passion of the Christ and made it his modern “indie” flick, but then everyone made a drinking game out of it.
You can make a drinking game to SECRET COLOURS’ newest album Positive Distractions now, or you can grip it on CD/LP/CS via their Bandcamp! True entrepreneurship starts with a single chord, no? ;)
• SECRET COLORS: http://www.secretcolours.com
PC Music is the best thing that’s ever happened to music, objectively speaking. And the label — who some of us have objectively fallen in love with — has just released a new mix. This one’s by Life Sim, titled This Life, and it follows last year’s All Life mix. Without being influenced by personal feelings, interpretations, or prejudice — that is, based purely on external facts, independent of how I feel or what might effect me on a personal level — I can say that this mix is [REALLY GOOD, AND THAT I WANT LIFE SIM IN MY BODY, LIKE, ~LITERALLY~ IN MY BODY SO I CAN BECOME LIFE SIM AND MAKE MUSIC THIS BOUNCY AND WEIRD AND PRETTY ALL DAY AND ALL NIGHT. ACTUALLY, IT’D BE REALLY COOL IF ALL I HAD TO DO WAS SIT RIGHT NEXT TO LIFE SIM BEFORE OUR BODY PARTS WOULD BLEND INTO EACH OTHER AND WE’D BE THIS LIKE WEIRD MUTANT THING FOR AWHILE UNTIL WE FULLY SUBSUMED ONE ANOTHER, MAKING IT IMPOSSIBLE FOR US TO BE IDENTIFIED BY ANY CONVENTIONAL MEASURES — LIKE, FACIAL RECOGNITION TECHNOLOGY WOULD JUST BLOW UP AT THE SIGHT OF US AND THOSE THUMBPRINT LOCKS ON SELECT LAPTOPS WOULD JUST MELT AT OUR TOUCH!!!]
Anyone have Life Sim’s address?
Hey there, friend. Do you know PERIOD? No, no, not the punctuation mark, you dummy. If I was talking about the punctuation mark would I have intentionally caps-locked my way through the word up there? I’m talking about the improv/experimental/maybe-sort-of-metal-sometimes-but-other-times-not-really band featuring Charlie Looker, Chuck Bettis, and Mike Pride. Somebody once described them as sounding like Derek Bailey covering the Melvins, so, yes, confirmed, they sound like my dreams coming true. Hows about I list some of the members’ side projects to, I don’t know, jog your memory? Well, Looker’s used to be in a little group called ZS, and he also headed up Extra Life. Now he’s currently all about that Seaven Teares life and that Psalm Zero life. Bettis is primarily associated with his work in the improv duo Mossenek, as well as the bonkers sonic assault of Brown Wing Overdrive. Pride leads From Bacteria to Boys as well as Drummer’s Corpse, and he’s collaborated with a whole bunch of folks who will probably make you say, “Oh neat!” like, for example, Nels Cline, Keiji Haino, Matana Roberts, and Otomo Yoshihide.
Okay, with all that listing out of the way, we can get to what my youth pastor used to called the “real spiritual meat” of this here Choco post. You see, many moons (read: 8 years) ago, PERIOD put out their debut album PERIOD, and that shit sold out almost immediately (as of right now, though, you can grab a digital version of it off of Mike Pride’s Bandcamp). So naturally, the guys in PERIOD were like, “Let’s wait eight years and put out another record.” And now, thanks to the kindness of Public Eyesore Records, that new new PERIOD record is finally here. It’s called PERIOD 2 because yes, I agree, making up titles for things sucks. Right now we’ve got an extra special premiere of “Four” from the album going on below. “Four” is the second track on PERIOD 2, which is sort of like how Ben Folds Five only had three people in it.
Anyhow, “Four,” is an exercise in riding that Painkiller-ish line between metal sonics and free improv. Consisting quite simply of Pride’s wall of drums, Looker’s almost-chiming baritone guitar, and Bettis’ wailing reverbed-out vocals, the thing sounds nevertheless massive, pummeling. I want to attribute a substantial chunk of this specifically to Mike Pride, who manages to wring out a surprising range of dynamics and textures, even when playing comparatively traditional parts like the blast beats early in the song’s nearly 12-minute length. Bettis and Looker, too, sound totally jacked in to what Pride is doing, smart enough to lay out when they need to, and carefully just those frequency and timbre ranges left untouched by Pride, springboarding the whole thing up in to the upper atmosphere.
PERIOD 2 features special guests Darius Jones of Little Women, and Sam Hillmer of ZS, and it’s out May 29, as evidenced by the record release show that’s happening on that day in New York. For that show PERIOD will be joined by the clarinetist Jeremiah Cymerman, which is convenient for me because it gives me a reason to include one last Relevant Media Link: here’s Cymerman interviewing Looker on Cymerman’s own 5049 podcast.