Knurl Scyamine

[Pacrec; 2006]

Rating: 3/5

Styles:  noise
Others: Merzbow, Matthew Bower, Devillock, Aaron Dilloway

My friend Grant's dad has boxes of early '80s punk rock 7-inches from European bands too obscure to even have a bio floating around on the internet. I live in a town full of old dudes whose garages are slammed wall-to-wall with rare regional soul, mod, and garage 45s. And I like being around people who can share a great minute-and-a-half of crust punk or Philly funk with me. Hearing the best (and probably) only song that a gangly bunch of 19-year-olds from Detroit recorded can be downright inspiring: for two-and-a-half minutes, those kids are as good as The Byrds. Nevermind that B-side is a cowpoke misadventure, or that all of them went on to become accountants and Will Ackerman listeners. Those dusty records transmit as vital a message as any of Rolling Stones' top 500 albums: they remind us that creativity isn't the playground of a handful of geniuses and icons, but a stream that any of us can tap into, even if just for a moment.

Noise rock short-runs like this one give me that same tingle. Nothing too mind-blowing here: like all Knurl albums, Scyamine bellows with the sounds of scraping homemade metal instruments, and like any good Merzbow release (or any of the zillions of records that sound like Merzbow), all this damaged, distorted treble rips into a mesmeric groove befitting a shoegaze instrumental. It's brutal, but not that brutal, as a sense of purposiveness that defies conventional musical sense is definitely at work. If you're at all concerned with buying only "essential" records, if you're retabulating your year-end Top 10 every two weeks, then this album won't mean very much to you, although you'll have no reason to find it disagreeable. But if you need every shot of inspiration you can get, dive in.

1. Aloplasm
2. Entrosyme
3. Exteroceptor
4. Perparaphy
5. Aesthesia
6. Scyamine
7. Panasomiasis

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