Various Artists - Aryan Asshole Records Compilation Volume One (A.A. Records LP)
Well now we're talking! A.A. Records is, of course, Nate Young of Wolf Eyes' own record label, and undoubtably the most elusive of the bunch (the bunch being American Tapes, Gods of Tundra, Hanson Records, etc). In fact, I think this might be the first A.A. release that you don't have to actually be in Wolf Eyes to hear. So that's a plus. It's also a plus if you, like me, have been drooling over the gorgeous 7" lathes Nate has been doing as of late. They were recently compiled into a box set, but the price was just a little bit out of my range (although you may recall from an earlier review I managed to snag the Religious Knives one, which is included here). But don't feel bad if you did spring for all the lathes, because this compilation only includes snippets; a window into a wholly trashed universe to be sure.
Bloodyminded's cuts are first, and their contribution consists of a couple of live songs, one from their first 7" and another one called "Porn Lords", if I'm not mishearing. If you've ever heard Bloodyminded's marriage of electronic/harsh noise and punk rock vocals and ethos, you know what you're getting into. I think the banter between songs is actually longer than what they play though...
Next is Wolf Eyes who present a super-wasted kind of jam, with Nate going from muttering to deranged howling that actually sounds like Wrest of Leviathan, believe it or not. The Throbbing Gristle-tinged scrapes and dronings make for a mind-crawling backdrop.
Around here I start getting confused, because Wolf Eyes' track drops out and another one starts up which I think is Aaron Dilloway, despite the fact that's actually listed after Graveyards on the sleeve. Go figure. Whoever it is has a horrendous backwards gutter-wrenched motorcar driller sputtering along until it takes off at full flight, totally up and down the expressway to and of yr skull.
After that's done there's some cracked lightning being highlighted by a delightfully mournful sax run, so this must be Olson's free jazz project Graveyards. There's a beauty of a part where Olson unleashes a low-soaring horn drone and the original lathe's groove starts locking up, drawing it out even longer. At least, I think it's the original lathe doing that. There's some more locked-groove sputtering around the end of the track, but it sounds more like a coda to the Graveyards bit than Dilloway, who was slated to play next...but then the Religious Knives' boggy ritual begins, so I think I'm right about him playing earlier. Finally Hive Mind sets up a sickened, wavering slab of textured drone, real vintage-like. There's a nice little wind tunnel completely boring a hole in the heart of the song until it swallows everything up...and the best part is that it ends in a lock, so you can just let it weasel into your noodle and that's how the paramedics will find you.
Side two begins with the Moonlanding. I can't tell if this is anyone's "project", or just a name given to a bunch of records of...well...the moon landing. All your favorite jams are on here, including "that's one small step for man" and "the eagle has landed"! What else can I say? Well I can say I'm glad I didn't shell out $25 for this one...
Damion Romero's track begins with a mighty noise blat and then splinters off into an inoffensive drone. It hangs around a bit, then heads on out. And that's that. Dead Machines play a very familiar kind of syncopated head-creep, with Olson's sax once again stealing the show/my heart. Pretty damaged and scuzzed up, and that's saying something. C. Spencer Yeh's Burning Star Core do delicate, throbby drones with all kinds of patterns crossing and interweaving and all that fucked up Zen shit like you do. Pretty nice. Then there's Mike Connelly's Failing Lights, which is a remarkable imitation of a vacuum cleaner if I've ever heard one. But it does kind of suck you right up and that's what a vacuum cleaner does, right? Right...Charlie Draheim's track is a muted, distant airplane hum which I could probably get into if it lasted longer than 2 minutes. But it doesn't, and I'm sorry for that. Raven Strain is at the bottom of the order, and he does the team proud with a high-pitched radioactive scraping and whistling doubled up with super-messed and distorted vocal hauntings. Luckily this one isn't locked, as I think it has the potential to drive a person insane.
I think all the tracks here lose a bit of their "specialness" when ported over to the LP compilation format, but that's a silly bitch of a complaint and I know it because I was clamboring more than anyone to lay my ears on these. On the other hand, I now feel more inclined to hit up distros for the very last copies of the Graveyards, Wolf Eyes, Dead Machines and Hive Mind lathes because I'm all intrigued to hear the rest of what they have to offer. It's worth noting though that the record sleeve does a nice job reproducing the lathes' art in full glory, so even if you never get the chance to hold one in your hands, this really isn't such a bad consolation prize at all.