Textured Bird Transmission / Thirdorgan / Bjerga/Iversen (Dead Sea Liner CD-Rs)
I had to massively truncate the title for this review because there's no way I could fit all the artists and their lengthy album titles in there. Please forgive.
I received an impossibly slim package in the mail the other day from an address I didn't recognize, and thought maybe I was getting a courtesy shipment of a looseleaf sheet from somebody. Turns out it was even better than looseleaf - it was three CD-Rs from the newly minted U.K.-based Dead Sea Liner label. At present time they have five releases available (the two I'm missing are by Cel and Another Enough Chairs) with jams from Mutant Ape, R.S.R., Release Helen Rytka and Deep Sea Creature in the on-deck circle. And they all cost a tawdry 2 pounds, which is like $4 American or so. The CD-Rs are all uniformly packaged, with the disc envelopped in a heavy cardstock paper kinda reminiscent of the Double Leopards' "official bootleg" skull CD-R series. Of the albums I received, there's one artist I know, one I don't, and one I'm vaguely familiar with.
The first ever Dead Sea Liner release is under a name I've neve come across: Textured Bird Transmission, with the album title being "Purple Weighted Pellets of Despair". It turns out that this is the nom de plume of DSL honcho Allan Upton. His disc begins with the kind of slow-motion fade in that would have Francisco Lopez reaching for the fast forward button. I thought it was total silence when I played it on my stereo, but listening now through headphones it turns out there was actually a low-key ambient drone going on the whole time. Around the four minute mark the rumble starts taking an even larger shape, gathering tiny flecks of detritus as it floats weightlessly through the cosmos. This is very, very reminiscent of Hermann Nitsch's "Harmoniumwerk", although with a bit of a 21st century update. I'm also reminded of that Warner Herzog film I saw, Wild Blue Yonder...not just the soundtrack but the numerous wide-open other-planet deep blue sea scenes. As the piece wears on it gets more rough and frazzled, but still follows a pretty impeccable trajectory culminating with a rather head-expanding finish that sees a bright lasery supernova implosive finish. Very nice! And at close to half an hour, it doesn't drag.
Thirdorgan is the evil I know, as I saw him play a gig last year or the year before or something. Although I don't really know who "him" is as there was just one guy playing the show but the Wikipedia page says that Tutumimoto Takshi and Nakamura Yoshio ended the Thirdorgan project in spring of 2006 after 16 years of activity. Well, that's a downer. So I guess this, "Satanico Pandemonium", would probably be one of his/their final recordings. It sounds a lot like what I remember other Thirdorgan stuff sounding like - incredibly digitized blurts, static washes and glitchy mayhem. "Intro" begins with that line from Dawn of the Dead about hell being full and the dead walking the earth, which leads me to believe it's going to be followed with some gargantuan death metal blast, but instead the sounds that come out of my speaker sound like a dial-up modem throwing up all the numbers it had ever crunched in its lifespan. Then the four movements of "La Sexorcista" commence, all similar in their matrix attack. The album's built around the 22-minute centrepiece "La Sexorcista B", which showcases Thirdorgan's trademark reworking/deconstruction of a female Japanese singer's pop song. The pure digital overload may grate after 40 minutes and it's never loud or offensive enough to prove an endurance test for the hardened noise listener, but the loopy circuit board tinkerings are disorienting enough for me to make sure this is nowhere near the stereo after the bottle's been passed around.
Bjerga/Iversen is the name I'm kinda familiar with because they (Sindre Bjerga and Jan Iversen) run two Norwegian record labels themselves, those being Goldsoundz and TIBProd. After doing some research it turns out they also have a shitload of releases done under their duo moniker, much of them put out in the last couple of years. This particular release is dubbed "In Broken Dreams the World Still Keeps Turning", and was recorded from a concert they performed in the Netherlands this past March. Like most new-drone groups of the day, their instruments vary wildly but I think they rely heavily on keyboards, synths, guitars and a multitude of effects pedals (which doesn't really narrow anything down, does it?). Anyway "In Broken Dreams..." is an eternally slow, almost glacial slide through ambient sounds conjured up by whatever they can get their hands on. Sometimes I'm reminded of the fantastic sounds of nature from Ariel Kalma's "Osmose", the more subdued moments of My Cat is an Alien, or Growing. Later in the set they get a bunch noisier only to drop into moments of near silence, later to be punctuated by grotesquely warped sounds coming off like alien howls. It's kinda like flipping the dial around on Planet X, hitting all sorts of gobstoppingly bizarre Conet Project-esque stations. Almost makes me wish the lengthy ambient intro was eschewed entirely for this.
So there's three unique releases from an interesting young label, one I'd definitely like to keep my eye on of these are any indication. If you wanted a recommendation, I personally think the Textured Bird Transmission is a real winner. The other two didn't knock me out so much but I could easily see myself returning to "Purple Weighted Pellets of Despair". Plus, even though I'm typically wary of U.K. labels due to the ridiculous conversion rates, 2 pounds per disc is a very reasonable demand all things considered. Can't say no to that now can you?