Zaimph - Sexual Infinity (Hospital Productions CD)

Zaimph, Zaimph, Zaimph... Zazazazazaimph. AKA Marcia Bassett of Double Leopards, Hototogisu, GHQ, Shackamaxon, and so on. "Sexual Infinity" is her first ever leigt/available CD release, the rest coming on very small print runs (usually of 100) on her/the Double Leopards' own Heavy Blossom imprint. This one comes to us from Dominick Fernow (aka Prurient)'s Hospital Productions label and it's pretty fitting because this is most definitely Marcia Bassett at her most harshest, at least the harshest I've ever heard. That still doesn't indicate blown out ear-raping sounds, but you know, it's all relative. For the most part Bassett seems more concerned with generating enough pure sonic power and weight with her instrument of choice (the guitar, heavily effected) than in exploring the deep pools of aural fantasy she might be better known for. But that's cool, we've all got to stretch our proverbial wings some proverbial time, right?
"Sexual Infinity" opens with an intro track called "Neither Knoweth", woefully short at a minute and a half. It sounds like thick guitar reverb and some scattershot percussion, all sufficiently muddled so you can never really see the entire picture. The first real track is called "Signal Aggression" which is a pretty appropriate sounding name once you hear it. This piece actually reminds me of something off Prurient's "Black Vase" album with longform tones and high-pitched feedback. And it kinda sears into your brain not at all unlike Sachiko M's sinewave obliterations. Or maybe she's taken a page from her Hototogisu collaborator Matthew Bower's handbook and decided to step up the noise with the guitar drones. I don't know if it's how the track was recorded or what but at some points it literally sounds like either her amp or my speaker is about to be set ablaze, with all sorts of buzzing sounds that will irritate in a flash if you're listening on headphones. Pretty unusual styles for Bassett if you ask me, I'm not so sure I'm a huge fan of that little ditty but it does make for a perfect fit on the Hospital label. "Lamination" is a return to familiar turf with a mightily processed guitar drone roaring off in the distance like a waterfall, a very nice track to bathe or get lost in for some eight minutes. "The Mutterings of Life" is another short one, seemingly based around a vocal sample? At least that's what I hear. The last two songs are far and away the best ones, "Isolation in Ecstasy" (shouldn't it be the other way around huh????) is another 8 minute beauty sounding much like Double Lepz circa "Halve Maen" with a whole lot of galactic touches like comets whizzing past your hair. There's something very intriguing about being dropped smack in the middle of this kind of musical mire with no indication as to how you got there. When you see somebody like Marcia or the Double Leopards live, you're constantly aware of the build up because you've been watching it the whole time...but it's a totally different game when you're just kerplunked right in the middle of some total space avalanche and you have to dig your way - remember: follow the direction of your spit. Last track "Double Infinity" is a hard ruler and it too grapples with the "noise" tag but from a different angle. This is a lo-fi, ultra gnarly, rumbling behemoth. There are so many bad vibes here I don't even know where to start, but it all makes me feel so good in the end. Hospital's blurb on "Sexual Infinity" compares certain parts of it to industrial heads like Uncommunity, Mauthausen Orchestra and Ramleh. At first I kind of laughed it off but the more and more I listen to the album the more and more I realize it's true, especially on this last one.
It's pretty hard to gauge the "path" of somebody who releases as much stuff as Marcia Bassett does, namely because by the time she puts an album out, she's already moved on to another sound. "Sexual Infinity" is certainly an uneven album but seems rife with experimentation and hopefully indicates a direction Bassett will continue to persue, be it under the Zaimph moniker or otherwise. It's about time somebody took these floaty drones and got (somewhat) harsh with them!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been checking out your blog the last few weeks and I just wanted to pass along my thanks and encouragement to you. Your choice of reviews are top notch and bring to light a lot of great stuff that I may have missed or can't find press on anywhere. I've been a Marcia Bassett fan since DL's Pebbles and I was just thinking about how her work, both solo and with DL has become increasingly dense and harsh (I like it though!) as opposed to earlier more airy material. It sounds like this latest one stays the course.
Anyways, thanks and 'keep it up'!

9/26/2006 3:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

seconded...still reading this daily. thanks!

James - IAYIW

9/26/2006 4:54 PM  
Blogger Outer Space Gamelan said...

Thanks a lot for the nice words guys, it's very much appreciated!

If you like the harsher Zaimph direction you definitely can't miss out on this one.

9/27/2006 10:38 PM  

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