Joe Colley, Jessica Rylan & Kevin Drumm - Pure (Musica Excentrica MP3s)
There's a bit of a self-evident redundancy in reviewing a release from a net label, in that you can just go to the site and download it yourself and make your own judgement (which I encourage you to do). On the other hand it gives me a break from panicking about which release I'm going to try and talk about today, especially on a Monday. But don't worry, I wouldn't talk about a release consisting solely of MP3s if I didn't think it was quality - and I do! And dig that line-up...how could it not be? Moscow's Musica Excentrica seems to have a good thing going for it with this release, another split from Philip Samartzis and CD-R (isn't that like calling your band "the Band"?) and a compilation of similar sounds I have yet to investigate. Seems like they're on a monthly release schedule so far which makes them worth adding to your bookmarks for a revisit every time the calendar changes. The three recordings on this disc all apparently took place in a Moscow club, at least I think that's what can be gleaned from the descriptor "the result can be listened as hard, but rather charm liveset, that took place in Moscow DOM club". Each artists contributes a 12-minute track that is impeccably recorded to say the least (if they are live, it's impossible to tell) and delivered unto you in a very respectable 320 kbps CBR bitrate. Pristine chapel, baby.
Joe Colley starts the set first with "Pure One", a slow, thorough exploration of some kind of organic static and birdsong, which may or may not be entirely mechanical. A long rumbly drone underlies almost the entire track with slight touches and deviations along the way, like glitchy noodling or a ruffled, windy growl. The track approaches near-catchiness when a gentle repetitive clicking sound plays over a heavy swathe of earwax-evicting drone, forced to stop and start over again continously...like one of those wind-up toys you crank and crank only to clamp your fingers shut and watch it struggle pathetically against the force created. Or like forcing a record to go against the groove on a turntable. Whichever, I don't know and probably never will know.
A lot of people have used terms like "deeply personal" and "voyeuristic" to describe Jessica Rylan (aka Can't)'s pieces for home-made synsthesizers and voice, but for "Pure Two" I prefer to stick with a phrase like "fucking terrifying". There's a softly resonating sine wave strobe resonating constantly backed with some other noises that seem to break through to your psyche, becoming more and more human in the process. Pretty soon the strobe picks up in intensity and Rylan drops this totally unexpected bombshell of an anguised cry out of nowhere that scares the shit out of me no matter how many times I hear it. It reminds of the first time you me or anybody saw Aphex Twin's "Come to Daddy" video when they were an impressionable youth, or what they thought they were getting when they bought the ParaPsychic Acoustic Research Cooperative's "The Ghost Orchid - An Introduction To E.V.P." album. Rylan's cut plays out in a fashion similar to what you'd expect if one of those E.V.P. ghosts tried to record a song from the other side. Truly one of the most stressful, worrisome, nerve-racking pieces I've heard all year and certainly the best I've heard from Jessica Rylan to date (though I'm no scholar).
Lastly is a much anticipated track from noise demi-god Kevin Drumm who seems to hate releasing things almost as much as he seems to hate playing live. Excluding a limited-run cassette last year, Drumm's last full-length was in 2003 and you don't need me to tell you that that's a lifetime in terms of noise releases. I guess somebody somewhere somehow got him in a place with recording technology with an instrument in his hand and he delivers rather well I think. I have no idea if he's using a guitar or laptop or what here, I'm inclined to say the latter but I have to think the former's involved. "Pure Three" starts out pedestrian enough with a few long-form tones, menacing drones and disarming groans before Drumm shakes things up and produces a series of juttery deviations in his perpetual droning faultline. Slowly but certainly the drone gets harsher and angrier and more frayed around the edges, turning into a snarling horned behemoth. Drumm continues to add layer after layer of dense, white-noise throb eventually coming full circle with a sound that characterizes being locked and left to starve inside an electrical chamber. Definitely works best with the volume turned way up, like all Drumm does.
Kudos to Musica Excentrica for turning this loose and keeping it free no less, because it certainly would be music worth paying for (and again for presenting it in high-quality bitrate files - us sticklers appreciate!). If you want to access the page for downloading "Pure" directly, you can do so by clicking here, and either downloading the three songs individually or altogether as part of a WinZip archive. I could really take a shine to this net label stuff, especially if all the releases are as top-shelf as this one.