Mutant Ape Curates the Jams Part 2
Back again with the second and potentially final part to Mutant Ape's box o' horrors...there were a few things I couldn't get around to, a cassette, a few CD-Rs and the DVD-R if I remember correctly so I'll have to hold onto those for now. Hopefully I'll be able to revisit them at another date but I think three evenings spent with all these noise releases would be enough to send me to an early grave. That said, onto the jams!
First up is an eye-catching-in-all-the-wrong-ways cassette from legendary the Japanese noise unit Government Alpha - "Undercliff" (Turgid Animal). Dig: the tape comes wrapped in paper inside a spraypainted milky-white (ahem) case, itself in between two pieces of paper with some certifiably raunchy drawings, and all that sealed in a plastic baggie with a teabag thrown in for good measure. Whoa. Truly befitting the Government Alpha asthetic too. Sounds are pretty vintage Gov't Alpha fare although I don't remember him (Yasutoshi Yoshida) playing up the high-end so much on previous releases. Both sides are trademark static walls with the occasional detectable computo/matrix barf. It's mostly just straight up metallic storm-level blasting, trading into the upper registers more often than my eardrums would like. An impressive, exhaustive listen and definitely sounds as hideous as it looks. Recommended, as all Government Alpha stuff usually is.
The other tape came in similar style packaging, paper in a baggie with shards of broken records enclosed. The release in question is Fecalove & Gagagaruga's "In League with Baudo" (Turgid Animal). This is a collaboration between two Italian artists I've never heard of, and their collective modus operandi is laid out pretty plainly on Fecalove's MySpace: ""In league with baudo" is two microphones running through a cheap mixer and various pedals , for a horrible harsh noise assault. "Anti-Bongiorno" [the B-side] is microphones running through the same mixer but without any effect pedal..feedback feast !". Amen. If I thought the Government Alpha tape was rough, "In League with Baudo" totally peeled my ripe brain from the inside out. The first side is a bit more diverse, as the two (or more?) go from blistering amplifier overload to yawning synthy shrieks to piercing sine wave tonalities to heads-down sheer pedal abuse to laid-back bowel-eviscerating drones. But then they start to settle into grooves, opting mainly to drive you insane with more high-end frequency bombings. I felt like I had swallowed a thousand fire ants and they were trying to chew their way out. Limited to a meager 10 copies and I've got one of them so best of luck to ye!
Despite having a name that inspires hatred, Coco and Fiend Friend's "Dedicated to Sal Baccaro" (Turgid Animal) is a pretty solid 3". Song titles like "Surf Hitler Teenage Cock" (I think the last word is cock?) don't do anything for me either, and indeed that particular song is a pretty lame noise-rock thing that I'm not going for. But the other two tracks ("SS Love/Beast in Heat" and "Bone Fried") are considerably harsher and better. They both lock into some supremely sludgy loops of dark static and other synapse-exploding sounds but the latter won me over by playing what sounded like an extra-harsh and fuzzy version of the riff from Sunn O)))'s "Gates of Ballard", not to mention some near-Orthrelm style shredding...all amidst huge towers of noise bluuur.
Also on the 3" format is Feast of Ishtar's "The Gypsy Curse" (Turgid Animal), who look more like a noise band (at least judging by the cover of another FoI CD-R I was sent) ala Bloodyminded or Hijokaidan. I don't have that CD-R in front of me but I think I remember a dude playing a guitar, and maybe even a drummer. And there's even a picture of a guitar neck on the reverse of this disc's cover. But what's weird is how this CD-R sounds nothing like what I'd expect a noise band (if that is indeed the case) to sound like. No discernable instruments here, just more effect pedals and microphones and mixers and the like. The first track sounds like a pretty poor live recording that's lost all of its impact by putting it on recorded media, but the other cut is a real wallop to the face, like slow grinding gears being pulled apart and forced back together again. Not bad, but nothing worth writing home about.
Last 3" is Love Letters' "Lowered Expectations" (Turgid Animal), featuring a track called "Black Dreams" and another called "Drunk Tank". First one isn't nearly as grim as I've would've expected, with lots of cartoonish feedback screech, various planet-destroying sound effects and a low rumble that builds as the jam wears on. "Drunk Tank" is pretty similar but sees the addition of some gargled throat excocisms while still maintaining a sound like a billion U.F.O. transmissions being intercepted at once. It's only harsh if you're turning the volume all the way to the right, which you should be in any case.
Rough Sex Quartet/Mutant Ape/Fecalove - "Cock Fiddler Nite" (Turgid Animal)" is a compilation/split CD-R from a 2006 show the groups had in Newcastle. It seems to play in reverse order with the headliners going first, because Rough Sex Quartet's track is 35 minutes long (compared to Mutant Ape's 18 and Fecalove's 10) which is a shame because it's a total bore in every sense of the word. Like many live noise documents, everything gets lost in translation as what was probably originally a semi-intriguing set sounds no more eventful than listening to the hum of your dryer. That's really all there is to it. Mutant Ape's track is better as one long harsh noise opus that actually benefits from the rough slipshod live recording because it sounds even more frazzled and tattered. Fecalove's set is as far-reaching as the collaborative cassette reviewed above, with lengthy journeys into either droning stratospheres or head-puncturing feedback investigations. Nice enough but doesn't really make up for the snoozefest that the other 60% of the disc is dedicated to.
A quick Google search confirms my suspicions that Filthy Fecal Mutants' "Smell the Stench" (self-released) CD-R is in fact the collaborative work of Filthy Turd, Fecalove and Mutant Ape. It just would've been too weird if there was actually a band called Filthy Fecal Mutants and they were totally independent of the other three acts. There's two untitled tracks here, a 35-minute and a 25-minute one. Both come off pretty muffled, like there members are operating under a thick fog and/or smokescreen. Works to delicious effect! Someone's hammering on all kinds of keys that emit weirdo siren echoes and lends a total psychedelic C.C.C.C. vibe to it that I can dig in all kinds of ways. Plus the title reminds me of Smegma's "Smell the Remains", and that's a good omen. Otherwise a bit too long for my tastes but it would make great music to sleep to, since all potential for bone-shattering harshness is dulled via the production...and that's a good thing, in this case! Also, dig the Shakespearian lambasting I turned up while doing my Google search. I'm sure there's some kind of tie-in or parallel I could draw but...nope, I got nothing!
Lastly is Progeria Youth's "Dirty Disease" CD-R (Turgid Animal), which comes packed in a slim-line DVD-style case. There's eight tracks boasting questionable titles like "Hate Crime Youth", "The Will to Survive" and "The Attack of the Minority Groups" which make me feel like I'm listening to a Skrewdriver record but NAWW I don't doubt PY's legitimacy. A couple tunes dabble in lo-fi basement loner dark ambient turf and that's cool, but the rest are all "old-school harshness" which I can dig...the group (?) says on their website that this disc harks back to early Richard Ramirez, and I can dig that. Some pretty impeccable morsels of angry-sounding spiked electionics, you know how the game is played by now. Not sure what's up with the freaky midget-looking dude on the cover...cool release though.
Phew, another evening draws to a close and I made it out alive. Like I said before, I missed out on a lot but I'll ideally be able to revisit the ones I had to leave out but it's been non-stop harsh noise for two days straight and I'm pretty sure I'll have blood in my stool tomorrow morning. Not that you needed to know that. Thanks to George Proctor aka Mutant Ape for sending all these treats in, and I just may kill myself if I ever see another package like it again. Only kidding.