Anakrid - Father (Stereonucleosis Records LP)
With apologies in advance to Anakrid's Chris Bickel, I was only able to review one of the two records he sent because I, uh, fell asleep for a large part of the evening. So you'll have to come back soon/tomorrow for part two. For now I'll talk a bit about "Father", an album put out last year by Bickel's noise project, also featuring Rob Cherry and C. Neil Scott. I actually did a degree of research this time around (you may recall I reviewed a tape by Anakrid on Black Horizons a couple months back) and did you know that the Chris Bickel behind this group is the very same one behind hardcore/power violence (and smashism!) luminaries In/Humanity and the Guyana Punch Line? Huh! So this is where he spends his time now. You learn a new thing every day. Not sure what happened specifically to cause Bickel to eschew the punk scene in lieu of the noise one, but "Father" (just like the aforementioned "Live July 4th" tape)reassures that the switch was not in vain. Bickel also runs the label that put this out, Stereonucleosis Records, and he seems to be in the midst of issuing as many of these stylistically-similar-looking LPs as he can afford to, each boasting a painting of his on the cover and a collage of curious looking art and photos on the back corresponding to each track. They're also limited to 350 copies per, and they're hand numbered too.
I initially played "Father" without really looking at the backside of the sleeve and thought they were just two side-long pieces. But then it hit that there are indeed track divisions on the record, although they're still incredibly subtle and everything flows together pretty well seamlessly. I didn't even associate song titles with specific parts of the record, so I ain't goin' out like that. The record does have some bizarre sounding song titles that only make a touch more sense (if that) when put into context with the sounds they sync up with: "Nympholepsy in Theory Not Practice", "House Band for the Grand Guignol Ritual Floggings Seminar", "Bloody Kneecapse", "Trio for Piano, Saxophone and LP Record", "The Stumphole Nights" and so on. As for the music? Well not at all what you'd expect from a post-hardcore (as in POST-hardcore, not post-hardcore...nevermind) dude. At least I was expecting maybe some kind of ragged, Wolf Eyes basement beer can jam, although I don't know why exactly since "Live July 4th" wasn't anything like that but "Father" is quite the opposite indeed, quite the academic record if I may say so! As soon as the needle hits you're dropped down into the middle of an installation-in-progress-like post-industrial industrial orchestral construction, veering to and fro from sonics influenced by the likes of Einsturzende Neubauten to Non to Nurse with Wound to Karlheinz Stockhausen to Atrax Morgue and all the way back. Apparently the sounds found here were recorded both at Anakrid Studio and indeed at a Cherrydome Sound Installation, so it sounds like Bickel is rummaging through and putting together choice cuts of the tapes from these outings and putting them together rather well. "Father" is almost obsessively composed and coherant...there are surprisingly rhythmic sessions featuring fully-formed loops of musique concrete brain-scaling or catchy synth gulps of bashed electronica. There's a whole platter of unidentifiable sounds swooping in and out of the mix but two of my favorites occur on the first side, an interjected sample of converted seated gallery types going nutso and ribbons of sax gargling at the heart of a mechanical implosion about halfway in. I liked the first side better than the other which was even more subtle, rhythmic and hynotizing and was definitely part of the reason why I was conked out so early in the evening. There are more than a couple moments that also hint at somebody manning turntables throughout the record but I really couldn't tell you for sure - alls I know is that there's a clutch of wholly organic sounds churned up here by wholly unorganic minds. Definitely an interesting, surprising, baffling, impressive LP and has me looking forward to finally getting to laying down the other wax sent my way. I love a record that leaves me scratching both my chin AND my groi- wait, nevermind.
I understand 2007 will see this album and the other (called "Rapture of the Deep") get CD reissues through the excellent Beta-Lactam Ring label, alongside a whole new Anakrid disc for said label. Very interesting. Bickel and his project are certainly worth keeping an eye on and you may want to hurry up and score one of these limited to 350 jobs before it's too late and you're kicking yourself for not buying the originals when you had a chance. Don't say I didn't warn you!