Caustic Castle - Untitled (804noise 3" CD-R) / Warhammer 48k - Knife Hits (Apop Records 3" CD-R) / Various Artists - Spire Ground (Not Not Fun 3" CDR)

I'll use this time today to get caught up on a stash of - you guessed it - 3" CD-Rs that found their way to me in recent days. I'm not sure how much I like the 3" CD format. The Twenty Minute Treat we call it down at the office (ha ha! "Office". Can you imagine?). It's okay I guess, serves as a taster for potentially greater things to come and sure is cheaper than doing a one-sided record. All three of these come in various sized and shaped packaging and none of em have a thing to do with the next. Darkness darkness, be my blanket.
I feel pretty guilty taking this long to talk about it because I must've had Caustic Castle's "Untitled" (apparently not self-titled?) sitting here for an age but hey, I prefer to age my music like a fine wine before I take a sip. Caustic Castle is the solo nom de plume de Kenneth Yates who also works in groups called Harm Stryker and the glorious(ly named) Insect with Tits. This'll be his debut and it comes in a zip disc casing with some pretty ravishing drawing of maps and geography and longitudes and latitudes and all that stuff. Kenneth also runs 804noise, dedicated to serving the perverse interests of those with perverse interests in and around the Richmond, VA area. Clocking in at 12 long minutes, "Untitled"'s three tracks are a decent, cheap way to clean your ears if you're plum out of Q-Tips. "Sharp Objects" sorta implodes into the air with a high-pitched whine before falling into the near-symphonic rhythm of what sounds like air drill blasts. "The People's Stoker" and "Knives and Daggers" both cover the glitchy, migraine-inducing terrain typically inhabited by folks like Yasunao Tone with a CD player or Kevin Drumm with a bad temper. I'm also kinda reminded of the New Blockaders, or even the Animal Disguise stalwarts like Mammal and Meerk Puffy. I could be reminded as well as the time I had long, sharp tacks shoved into my ears although that hasn't happened yet. Either way, "Untitled" just sounds like sharp things, man. Extreme Electronic Music: Acquire with Caution.
Seems to me like Warhammer 48k were kings for just one day, and might've had just one thing to say, and did with their smash hit LP "Uber Om" of years last...but I guess they're not done if the proof is in the pudding and "Knife Hits" is the pudding here. Apop Records released this as they did "Uber Om" and have drawn my ire not-so-recently by apparently refusing to send me a tape I ordered (the Moss one, know it?) and ignoring my emails about it like they didn't just pocket my thirty clams and expect me forget about this. So if you're an ambassador of Apop and you're reading this now, check your email and send me one. "Knife Hits" is part of Apop's Pasteur Series in which 3" discs come packaged in petri dishes which is a pretty boss way to house these, Loren Chasse did a pretty great one that I picked up last year or maybe the year befor (not on Apop). Aside from Warhammer, other artists who've been "Pasteurized" include Coalition For a Better Tomorrow, Crossbred, Roxanne Jean Polise, Twodeadsluts...Onegoodfuck, Insect Deli and Sword Heaven so you know there's heavy company. The melted wax standing in for penicillin in the dish is a nice touch but the circular inserts look like someone tried to cut the paper with a high-powered jigsaw. I digress. Five untitled tracks across 15 minutes and at least 13 of those are dedicated to Warhammer's hybrid brand of sludge metal, punk rock, krautrock, indie rock, prog rock, pumice rock, you name it. Any recording that begins with someone shouting "Keep it rollin', Rex!" has to be good and just makes me want to crack open a brew so I can partake in the good times but I'll stick to listening and writing like a nerd. First of the three actual songs on here blows up into a psych/thrash demonizer with some kinda Gongian (or Acid Mothers Temple-appropriated) gibberish speak. The second to last tune plays like an early Sonic Youth/Jesus Lizard/scuzz punk crossover before again detonating and sending shards of free psych metal riffage all over the floor which I can just imagine is filthy enough as it is. The closing piece is a totally nice, slithery jaunt; as gentle as it is curmudgeonly. I'd recommend "Uber Om" before this one (I haven't heard their other LP) but if you're on a budget, Warhammer 48k's fucked up avalanche is one worth gettin' buried in.
I guess I got this last 3" because I signed up for Not Not Fun's Bored Fortress 7" singles club (how could I not? Have you checked that artist list?) and they promised various treats thrown in along the way. I guess this is more of a sampler than anything since I can't find any info and there's no catalogue number but what the hell, I'll discuss it anyway. This one comes in a little plastic sleeve that's frustratingly difficult to pry the CD-R out of, and features some well-executed paper sleeve artistry. There's four bands featured on here, each with 4-6 minutes of air time to do their thing, and I have to assume these are snippets from other NNF releases but I don't really know since there's no titles/info. What I do know is that it features a couple of bands I hear a lot about but haven't gotten the chance to check out, so I'm pretty happy. Foot Foot is about the only group/artist on here not loving the drone and their female-fronted barefoot acoustic/cowbell/folk doodle isn't anything to hate but it doesn't knock my socks off either, maybe sounding like what I hope the Alicia Bay Laurel CD on EM Records will be but a bit more over the top. I could be very, very wrong. I usually am. Mythical Beast could be a two-human set-up but I really don't know, all I can pick out is a scraggly guitar current underlined with the moaning gloss of maybe a synthesizer and some holistic "ahhhhhwwww"ing. Taiga Remains is one of those groups I heard a lot about and Pocahaunted is the other. The former is all the sheen of the Mythical Beast track transformed into a glacial beckoning ala Terje Isungset and the latter is an ad nauseam quasi-loop with delicately plucked chords piling on top of chords made all the more lullabyish via someone/something emitting an almost distant siren-like croon, borderline intoxicating. Safe to say they both lived up to hopes and now I gotta track down more expanded editions. Blast.
All three of these three-inchers are diggable, all three are recommended, and all three are diverse enough to guarantee something for everyone. Although I don't quite know how you'd go about getting the "Spire Ground" compilation, guess that's a trade secret. Quality ruminations, all around.


Blogger Michael said...

When I saw Knife Hits, I thought you were going to do a review of that Reeks & the Wrecks. Great overlooked stuff.

3/17/2007 7:26 PM  
Blogger Outer Space Gamelan said...

Yeah you know I'm trying to figure out the whole "Knife Hits" thing, with both bands using it as an album title...it's probably some literary reference that I'm too much of a goon to not recognize.

Or maybe it has something to do with the Aquarius/Andee/tUMULt contingent since they're pretty big on both Warhammer and Reeks (actually they released the Reeks record)

3/17/2007 8:59 PM  
Anonymous james said...

Knife Hits could be a reference to the ghetto kitchen stove method of smoking grass.

3/18/2007 9:20 AM  
Blogger Outer Space Gamelan said...

Well! The more you know!

3/18/2007 12:47 PM  

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