In the vinyl corner this week, two LPs from our American cousins…The SB have a new LP on Italian label QBICO called Who Will Feed Them (QBICO 54). This seven-piece combo of bright-eyed American idealists meet on a regular basis to play, rehearse and perform in NYC, yet their release schedule is far from prolific – perhaps only the choicest cuts survive! After one spin I can indicate that the two sides here certainly tend to reveal the current Moog-dominated nature of their sound, although many subtle percussion, guitar and voice elements are also discernible…overall they blend so tightly that, in places, you could mistake this for any given solo CD of mid-1990s ambient synth music, except The SB are much warmer; the humanity of seven souls foregathered in the room somehow shows up on the tape. Russ W of the band was interviewed in TSP 15. Qbico have a redoubtable release history and include many examples of interesting free jazz and contemporary underground noise in their catalogue, many of the LPs pressed in coloured vinyl and with hand-made sleeves. They also sell out very quickly. It so happens that Who Will Feed Them is pressed in black vinyl, but I’m not one to complain about that. Curious listeners may wish to know they can download some free audio materials by The SB.
Then again if you can’t live without a regular dose of coloured vinyl (some collectors I know use them like boiled sweets, letting them dissolve slowly in their mouths), then purchase ye a copy of Undercover (CIRCUIT 004) by The New Humans. Also from NYC, The New Humans are that notorious art-noise duo Mika Tajima and Howie Chen who brought us the Disassociate LP in 2006, with its glow-in-the-dark screenprinted cover and plenty of perplexing bass-heavy abstractions on the album. Here, they occupy one side of the bright orange plastic with about 12 ½ minutes of music concocted as the soundtrack to a film made by the Swiss artist Philippe Decrauzat, who also helped Mika with the grid-design front cover and insert artworks, and the platter is released by a Swiss contemporary arts organisation. The music seems to feature lotsa guitar work, percussion, and beatbox programming – in fact the whole of side two is a ‘fibonacci beat track’, whatever that may be. I seem to recall that Disassociate also invited similar conceptual overlap with hip-hop music in some way, although The New Humans radiate no ‘street’ vibe that I am able to discern. Rather, judging by the foreboding artworks, this one will turn out to be quite an exercise in desolation and grimness. Even the label is decorated with nails, a more potent symbol of industrial capability than which you can’t get.