Back Beat

Richard Van Kruysdijk produces long, layered, and intricate digital drones on Lumbar Fist (OPA LOKA RECORDS OL160096), performing under his soubriquet Cut Worms. I see that Dutch player Van Kruysdijk is a member of Daisy Bell, a Netherlandish trio who made an album based on the poetry of William Blake, but he’s also been much in demand as a drummer and electronics player with some of the big mamous of the avant-noise domain – members of Coil, Legendary Pink Dots, Swans, Bauhaus, Tuxedomoon and Wire all speak highly of Van Kruysdijk’s instrumental prowess, and he’s trod the stage and studio floor as an in-demand session man for these maestros of the dark noise-drone. This isn’t to mention Richard’s other high-profile band projects which I’ve never heard, such as Strange Attractor, Phallus Dei, Music For Speakers, and Sonar Lodge; he’s evidently capable of working in many contemporary genres, be it latter-day industrial pounding or downtempo trip-hop fusion.

Lumbar Fist contains seven examples of his studio craft, and he built them up in the studio by overdubbing himself several times, using an ARP synth, bass guitars, percussion, tapes, effects pedals, and the “circuit-bent Suzuki Omnichord”, whose name alone is enough to get most instrumental and pedal collectors frothing at the knees. While this album has a rather “samey” surface, there’s much to recommend about the care and attention with which this hard-working creator has built each piece, and there’s a very burnished quality to the sound – a sort of calm inner glow illuminating and suffusing each moment. This calmness however might be quite at odds with the busy and fragmentary technique which he used to construct Lumbar Fist – the press notes refer to “sounds…reversed, mangled, chopped and regenerated”, which strikes one as a rather invasive editing studio style.

His track titles are witty too, adding a human and imagistic dimension to what would otherwise be extremely abstract – ‘Seance Drop’ suggests the trance states these sounds induce, ‘Drum Sloth’ is a very apt description of his studio method and tape-retardation approach, and ‘Halo Ginseng’ is tinged with notions of bodily health and inner spirituality which might well pass on to the listener. However, my favourite title is ‘Crabby Plasma’, a title which could be taken as the subtext for John Carpenter’s The Thing with its horrifying themes of genetic mutation and cell structures going out of control. From 3rd October 2016.

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