Welcome return of Andy Rowe, who has regaled us before with his records made as Slate Pipe Banjo Draggers, most recently with the cassette Sedimenters. We’ve always loved his records even if some of the Slate Pipe antics veer close to the wackier side of musical endeavour. This new item puts all those rumours to rest, with the possible exception of the “wacky” project name. Komoran Woonekker they call themselves, and it’s Andy Rowe teamed up with Alex Monk, and the cassette is called Neoclassical Pest. Over best part of two years they worked in Stoke Newington creating these very inventive instrumentals, and although they still regard this work as “playful”, I think a lot of it is tinged with a creative spirit that comes close to genius; at any rate their approach to experimentation is economical and bold at the same time, and there’s plenty of evidence of imaginative approaches to problem-solving, overcoming any limitations by sheer force of the brain.
Net result is a real mixed bag of raisins…pseudo ethnic beats, samples and turntable raids, backwards vocals, and a style of playing they refer to “ambient Krautrock drone”. Throughout I can hear the “loping” rhythm effect which I usually associate with the Slate Pipe Banjo Draggers, and I’m assuming now it’s made with a simple echo effect applied to a simple beat (hopefully, one guy with an old bucket and a stick). They may not have much in the way of instrumental chops, but they sure know how to use the recording studio; overdubs, edits and effects all used sparingly with an assured touch that puts them in a class with early Storm Bugs. If you enjoy the studio ingenuity of certain Can LPs or the early Residents, this will appeal.
Komoran Woonekker make it seem easy, but they also make it seem like fun, if anyone is pure of spirit enough to remember that. Can’t say enough good things about this lovely record…available from their Bandcamp page, but be sure to order a cassette copy while ye may. From 25th July 2018.