Tagged: oddities


Dislocation Dance

Now with great pleasure but also with a pair of frazzled ears and a shattered brain-pan I at last feel able to bring you word of the other release by Ezio Piermattei, the Italian mystery outsider who sent us two astonishing albums from Pescara in December 2011. No nearer have I come to discovering very much about him, apart from hints dropped in the enthusiastic email communications from Napo Camassa, one of his collaborators, who happens to be living in London just now. 1 The previous item by Hum Of Gnats caused my writing hand to dip into the box of extreme adjectives I normally reserve for Faust records, but the distinctive taste of this record by poisucevamachenille has left a somewhat different impression on my febrile auditory unit. Just 31 minutes long, a single track, but a highly condensed and compressed nightmare journey through music and sound. It’s all composed, performed and sung by Ezio Piermattei, and Stefano D’Emilio is credited as producer. It’s an overpowering and delirious escapade into musical madness which, if you’re a regular reader of TSP, you really cannot live without.

poisucevamachenille (OUTLINE RECORDS NO NUMBER) is probably nothing to do with noise, dissonance, or anything avant-garde. In one sense it’s pop music, but very heavily disguised, and reimagined by an intense visionary who cannot resist playing with melody and de-producing his multiple-overdubbed songs at every opportunity. The recording studio is used like a paintbox (the paintbox of Jackson Pollock), exploiting as many crazed and unnatural effects as the creator can get his agile little paws onto, moving freely across fader levers and filter effects with the joyous madness of a Lee Perry or a Xentos Jones. Songs half-resemble synthpop hits from the 1980s or corny folk-ballads from the psychedelic age complete with acoustic guitar strums, but sabotaged by their nonsensical lyrics, and a vocal delivery style where all the words are swallowed and sung through the plugged-up nostrils of a rabid badger. Barely has the tune managed to get into its “groove” before it’s derailed and detourned, by use of phasing, cut-ups, overdubs, foreign materials brought in, or any other technique that can be be deployed to “disrupt normal listening pleasure” 2. The production method moves beyond the eccentric in short order; it becomes positively operatic in its excess, and in a parallel universe Ezio Piermattei would have made good as the quintessential producer for over-the-top Italian prog rock LPs around 1973-74. I can just imagine a mix between this LP and Biglietto Per L’Inferno. Such an LP would be condemned by the authorities, slated by the press, banned by the Vatican, and widely deemed too shocking to even exist!

poisucevamachenille is not only twisted avant-pop, though. Using these almost-melodic hooks and riffs that are half-familiar to the ear is one very effective method of introducing the poison into our bloodstream. The record also displays elements of improvisation, over-simplified semi-classical compositions, and found samples from movies or TV (though apparently they are field recordings from Ezio’s trips in Europe). The composition and assembly alone must have taken months of slavish editing work to achieve this wild degree of musique concrète styled effects (on a par perhaps with the early Mothers Of Invention LPs – it’s certainly as powerful as those), yet it also feels effortless, casual, as though the deranged content simply pours out the consciousness of the creator in an unstoppable stream, and all he need do is turn on the microphones. The whole suite has a vicious turn of mind, veering from the wildly hilarious to the deeply sinister and terrifying, often in the space of seconds; I’d feel safer locked in a room with a laughing schizophrenic. This material matters because it is pure anarchy, raw freedom somehow trapped onto the grooves of a record, and made repeatable. With beautiful but inexplicable cover collage artworks by his partner Barbara Gileno, this is a gloriously insane record which I can recommend without equivocation. No wonder they both think of themselves as “dislocationists”…

Of possible interest:
Hum Of Gnats review
Podcast from 27/01/2012

  1. As Zenlo, Napo released Skelethal Antics for the Porter Records label, which is also regarded as a classic of music made by “somone in their own and singular world”.
  2. I’m grateful to Jonathan Romney for coining that phrase. He memorably used it to describe Song Cycle by Van Dyke Parks.

Hop-Frog and Hexes

Purge the Weevil from Yer Midst by Hum Of Gnats (STRUNGAPHONE SPR01) is one of two gloriously impossible and wonderful records sent to me in December 2011 by Ezio Piermattei from Pescara in Italy. I hope to extend my writing keyboard in the direction of the second one in due course. Today I hold and I spin a four-track concoction put together by Ezio overdubbing a large number of instruments – piano, viola, percussion, clarinet, accordion, guitar, recorder, voice and more – editing and layering the results according to instinctive and unpredictable compositional schemes, to create utterly unique and compelling works, each around 10-11 minutes in length, and leaving me grasping at straws as I try to convey something useful about them. Napo Camassa contributes his soprano sax to ‘Hop Score’, which is a bewildering collage of modernist composition. String sections, loops, errant percussion, and many other short instrumental passages build up a strange nebulous density that is opaque and hard to fathom. It changes radically, passing through at least five or six different “movements”, with each development completely unexpected, and yet the work hangs together perfectly in its own eccentric manner. Not quite jazz, not quite improvisation, and certainly far too loopy to qualify as any form of academically-trained composition.

One already senses that Piermattei is a self-taught maverick with ideas so potent that only he can express them, notwithstanding the contribution of Napo Camassa. I click forward to ‘Hex-Exercises in Stalinism’ to endure a shape-shifting bed of rattling china plates for percussion, on top of which eerie unnatural horn or electronic voices make their plaintive moan. Again, we have the sense of a framework that is barely hanging together, a fragile sculpture or mobile built of spindly wire which is somehow defying gravity as it spins and rotates its beautiful colours and planes in mid-air. In the time it’s taken to write that sentence we’ve already shifted into a halting acoustic guitar tape-loop that stutters and clops, having emerged from the warp of a Terry Riley-styled organ figure. Now come half-hearted ghostly voices whispering what might be two stanzas from a lost 1960s pop song about lost romance. There’s also ‘Hey, Rube!’ which applies tape delay to scattered woodwind notes, combined with a bass guitar that has clearly wandered into the wrong building, a spooky cheap organ drone, and other foreign effects. Five minutes later we hear a sneering pop singer chanting from behind a distorting sheet of glass, then fragments of atonal free playing electric-guitar mayhem. Scattered liberally with precious moments of heavy-duty psychotic weirdness within beguiling open-ended structures, this record is just too good to be true. Piermattei may be using his own personal version of the bricolage method (although frankly, I have no clear idea what he’s doing), but it’s done with imagination and skill, and he’s not simply another prankster with a sampling device and a computer. This record is a hand-made work of skewed mutant genius, its fragmentary nature in a direct line with such important records as The Faust Tapes. CD in jewel case is decorated with puzzling texts and collage images. You need this record!

All-American Weirdness

The Sound Projector Radio Show 10th September 2010

  1. Roger Nusic And The Vague Sunshine Orchestra, ‘Can I Come in and See You’
    From Hello Lovers…, USA RAINFOREST RECORDS RR 010 CD (1993)
  2. Revd Fred Lane and Ron ‘Pate’s Debonairs, ‘Fun In The Fundus’
    From From The One That Cut You, SHIMMY DISC EUROPE SDE 8911 LP (1989)
  3. The Shaggs, ‘That Little Sports Car’
    From The Shaggs, USA ROUNDER CD 11547 (1988)
  4. Roky Erickson And The Aliens, ‘Creature With The Atom Brain’ (1980)
    From I Think Of Demons, UK EDSEL RECORDS ED 222 LP (1987)
  5. Davis Redford Triad, ‘Solar Aquarius (Slight Return)’
    From The Mystical Path of the Number Eighty-Six, USA HOLY MOUNTAIN 8655-CD (1997)
  6. Smegma, ‘Fish Story’
    From The Smell Remains The Same, USA ANARCHYMOON RECORDINGS ANOK 18 LP (2007)
  7. Ed Askew, ‘Ask The Unicorn’ (1968)
    From Ask The Unicorn, GERMANY ZYX MUSIC ESP 1092-2 CD
  8. Barnes & Barnes, ‘Cemetary Girls’
    From Voobaha, USA RHINO RECORDS RNLP 013 LP 91980)
  9. Golden Sunrise with Sky Saxon & Ya Ho Wa 13, ‘Voyage’ (1977)
    From Fire, Water, Air is Djinn, Arelich,Pythias, Octavius, Sunflower, HIGHER KEY 006 CD
  10. Revd Fred Lane and Ron ‘Pate’s Debonairs, ‘Mystic Tune’
    From From The One That Cut You, op cit.
  11. Alexander “Skip” Spence, ‘Books Of Moses’
  12. Irene Moon, ‘Untitled’
    From Excerpts From Field Station A, USA NO LABEL 10″ LP (1997)
  13. Fredrik’s Cosmic Spaced Out Blues Band and Orchestra, ‘Get it out of your system’ (1976)
    From Beyond The Black Crack, UK PARADIGM DISCS PD 06 CD (1998)
  14. Sun Ra, ‘I Am Strange’
    From USA NORTON RECORDS 45-153 7″ SINGLE (2009)
  15. Dion McGregor, ‘A City So Nice’
    From Dion McGregor Dreams Again, USA TZADIK TZ 7404 CD (1999)
  16. Copernicus, ‘They Own Everything’
    From Deeper, USA NEVERMORE INC. NEVERMORE 208 LP (1987)
  17. The Tinklers, ‘I’m Proud to be a Citizen of the Roman Empire’
    From Casserole, SHIMMY DISC EUROPE SDE 9132 CD (1989)
  18. Daniel Johnston, ‘Despair Came Knocking’
    From Hi How Are You, USA HOMESTEAD RECORDS HMS 117-1 LP (1988)
  19. Pearls Before Swine, ‘Rocket Man’ (1970)
    From The Use of Ashes, USA WATER 112 CD (2003)
  20. Wild Man Fischer, ‘Merry-Go-Round’
    From An Evening With Wild Man Fischer, USA BIZARRE 6332 2 x LP (1968)
  21. Ya Ho Wha 13, ‘Yod He Nau He’ (1974)
    From Penetration: An Aquarian Symphony, HIGHER KEY 001CD