The Whornet’s Nest

One fine piece of grotesquerie is 22 Short Noise Videos, a DVD collection by Aaartfÿstte. It combines short experimental films with oddball electronic noise, often-times veering from coarse and excessive black humour to sick and dark weirdness, by way of abstract expressionist blurs – all in the space of seconds. As film-makers, they make painterly use of video / digital manipulation to transform found footage and old adverts into something fairly vile, treating the photography with nauseous dayglo colours that separate out in weird ways, and they fill the screen with overlays of electronic visual noise just to keep your eyeballs peeled. Even fairly innocent footage (cat eating bird, fried egg whisked in bowl) conveys a lasting sense of unease; it just looks plain wrong, and the Residents-like wonky synth music that accompanies the visuals adds a nifty sinister edge to each dazzling episode. There’s a staged mini-narrative involving two hooded acolytes facing a green-hued Death figure with bulging eyes who lifts an amulet in a grotesque parody of Lucifer Rising; there’s a man singing a nonsense song about crackers through a hideous enlarged head; and there are two painted-face cavemen dressed in black bin liners performing an idiot dance completely deadpan. There’s even some attempts at crude flat-figure animation that makes South Park look sophisticated. On balance, it feels like there’s more of the process-based abstract material than there is of the nightmarish nasty-funny image stuff, but the cumulative effect is like mainstream TV going badly wrong, and thence delivers the requisite amount of acid-fried oddness. You won’t know whether to laugh or wince. The video, released by Resipiscent last December, is the work of two Austin artists, Stin-GB and RunPMS, both associated with the Brown Whörnet collective; it’s very limited, and comes packed in a silkscreened foldout cover. Plus there’s some bonus music from their first cassette made in 1997, delivered by means of “Oscillo-Scopitones”. Recommended to fans of Vileness Fats, Butthole Surfers (around the time they discovered what they could do with Photoshop), Devo and Twin Peaks.