A Long Day’s Journey Into Pain

Tom Recchion, Japanese Cassette (FTR 617) on Feeding Tube Records – 17 short tracks from this US maestro and experimental music veteran active since the 1970s and a founding member of the famed / notorious LA Free Music Society. I think we last heard him solo with that Proscenium LP for Elevator Bath, ten years ago now, an item which started life as an Edgar Allen Poe puppet show soundtrack. Today’s music is from an earlier vintage…1986…a time when Recchion was invited to contribute to Journey Into Pain, a Japanese 4-cassette collection of choice industrial types, noisesters, and tape manglers, including famed Japanese blasters such as Merzbow, Incapacitants, and Hanatarash, alongside American horror-show stars John Duncan and the Haters, and various rackety Europeans too…originally curated by Hiromi Arimoto and released on his label Beast 666 Tapes. Well, five snippets of Recchion goodness made it to the final cut (seems the curator didn’t approve of the “tonal nature” of much of the submitted material), but this record presents all the music he produced at the time, now pressed in white vinyl and packaged with David Toop sleeve notes. Assembled by means of samples, tape manipulation, loops, keyboards, and “lifts” from other records, mostly commercial in nature…I am swooning at the elliptical genius and economy with which Tom Recchion assembles and deploys his material, creating fascinating ever-changing patterns and intriguing, near-absurdist statements. This is what collage art is all about – Eduardo Paolozzi cross-bred with Eugene Ionesco! I’d also note the pop-song length (2 minutes or less) for the majority of these tiny masterpieces, a mark of the concision that’s a part of his craft, and in my mind I’m filing it alongside The Residents Commercial Album – it’s like the never-heard, ghostly instrumental interlude half of that landmark release…great! (26/04/2022)

Human Adult Band with Slog Quest Crosstime (FEEDING TUBE RECORDS FTR 628) – I never heard this New Jersey band before, yet it seems they’ve been active since 2002. Trevor Pennsylvania (bass and vox, I think) leads his crew through the swampy terrain of six gorgeous tracks of (a) lively garage rock with lo-fi grungey surface and feedback squawls by the spoonful or (b) slow-mode noise excursions with semi-experimental free-form guitar and darkened Kosmische moves, refashioned in the finest steel mills of Arco Co. Throughout, the lugubrious vocals moan and complain in semi-human form about the travails and aches of man’s existence, while drumming of King Darves (also of Thee Black One) injects similar sensations of a Sisyphus-like fate, suggestive of huge weighty boulders attached to neck and ankles…press notes speak warmly of the “low end” generated by this band live and in studio, and this particular recording emits ample evidence of same, enough to bludgeon 18 elephants on way to volcanic graveyard…while so many bands continue to namecheck Krautrock heroes from the 1970s, it’s great to hear how the genre has been mutated and emphasised by bands such as Human Adult Band, daring to go one step further into noise, excess, and heavy poundage, and somehow giving it a uniquely American voice. Fave cut here personally is ‘Lie Torpid’, 13 minutes of remorseless solid pummelling, though you may like ‘Unhurried Skeletons’ with its tormented psychedelic ghosts wailing for release from a self-made 1968 Hell. Only 200 copies pressed…with cover art by Connecticut artist Rvrs Mrcy. (29/04/2022)

Dagobah (FEEDING TUBE RECORDS FTR612) by Kool Music is a set of instrumentals played on the electric guitar by Jasper Baydala, a creator from Glasgow who’s also a writer and maker of videos…when he started this musical project it seems he was thinking of occupying some point midway between Country and Western music and Asian string music, a fusion-ish mindset not too far apart from John Fahey with his country blues fixation or Robbie Basho with his spiritual and Indian influences. Jasper isn’t so much about the finger-picking or even about the guitar prowess – no nifty chord shapes or ultra-fast fingering, rather just slow-moving moods, atmospheres, and meditations. The track titles reflect natural concerns (the sky, the trees, the weather, the moon) as well as alluding to nostalgic states of mind and wistful emotions. I certainly like his guitar sound – plangent, upfront, echoed, longing – but found my attention drifting through lack of a coherent melody. I need to grow more accustomed to his very personal approach to free-form playing. (27/06/2022)