These lathe cuts are the second and third releases (not including the 0th release, a Locrian/Katchmare split) on Nick Hoffman's (Katchmare, the Scissor Death label) newish label Pilgrim Talk. The label seems to be geared towards the lathe as a number of the releases have been on that format. I was excited to check these out as it's my first and only experience with lathes.
Garden is a ten incher by Veyou, the duo of Hoffman and Stephen Holliger (Swim Ignorant Fire). With their tape on Scissor Death being my favorite of Hoffman-related projects I was excited to hear more. There's no shortage of weirdness on here. "Side A" is lethargic basement crawl, tentative frequencies getting bullied, random percussive noises, with an occasional synth stab or cymbal swell. The only thing that remains constant is an uneasy creaking drone over which all the other sounds do their jig. There's an attempt at melody in the second half with a repeated keyboard line but for the most part the duo is taking their cues from the great unknown. The last few minutes bring a steady drum beat (that sounds a tad like someone dribbling a basketball) and groaning electronics. Quivering synths follow and at some point the whole piece seems to be slowed a little causing me to wonder what sort of post-production process this went through. "Side B" begins with a weird hollow drumbeat that seemed to skip a lot causing me to check for defects but nope, no unintentional locked grooves just a weird pastiched drumbeat. There's a few more stitched together sections, well in fact there's a lot more. Where the first side seemed to be a more or less live take, this second side is an arranging of all sorts of random recordings making it hard to keep a handle on. There's squirmy feedback cutting straight to full bodied drones, bits of random percussion drifting in and out. Some parts are pretty, some are silent, some feature some vague synth/organ action. It's odd to say the least. The capper is it launches into a weird keyboard demo at the end and then proceeds to scramble it. It certainly puts you in a zone, what or where that zone is still remains a mystery. I'm really not sure what to call this.
Goldilocks, an 8 inch lathe, by another one of Hoffman's duos, Back Magic. I guess this is supposed to tell a story about Goldilocks or something, but I'm pretty sure that's all bullshit and since I've got a bachelor's in literature I'm gonna go ahead and trust myself. No story isn't a bad thing though, the only bummer about this is my record player has a difficult time playing some of it. While only drums, guitar and voice are in the credits, there's definitely some organ action on the first side. Everything is steeped so heavily in reverb, I am wondering where this was recorded at (just checked the insert, Opium Den, whatever that place is). "Hecate Rising," the only jam on the first side, is a slow moving wander through wherever the Opium Den. Warbly keys, warbly guitar strings, warbly unintelligible vocals and the drums holding it all together (with some of the rhythmic manipulation on the Veyou record too). Kinda like The Unicorns if they were really sad and recorded their lonesome tune in the largest meat locker in the midwest. Side no. 2 features 4 songs "Summer Special" a pastiche of guitar arpeggios and cymbal hits leads off with some nice choirboy vocals as well. It ends in a cut up drum solo which is a pretty cool touch. The second song "Ghost Train" features heavy organ use though it isn't much more than an interlude. After that we get to the crown jewel of record, "Glamor Shots." It's as if somebody flipped the groove switch on as this track really swings. Anchored by an absolutely killer guitar riff, more garbled vocals and solid drumming it really deserves to be front and center on the A-side rather than tucked away on the second side. Really rad jam, I want more. "Dowser" is a downer, especially after the preceding groovefest. But I like the latin drumming as it gives the mellow track an unexpected samba-ish shuffle.
So there you have it two very odd but certainly cool lathes, each outfitted with their own killer artwork per usual with Hoffman-styled releases. Garden comes with a fold-out mini-poster and a 7 minute CD-r of guitar/drums songs while Goldilocks comes with an insert and an awesomely bizarre full size art booklet. Thoroughly top-notch packaging as is expected from Mr. Nick Hoffman. Both were limited to like 30 copies or something and are now out of print. You still may be able to dig them up somewhere, or just pay strict attention to new stuff brewing at Pilgrim Talk. Here's hoping "Glamor Shots" gets the full-scale reissue it deserves.