Monday, August 20, 2007

Buck Paco – I’ve Wasted My Breath [Abandon Ship]/The Futurians – Zenit [Abandon Ship]

So it’s been a little while since I reviewed a 3” cd-r, I’ve got these two ones from Abandon Ship that came out a little while back though, last time I checked, still had a few copies available. First one comes from Buck Paco whom I know zero about and the other from highly regarded New Zealanders, The Futurians, who have been putting out stuff for a while yet I’ve only heard 2 releases of theirs or something. So this pair was real educational for me.
According to the info on the Abandon Ship site, this Buck Paco five song three incher is the result of recording over 100 songs (harsh man, how would you like a less than 5% survival rate?) and ostensibly is a very good survey of their material. I’ve not heard the 100+ songs, so I can’t attest to that, but I’ve Wasted My Breath is a nice 3” in its own right. I wasn’t sure what to expect going in, “Buck Paco” kinda sounds countryish to me so I guess I was expecting a rootsy acoustic vibe. I was pretty much wrongo but that ain’t a bad thing certainly. “48 Hours and No White Elephants” kicks the whole shebang off with blues riffing repeated for effect while another guy hangs loose with the amp buzz. Occasional rattle and clang percolate the mix as well. At 7 minutes the track runs a bit long, though the final minutes unleash a nicely unhinged shrapnel attack which is quickly sucked up into the stratosphere. “Don’t Tell Me” continues the lo-fi garage blues riffage but in a more conventional format. Vocals and fuzz guitar solos trade off verses for a brief 2.5 minutes. The blues riff motif continues on the lyricless but most ballady of the bunch, “I’m Not Sure What It Meant, But I Know I Meant It”. There is a cello in there somewhere that emerges towards the end. It’s a decent track but doesn’t change much through it’s nearly 6 minute runtime. “Reciprocate” is a short, angsty stomper with grinding guitars and pounding percussion (oh, alliteration. You are my best friend) complete with fuzzed out vocal anguish. The best is saved for last with “Lonely Man’s Walk”. It features a rather simple bit of guitar/drums jammin’ but with samples/manipulations supplied by a dude named Wayne Ford (which also sounds countryish to me, hmm…). The sample fuckery provides a good foil for the minimal guitar exchange going on. It fills out the space a bit more and adds a touch of spontaneity. I dig it.
I heard some things that this Futurians release was going to be a change-up from their typical noise-punk muck and mire. And indeed it is. Zenit sounds something like a Fricara Pacchu/Excepter collabo, crossed with, I don’t know, the Futurians? The opener, “Genetic Futurian” actually doesn’t sound that out of place with other Futurians material. It’s got all sorts of whirring and buzzing synth frequencies and a guitar and sort of drums (it’s drum loop I think cause the speed gets messed around a bit). It’s got that distinct shambling lumber/stomp though. The next track “Black Gull” I’m not feeling too much though, it’s got a cool lo-end synth loop circling but it’s also got borderline annoying r2d2isms which I don’t generally mind but the track never really changes at all so it wears out its welcome after a while. “Laika” is one big weird juxtaposition. Piano, automated rhythms, a cool 80’s synth arpeggio, oscillator squiggles, distorted beat box attempts. Very, very strange and definitely the cooler/better for it. There’s a nice little outro on the beast too. The other half of the disc’s runtime is spent with “Nuclear Future”. The Futurians finally get flat out techno on it too. It’s kind of a pastiche of a bunch of different electronic rhythms and vocal sample cut-ups. The quality varies a bit from beat to beat (some are better than others) but the final minute and a half is definitely the raddest, and it’s very rad at that.
Nate at Abandon Ship did a great job packaging these guys. The classiest looking 3inchers I’ve ever seen. Both come in jewel cases, with high quality cd labels and the Buck Paco one comes with a 3 panel fold out with tracklist, personnel info, and a quote from Buck Oswald Paco et al. Both feature great cover images too, as you can see, the cool sonic equipment + punk jammer collage on the Futurians and the Buck Paco one’s hilarious, hopefully autobiographical, visual translation of the title. There is a double 3” coming up by Crow Feathers too, can’t wait to see how he does that one up.
As mentioned earlier, there are still copies available direct from the label—by the way, Nate has recently slashed prices on everything so I’d recommend checking the site out, many cool things. Both of these releases were pretty neat, definitely some really great moments though a few inconsistent ones as well. Both are worth checking out though, especially if you have any interest in the artists or their respective approaches to music making.

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