Sunday, November 30, 2008

Maths Balance Volumes – Information is Pain [Taped Sounds/Zeikzak]

I haven’t checked in with the Bread & Animals label franchise in a while but leave it to them to create a new addiction in my life. The name of this addiction: Maths Balance Volumes. Information is Pain, at least I’m guessing that's what this tape is called cause it’s the only thing somewhat resembling words here, besides “Maths Balance Volumes”, has spent a great deal of time in my player this past week and continually calls me back for more.
I’ve heard accounts that this duo is tapes and guitar as well as tapes and tapes. The guitar/tapes thing sounds pretty right here but I wouldn’t put tape on tape action past these guys either. The first of two songs on the first side is hyperactively sloshed. Jumpy tape loops of… I have no idea are paired with a three/quarters formed guitar riff. There’s a breakdown with distant echoing percussive sounds until a finger tap/morse code type figure starts ruling (could be guitar or tape I suppose). There may be some vocals in the muck too. I don’t understand it but this audio clusterfuck creates an appallingly great groove with touches of ethnic blues rock poking through near the end. The track is cut off mid stride, total bummer until the next piece starts up. If I assigned a genre to this tape, I’d say “Tape Blues” which is probably accurate for about a third of the material here. The piece is a rambling swamp stomp wobbling along on a catchy Velcro guitar riff against constantly reeling, stretched tape moans. There’s super sparse percussion here that I’m assuming is coming from a tape loop. The oddest thing here is that there’s a great lead vocal, actually singing words (though I can’t tell what they are) and I’m fairly sure it isn’t coming from a tape. This is a total pop gem constructed in the strangest way possible.
The first track on the flipside is a few minutes of utter WTF moments. There’s a one-note organ loop, sax bleats, drunken harmonica and some explosive dry heaves. All lead by some dude sounding like he’s Tom Waits battling a tyrannosaurus rex. By the end there’s some flute, and hand drum/tin can sounds. The next track sounds way tape-gnarled/bit crushed with a delayed, manipulated chipmunk voice over a drum machine and maybe a keyboard. The third track is a real short interlude and has the same contorted sound of the previous jam but it’s a sample of a lounge jazz piano run. The final track is my favorite on the side and goes straight for the muddy blues jugular with a crunchy, low-slung guitar riff and unintelligible but soulful singing. Interestingly enough, the song is played relatively straight with not much by way of weird tape sounds. This is one of those tapes I just keep flipping over every time it ends. An addictively wild ride.
Tape is packaged in typically great Bread and Animals/Zeikzak style. The cover of the case has weird bluish globules resembling old Gushers fruit snacks. The tape case itself came painted shut; drenched in magenta, with some yellow rays and more of that blue slimer. This came out in the summer if I recall so it’s been long sold out but I got my copy at Tomentosa and it looks like they’re still in stock over there. Buy it as fast as you can! But if you can’t find a copy of this, however, I saw Maths Balance Volumes have a self-released LP out. I’m most definitely gonna look into that when I get some more extra cash.


db said...

MBV are absolutely outstanding, every release I've heard from them has been equal parts incredibly catchy/creepy and WTF confusing (which is just about the perfect balance in my book) and super-nice folks to boot. Circle Path might be my fave but really you can't go wrong. I definitely need to pick up that vinyl while I have a chance...

Auxiliary Out said...

That's great to hear Darren! It's always nice when bizarre/great bands are consistent too. I'll have to look for that Circle Path record.
By the way, I picked up your 7inch split with Warmth in the same shopping trip. It's killer!