Friday, February 6, 2009

Locrian/Katchmare – Split [Pilgrim Talk]/Veyou – Veyou [Scissor Death]

Nick Hoffman of Scissor Death and its brand new vinyl arm Pilgrim Talk sent these over recently.
I’m always to happy get a Locrian record in the mail and this is the first time I’ve heard them on vinyl. They fill the first side of this 7inch with “Drosscape”. Beginning with distorted guitar tones, Locrian immediately casts a dank fog over the room. There’s a tense, ascending theme that is repeated and layered upon gradually. Brief bursts of feedback are spread across the track occasionally until a moderately violent eruption comes near the end putting the strained but relatively calm drone at odds with the bloodthirsty guitar feedback. Locrian has a real talent for finding a small, engaging idea and manipulating and modifying it through the course of a track, this piece is a perfect example. Just before the side abruptly ends there’s a bunch of delayed guitar tones piled on top of each other creating a weird, polyrhythmic web. It’s really quite cool.
On the flipside, Hoffman’s solo project Katchmare contributes “Scarab”. I’ve never been able to put my finger on Katchmare and this side doesn’t help me out too much either. The track seems relatively straight forward at the outset. There are a couple layers of pulsing drones and one almost bubbling type sound. Everything gets pitched up before another more distorted tone comes in. This is where the track starts to get good, there’s a great Velcro-quality to the new tone and it brings the track alive with a heavy, vibrant pulse. Before long, a squeezed, filtered tone takes over spurting almost haphazardly before jumping to sustained tones and then cutting back and forth between those tones, silence and distortion; it gets to be almost too much for the brain to handle. True to Katchmare style, the track gets increasingly odd and disorienting until it meets its conclusion.
Veyou is a duo of Hoffman and Stephen Holliger (Swim Ignorant Fire) and as far as I can tell this tape is the first of, what I hope will be, many more releases. Like Katchmare, bouts of silence and quick cuts between sounds play a big part here. Once the tape starts rolling there are quiet guitar plucks, trudging machinery, shimmering synth tones, and a big echoing Jabba the hut type growl are floating around being manipulated, repositioned and mashed together. Sharp drone galvanizes everything around and a single chiming bell enters at semi-regular intervals before backing off and dropping back to a mess of sounds a la the beginning of the side and without warning I’m thrust back into more intense drone proceedings that alternate between being pleasant and uneasy but always riveting. After a brief period of silence, there’s an absolutely perfect ending which initially echoes some of the previous sounds but instead washed out and distant, then there’s a 20-30 second bit with a catchy, looped techno melody. Bizarre, awesome shit. You gotta hear this stuff.
The second side starts up with a number of competing textural tones before a filtered drum machine or something like it falls into a lurching rhythm. The bell from the previous side makes an appearance along with some acoustic percussive jangle and I think there might even be a cymbal in there somewhere but maybe it’s a sample or something. Unlike the last side, this piece moves pretty linearly accumulating an assload of cool sounds into its maelstrom before dropping out leaving a sine tone and more percussive sounds. An ascending/descending synth melody applies a bit of pressure and slowly takes over the track, though insubordinate shards of feedback and synth squelches undermine it. This side strikes a delicate balance between fluid, full-bodied drone and unpredictable, manipulated noise dynamics. It just builds and builds to a wonderfully dense cacophony before being sent on its way by a spacey synth tone. Let me reiterate what I said before, this is great shit. You gotta hear it.
Both are cool records, great solid stuff by Locrian and Katchmare, but this Veyou stuff is blowing me away. The 7inch is packaged with grim thoughts in mind, grey on black artwork and cool grey marbled vinyl. The tape comes with placid artwork that belies its sonic contents, an insert and hand-drawn labels. Both are still available but be advised that the 7inch is limited to 100 and the tape is limited as well I’m sure.

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