Sunday, February 28, 2010

Nals Goring/No Sound - Split [Feeding Tube]

Feeding Tube is quickly becoming one of my favorite labels due to their dedication to consistently putting out the most amazingly fucked up sounds possible. Each record is an awesome mind puzzle. What are these sounds? What the hell is going on? Who ponied up the cash to put this vinyl? Every release is densely bizarre but curiously (and repeatably) listenable. This head scratcher pairs up projects from the label heads of Feeding Tube and the brilliant OSR Tapes, No Sound and Nals Goring respectively.
Nals Goring takes the first side of the LP with "Watership Down vs. the Robber Baron" and what a total mindfuck it is. The record starts with a bang; some kind of warped 'n scrambled foray into hip hop abruptly shifts to a new wavey keyboard demo after Zach Phillips a.k.a. Nals tells me he's gotta go back to the beginning or I won't understand. Despite Nals's best efforts I still don't understand, at any point in the track, but that doesn't impede my enjoyment. Nals gets into backpacker mode slinging "rhymes" like "A long time ago there were three seasons/One of the seasons was called 'Watership Down'" detailing the whole, non-sequitur-filled history of the conflict between Watership Down and the Robber Baron. The killer, scatterbrained beat shifts into a haunted house ascending organ line as Nals states "it was a horrible mystery." It's not clear but either Watership Down or the Robber Baron "comes back to claim his fortune on the cassette tape in the mansion" which starts some shit. What makes this side great is there are so many things going on at any given moment and they often disappear quickly to make way for more, causing you think "wait, did I just hear seven seconds of jazzy rag piano?" The track gets even weirder when a young child tells a stream of conscious story about a fat guy getting run over by a car. I should note we're only around three minutes into the track at this point so there's a lot of shit going on during the course of the side. There's garbled, tape-pastiched samples and various clatter which cut to a drum solo which cuts to some weird deconstructed vocal/drums duet with tape-manipulated speech and tactile free-percussion. The track shifts again into interplay between someone repeatedly saying "take it from me" and Nals responding "take it from you" over drums and samples. Nals states "remind me why I came on this crazy trip" (fair question) right before it erupts into madness. I don't know what the actual process is here but it sounds like Mr. Phillips cut up 20 different tapes into centimeter snippets and spliced them all together in a possibly genius or possibly haphazard way. That's about the most adequately I can describe what's going on. Phillips reveals Watership Down was beaten by the Robber Baron and apparently "it's a lesson in organics" before launching into an even zanier sound collage culminating with an out of tune brass band. The final bit of the side sees the young child from earlier return to deliver the ending of her story. Awesome but what the fuck?
No Sound fills out the B-side with a live track supremely titled "GayKK." Though the track has its share of idiosyncrasies, its mellower pace is a welcome relief after the manic brain-frying that went on on side A. I know Ted Lee (No Sound) made a movie called "GayKK" and this track is apparently some kind of live scoring of that film. Coming to life with a wheezy accordion and a loop of synth or something, another sinister, wobbly bass loop pops giving the track a queasy groove. Distorted guitar and various objects are shaken, pounded, massaged etc. creating a disorienting environment built on rhythmic pulses of a few loops. Lee does a great job developing the performance organically. Some parts are even a little pretty. He's a drummer which may be why there's always some sort of underlying rhythm to whatever sorts of noises are being vomited forth or chaffed against each other; Lee can even make confusion flow. Some of the best moments of the piece are the quieter ones where there might only be a couple elements happening but they interlock in weird, polyrhythmic and nearly hypnotic ways. Near the end of the side, it cuts from big throbbing waves of distortion to what sounds like a dog whimpering but who really knows. The track dilly dallies with quieter field recordings and crowd noise for a little while before bringing back those big waves of distortion and calling it quits. It's a pretty great track, especially considering it was all performed live.
This is one of a kind stuff, definitely check this out if you aren't familiar with these projects.
The LP is in print but only limited to 100.

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