Thursday, September 2, 2010

Angst Hase Pfeffer Nase - Seashard [No Label]/Rack Rash - National Felt [No Label]

So apparently Chris Cooper (Buddies/Chris Cooper Bill Nace Duo, Fat Worm of Error) is in a techno band now and this tape Seashard, the latest from his solo guise Angst Hase Pfeffer Nase, is his him in that "techno" mindset. I'm gonna guess that this tape has, at its center, guitar, as that's the instrument Cooper generally performs his wizardry on, but it's very possible I am way off on that as there must be at least a sampler or something everything that is channeled through. The sounds have gone completely ballistic here, all sorts of weird bloops, squirts, crackles, scratches, pops, cowbell hits? tear through you like shrapnel at a mind-boggling rate. I haven't been able to discern a coherent rhythm here but everything flies by so fast it wouldn't have been missed anyway. At one point, Cooper shifts into hyper drive with ascending synth tones follow by pitter-pattering snare and long, agitated bow-scrapes on guitar or bass. There's a cool "glitch" section, which makes me think "wow, glitch music would actually be pretty cool if it wasn't always made on fucking computers." You may have noticed that I'm just clutching at anything to write about for this review. This is because, well, how do you describe this? Hopefully, I'm giving you general idea of it (maybe? [shrug]) but this thing is on its own orbit. There's some beats here but they either creep up on you or just straight up hide. Near the end of the first side Cooper brings out some strange melodies and the tape develops some forward momentum before mellowing out on the comedown.
The second side is even a bit better I think. Beginning with a weird collage barrage of laboratory beeps, racecar-like sound effects, percussion plunks etc. From there it jumps off the deep end into 50s sci-fi sound effects (back when they made them with oscillators and circuits and such) but in a strictly non-cheesy way. Strange little melodies pulsate, either butting heads or jumping in each others beds. Receding into a softened squirm and scrape affair, with a drum machine puttering along underneath, it launches into a gnarly, cut-up, hard-panned freakout. These are probably the most "normal" moments of the tape as there's a steady if subtle beat and it slows down just enough you can start getting a hang of all the sounds going on. The most upfront beat of the tape turns up later still skittering away like the drummer in a 60s jazz quartet on a solo. Slowing down even further, the tape concludes with a handful of sounds conversing across the left and right channels, birthing melodic bastard children until muttering "Fuck, I'm tired. I'm outta here." This is the most thoroughly inventive cacophony I've heard in a long time.
Who knows if Cooper himself can wrap his mind around this incredible piece of confusion he's created. This is the uncharted, intergalactic intersection of techno, free music, weirdo music, jazz, avant-guitar and probably a bunch of other shit but its way more wild and fresh and exciting than any of that implies. Absolute jaw dropper, I highly recommend seeking out a copy of this as I doubt you've ever heard anything quite like it. I haven't at least.
So now that 3-D is all the rage (again) everyone's jumping on the band wagon and Fat Worm of Error's Tim Sheldon is right there along with everybody else. Check out the packaging on this thing! It's like the smokestack is coming right at you (it is!) Sheldon somehow found time to hand carve the title into the tape shells too. Anyway, so the presentation's awesome and this tape also helped me get a step closer to hearing all the Fat Worm members in solo form. Only one more to go; Donny, I'm comin' for you next. This tape is another perplexercise you'd expect from the crew but probably not in the way you'd expect. National Felt is all slowed-down samples of what sounds like various pop-rock songs from the early 90s. I'm sad to say I don't recognize any of the samples but they got me singin' "bay-buh!" in a slow-mo, Tears for Fears-sounding voice. The tape hops from sample to sample sometimes looping them or slicing and splicing them up. Along with that, Sheldon lays down some grrrrzzz's and oscillator squeals, static blurts and sounds of random shit getting knocked around in between and overtop the samples. It's quite a cool piece of music (probably about 10 minutes in length) that seems to cover a lot of ground in that time while also being paced rather quickly. It's unexpectedly listenable in a really great way.
I believe the b-side is just a repeat but for some reason it never sounds identical to the side that came before. I guess that's a testament to the elusiveness and wonder of the tape. Or maybe I'm right and it's not identical. Or maybe Mr. Sheldon is just fuckin' with my head. I'm okay with all three possibilities.
Both tapes are self-released so I guess try tracking down the artist, or getting them at a show. Some distro out there may have a copy(??) Anyway, maybe try Cooper at angsthasepfeffernase[at]gmail[dot]com and the Rack Rash myspace

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