Monday, March 28, 2011

Scissor Shock - Psychic Existentialism [For Noise's Sake]/Expensive Shit - ATX Ghosts + Flowers [For Noise's Sake]

As you've likely noticed, ain't been too many reviews poppin' out of these Auxiliary Out tubes lately. There has been no shortage of great stuff comin' in the doors here; it's just been that time has been incredibly elusive this year. Although, to quoteth Galaxy Quest, never give up, never surrender. I am chipping away steadily, if glacially, at the stack of patient submissions here. Well, I just caught a few minutes of Madrid on Globe Trekker yesterday, I figure it's a sign to give these transmissions from Madrid's For Noise's Sake the review treatment.
Scissor Shock is the work of insanely active, insanely motivated and insanely nice guy Adam Cooley. I use "insanely" purposefully there because a few things about Adam are a little insane, probably most of all is his music.
"Psychic Existentialist" breathes life into the record and actually isn't that crazy at first. Sure, a little scatterbrained maybe, but not crazy. Chopped up samples (ranging from vibes to children's programming) mingle with "free" drum programming. There actually is nearly a jazzy feel at parts but Cooley is much too eager to stop and go at a whim, trading in mellow grooves for skittering melodies like it's nobody's business (it isn't.) At 6 minutes, it's the second longest of like 13 tracks. Most wrap-up in a little over a minute such as "Cat Planet Woman" which features a similar vibe to the opening track but daresay it sounds much more focused? "Ghost with Shit Electronics" flips the script with a lonesome guitar intro before launching headfirst into a spastic showcase of stitched together guitar and drum programming. If sheet music shoved into a food processor made a sound, this record might not be too far from it. I don't want to cheapen the music with hyperbole because what makes the record is not the split-second editing; it's that Cooley will end the frantic, hi-speed collision of the aforementioned "Ghost" with a detuned guitar and vocal ditty. So there is Jungle in here as well as shredmasters but there's this weirdo sensibility as well. It seems like when Cooley eases up on the gas a little he reveals great little moments. Sometimes it's a strung out acoustic guitar. Sometimes it's a lingering, aural tone. Though, the record can still sound pretty good when the pedal's to the metal. The 9 minute title track works like a plunderphonic punk/hardcore track. Breaking down and mashing up the various signatures of punk and hardcore music along with spurts outsides genres. Unexpectedly, the piece drifts out on a few minutes of mild, psychedelic drone while the next track "Sunset Dream of Codeine Eyeball" is a few plucked guitar notes. "Bring Back the Guillotine" stands out because of how it begins. It's more or less a rock song, albeit an extremely debilitated rock song. The track doesn't necessarily continue in that same fashion, but it does seem to choose melodies over tropes which I am in complete support of. "Man of the Graveyard Man" does straight-up morph into a one-man DC hardcore track that's pretty rad while it lasts. "Tearing Wings Off of a Pigeon" continues the string of hits. It's actually a song with vocals and a melody all the way through. The final 23 seconds (titled "Johnny Merzbow Psychic Contact") are pretty badass, so badass in fact need a little more than 23 seconds, Adam. C'mon! Don't leave a guy hanging.
How much you really enjoy Cooley's music probably depends mostly on how chopped-up you like your audio. Though I'm not a big fan of that generally, Cooley imbues all the cuts and splices with the overarching character of his music. He's obviously fond of chopping the shit out of everything which I can respect (especially because I know my lazy ass would never have the patience nor perseverance to make music like that) but as I alluded to earlier, it's all things that don't jump up and down, demanding your attention that make the record interesting.
This Expensive Shit CD-r had a couple things going for it before I even listened to it. First of all, I like this gang's name. Second, the cover (intentionally?) evokes Rampage one of the most badass arcade games around. Third, there's the winking nod to Pitchfork media's most hated Sonic Youth album.
The disc consists of a single 19 and a half minute rager. The thing is so blown out, so gnarled, so ravaged that my agitated girlfriend asked me to plug in the headphones.
There's some semblance of "music" here. Expensive Shit is definitely a "band" just one that plays furious 19.5 minute-long, improv'd disasterpieces. Every so often the drummer takes the lead, with the rest of the band following his torch through the cave of clang.
The second half, much like the first half, of the track features a lot pounding, thudding, crashing, slashing but also some weird harmonic licks in there too. It may be the most developed section of the track, which ambles along from bit to bit fluidly if a little languorously sometimes. By the end of the set, though, they are really grooving like a mid-period Six Finger Satellite but caked with dirt, rust and oxidation rather than basking in radioactivity. For full band free noise-rock, these guys aren't a bad source. They will certainly beat the fuck out your face if you let them out of yr sight.
I'm curious to hear more from Expensive Shit, or hear them develop rather. These guys got the sound down, but I wouldn't mind hearing a few songs driving all the volatility next time. I highly doubt these guys take requests though.
Hit up For Noise's Sake for the discs.

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