Tuesday, June 14, 2011

[GUEST REVIEW] Camis - Cats Kils [No Label]

This is the first of its kind, a guest review on Auxiliary Out, written by Arvo Zylo. Enjoy!

Cammisa Forrest seems to have an affinity for spray paint. When I saw the band that she was in, Miami Beach, who apparently reunited for a performance at Chicago's Neon Marshmallow Fest in August 2010, she was running around gleefully behind some kind of barricade made of plastic wrap in front of the stage, coating the translucent sheen with a fog of different colored spray paint. The flimsy cellophane wall fell down, and she flailed around with it like some kind of glue sniffing fairy lady, while Matt Kimmel babbled, chanted, coughed, and hacked into a heavily delayed swatch of effects. Everybody in the room probably left with a headache or a “contact high” (if that is appropriate for fumes), and I'm not sure if I liked it or if I was just light-headed. In person, Cammisa is definitely mellow and peaceable, certainly a free spirit if there ever was one, which is still refreshing to me even in the art/noise/experimental scene. There was a discussion between Dominick Dufner (Sigulda), myself, and her, which led to trades. With no surprise, what I bartered for was packaged in thick paper sewn together, covered in gold spray paint, with a CDR also spray painted (caked with spray paint). Apparently it was limited to 20 copies and thrown together in honor of the fest.
Cammisa or Camis, which seems to be the official artist name, is definitely young, but just how young I don't know. Either way, the CDr Cats Kils to me is an excellent piece of work, not that it boasts expensive vintage synthesizers, has any studied techniques, or worships any particular necrophile genre, it doesn't even hold much of an affiliation to the concept of “outsider music”. What does it for me in a lot of cases is when a person's personality is shown in what I would consider a pure form, and when someone creates a world that I can visualize, I haven't caught on to that as succinctly as I did with
Cats Kils in a long time. In this case, there are layers of lo-fi drones, simple toy keyboard phrases, lots of reversed vocals, and (dare I say) charmingly half-baked acoustic bedroom songs. At one point, there is someone novicing at a piano and in the background, birds whistle, people walk around, Camissa continues to play while occasionally making talk with a barking/growling dog. Later on, something that sounds like a plodding reverse accordion tap weaves around sparsely with distant spaced out wa wa wa singing, acoustic guitar and maybe a ukulele, a squeak doll, and some kind of plastic percussion instrument, and this track goes absolutely nowhere, which is good for an ending. At other points it sounds like layers of Soundgarden and Fionna Apple in reverse, and ultimately, what drives it home is where Cammisa is sort of meandering with her voice reverbed out over a sitar loop, when someone apparently comes in during the recording and says stuff like “you said you were going to go to clean your room 4 hours ago, you said you were going to go to sleep one hour ago, I need you to quiet down, I can't sleep through these pornophonics” etc. It sounds more like a roommate than a parent and either way, the chant defiantly keeps going.
I can't help but to imagine a person (not necessarily Cammisa) sitting anxiously in front of a television or at a dinner table during autumn, after getting back from school, annoyed that the sun is going down earlier and earlier, unsure of their identity, unsure of their future, and feeling a sort of optimism that comes with so many options; a desire to have more horizons coupled with the feeling of being trapped, the absolute refusal to accept some dreadful idea of hatching into a real grown up who packs their lunch and hurries through futile, clotted traffic over and over. I see a person unintentionally disregarding consensus reality in baby steps, a willful naivete, an insular yet familiar chaos coupled with a peaceful disruption that irks people who can't let loose, and an unwillingness to commit to anything but the moment. This little disc comes off as not particularly rebellious, not deliberately contrary per se, yet both abstruse and autonomous, and refreshing in how effectively peculiar it is.
I don't really know Cammisa, she could be an accountant for all I know, and I don't intend to project these ideas as her motivations for the release; I'm sure they were different, but either way Cats Kils was an unexpected surprise. It's hard to explain, I feel strange because I'm confident that this is something that is not simply a fleeting point of interest in my personal history as a listener, but I'm pretty sure that I'm going to return to this thing in 5 years, regardless of my personal sound palette is at this time, although only time will tell if the spray paint hasn't eroded the disc by then!

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