Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Horaflora/Bromp Treb - Split [Yeay!]/Jason Martin - Harmonic Time Cycles & Scary Guitar Man [Yeay!]

Yeay! Cassettes seems to have officially re-christened itself as the more general, but at least more accurate, Yeay! Plastics. They don't drop things all that often but when they do you can expect only the best in sheer madness technology. It's not about quantity, it's all about bizarro-quality.
This split single from Bromp Treb and Horaflora is a straight up West Mass/Bay Area bonk 'n blurt banger! These are some serious jams!
I nabbed this because of how much I dig Bromp Treb's prior 7" outing on Yeay! Twins and this thing's been burning up the turntable ever since.
This record is my first experience with Raub Roy's Horaflora project (which also struts around town as the Horaflora Sound System at times.) There's no info on the record besides artist, title, label and suggested turntable speed so I don't have a good idea of what Roy is actually doing to create his Horaflorin' sounds. "Glibbertone" sounds like modular synthesizer to me. Roy spews a constant stream of synthetic, generally percussive tones and molds them into something far more groovy than should be allowed with a sound source this abstract. I'm not talking block-rockin' beats or anything but there's enough to get your head noddin'. It's sort of like a drunken stumble put on repeat, while having a barrage of electronic pebbles lobbed at you. The second half of the track takes its foot off the gas a bit and airs things out for a gentle come down from what was a pretty gentle climax in the first place. It's an odd little track, I'm intrigued to hear more from this project.
When Neil "I'm not that Neil Young" Young isn't creating the future of rock & roll with Fat Worm of Error, he's dicking around with his Bromp Treb project. Melding/mutating/mutilating percussion, tape, samples etc. in the name of good fun, always coming up with the wiggiest of jams to show for it. And this wiggy jam, in particular, "Readinessmaxx" may be the most succinct, defining and, well, just the goddam best statement of Bromp Treb's career so far. 
Young crams a 12" side's worth of material into 3 minutes or so. Hand drum samples, boops and beeps, unavoidably groovy drum machine rhythms, record scratch/tape squeal histrionics, odd vocal samples, a gorgeous synthesized sitar part, I'm just scatching the surface. The thing, however, as I alluded to earlier, is not about the quantity--sure, Young is working with a variety of different sounds but it's the im-fuckin'-peccable execution that makes the thing such a wonder and a treat to listen to. The Bromp Treb scalpel is so tastefully precise that all this is synthesized perfectly into a focused, coherent dance floor headscratcher. 
The interplay between the "musical" samples and the sonic anarchy is unwittingly divine and infinitely jammable. This has to be one of the finest pieces of musical composition I've heard all year. Neil, how do you do it man?
Between the two sides, the B-side is for sure my favorite but these artists are so in sync that the two sides complement each other perfectly giving the vague illusion the record was produced with a collective brain.
The single comes in die-cut covers with a slot to slide in images of your favorite expressionist painter, quarterback, exotic locale or supermodel. I've already customized mine a few times!
This hour-long bamboozling from Jason Martin (Location Ensemble) is one half radio-play and one half something or other dedicated to Captain Beefheart. It's an ornately composed mess to say the least.
The first side contains "Harmonic Time Cycles or How the Romans Sent a Disruptive Time Piece to Psychotronically Entrap Us Within Our Own Minds" which is described as a "radio play for guitar, shortwave, tape player, bass, drums, percussion, function generator & organ." Martin cuts up what is ostensibly a "sermon" by a radio preacher discussing, in (pseudo-)scientific terms, time. He discusses the various calendars used through the centuries, including the one imposed by Julius Caesar and the terrible Romans. Around the lunacy, Martin constructs a kinetic mishmash of drums, bass and guitar which ping-pong around the room smashing the pictures off the walls. Periodically, Martin cuts to minimal electronic tones, probably to give his listeners a break from the forceful fits of energy (and, once again, lunacy) that erupt throughout the piece, this thing is a half hour long after all.
In what may just be my favorite moment of the radio play, Martin breaks in with acoustic guitar in hand, and sings over the preacher's nonsensical lecture, doubling the ridiculous words and delivering them as a sing-songy ditty. Martin gets a little more abstract directly after that, manipulating his sample in a spaced out canyon of organ and electronics. This vibe continues for a while with some added tape abuse and the occasional splash of spastic guitar-drum crash. Martin comes up with some nicely mussed guitar/drum/bass/tape improvisation that certainly doesn't sound like it was overdubbed. At one point, Martin gets into pointed Beefheart-styled junkyard scrap (which we'll revisit on the next side.)
Martin actually gets close to a pop song a little bit later, featuring some cool rhythmic interplay between drums and a choral sample. After the moneyshot of "the Romans sent a disruptive time piece to psychotronically entrap us within our own minds," the thing wraps up in a brushfire of electronics. Martin takes another pretty good stab at a pop tune, crooning "Caesar" over and over before splintering into more abstract moves and calling it quits. Pretty damn cool and involved/involving side--never heard anything quite like it before.
The second side, titled "Scary Guitar Man," is a half-hour of excerpts culled from three hours of improvised material. Ranging from lo-fi Matt Bower-style noise to angular Beefheart on Radar shenanigans, Martin serves up 30 minutes of filtered velcro fuzz, tape fuckery, blues guitar strut 'n skronk, percussive pitch-bend string mash and weird spoken word too. There's some cool material, but the length and randomness of the side pales a bit in comparison to the wild but well-thought-out madness of the charming first side. Although, I think it's pretty clear the A-side is the main attraction, and side B is the second feature at the drive-in.
The 7" is a must have and the tape ain't too shabby either. Procure them shits via Yeay! right now!

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