Monday, August 8, 2011

800 WILD! Ground Zero Mosque, Hunted Creatures, Inappropriate King Live, Pregnant Spore, The Charisma Carpenter

800 Wild is a diverse experimental/noise label run by Jake Lexso out of Pittsburgh, PA. Already this year there are nearly twenty releases and an ambitious schedule for the near future that includes works by Japanese noise god, K2, one of the originators of "Japanoise"; RJ Myato of the excellent U.S. label, No Nazi Noise; and more Ground Zero Mosque, etc. So, Lexso is making this a label to be heard on the merit of it's great and prolific releases. Jake sent me the following four cassettes:

THE CHARISMA CARPENTER (800 Wild #8) Take Your Life (2011) C-10

I'll begin with The Charisma Carpenter's "Take Your Life", a short tape that is, apparently, a reissue of an obscure release, circa 2003, by Triangle & Rhino's drummer, M. Rappa. The A side is made up of chaotically clashing electronics, a constantly moving, constantly evolving soundscape. This could be metaphorical of biochemical processes, environments that have their own logic, but are not understandable outside of that dimension. Under the carpet of always changing sounds are rhythmic constants that quite nearly bring solid structure to it, but are battered continually by a sonic terrorism that renders them ungraspable.

The B side is made up of conversations, many voices converging, placed in various environments, some close up and intimate, some group conversations and laughter, phone calls, phased snippets overheard. These phrases are poised against a rhythmic discourse made out of loops and delay-based repetitions. Correlating to the title of the cassette, it seems that The Charisma Carpenter has, indeed, taken sound recordings from his life and rearranged them into a cryptic, but extremely interesting experiment.

GROUND ZERO MOSQUE (800 Wild #9) Sustain Volume (2011) C-40

Jake Lexso's solo noise project is called Ground Zero Mosque. One of the things I love about cassettes are the surprises you encounter in the most humble of places. It seems as I looked at the quirky cover of this release, I wouldn't have expected such a remarkable work.

The first untitled composition begins with a low melodic humming sound, then joined by percussion, amped bass, or guitar (not so much played as hammered or plucked), synth squeals starting to whistle their way up through the mix, all sounds mixed sparingly, melding together as a prelude to some coming event, a downcast harbinger of things to come. More synthetics make their way into the mix, a lonely synth plays, now it becomes space rock gripped by troubled happenings. Then a maelstrom descends and all the sounds merge into one another, droning and distorting. Still, the percussive sounds are easily discerned as they bring the mix to several separate crescendos. The dynamics are superb, the ebb and flow between electric instruments, rhythms and synthetics are rich and varied. As the composition unfolds, synth flutes play a moving melody, all the dynamics fall away and it becomes gentle after it's upheavals, beautiful like Cluster, or Tangerine Dream.

The B side takes off from somewhere in the middle of the other track, not literally, but dynamics-wise. High pitched synth squealings provide a repetitive structure and sound like they could be created by controlled feedback. A huge bass drone emerges telling darker tales, the drone turns crackling and more high-pitched synthetics swirl in like machines performing rituals together. At times sounding not unlike the Eraserhead soundtrack, i.e. post-apocalyptic landscape analogy. There are so many varied sounds on this composition, but it is cohesive and, all in all, a brilliant exercise in abstract electronics.

This tape came across my desk without fanfare, and yet with a name like Ground Zero Mosque, there are direct correlations to ideas that are very timely, newsworthy even. But Jake Lexso stays away from dogma in his work and, rather, focuses on his interest in the possibilities of pure sound expression. Noisy, yes, but he's using the noise aspect as another part of the huge sphere of sounds at his disposal. These days, you don't expect such a picturesque experience from most noise albums, but this really is fantastic and will have you glued to your seat.


This tape, split between three artists, has Ground Zero Mosque's composition titled "The Legs Feed The Wolf" on the first side. Well recorded, great stereo separation, nice, hot dub here! The formidable rumbling and feedback are a warning that this will soon become very frightening. And it does!

Innapropriate King Live
is the mysterious noise project of Justin Marc Lloyd from Baltimore, MD. Lloyd runs the prolific Rainbow Bridge label. This track, "Where Is The House Located", is a totally absorbing composition with sonics ranging from weird, distorted near-voices to what sounds like scraping glass and even higher pitched synth bells. Awesome!

Pregnant Spore is also a sound project by Justin Marc Lloyd. Although this track, "Purple Ice", is repetitious, akin to other HNW noise out there today, but it is very important to listen to this up close with volume. Then the fluxations in the composition are in full detail, with the track moving between high-pitched squalls, sub-bass drones and many other chattering noises. This over-amped track was likely created with feedback loops, but Lloyd's sonic palette is quite large and the origins of the sounds here are a mystery. Perhaps, in the end, this is not as well developed as the other tracks on the release, but an interesting addition nonetheless.

HUNTED CREATURES (800 Live #15) Self-Titled (2011) C-30

Hunted Creatures are a very special free-improv band, formerly the solo project of Ryan Emmett, now adding Amy Hoffmann, Darren Myers and Micah Pacileo to the equation. The crazy cover on this tape will surprise upon a closer look! This is improvisational electroacoustic noise. Violin, maybe cello, occupies the beginning stages alongside synthetic sounds and shortwave radio, which unfold over time. The structure is not dense at first, but the sounds are sort of placed across from one another, and posed in ways that create interesting juxtapositions. A synth filter opens and closes, perhaps too common in the language of synthesizer music, but soon plucked guitar patterns appear and are punctuated by noises rising to eventually become a sort-of lo-fi drone. All these elements come together, for me, in ways that are authentic and interesting.

Interest becomes fascination, however, on the B side of this tape. It utilizes a lot of the same types of sounds, but is a better, more coherent statement of cause. With a repeating melodic synth figure and strange behemoth sounds growling around the background, it begins both beautiful and strange. The melodic parts drop out and distort to become chirping and vocal snippets, which drop out to to now become environmental sounds. Chimes in the distance, extreme quietude, then a new pattern of textures slowly emerges. sounding like a street fair with wheezing accordion, segues into melodic guitar and fluxing electrons at the exteriors of the composition. Then all fades and you wait, maybe, this is another evolution, but it's now the end of the tape. This tape, to me, is a throwback to some of the United Dairies releases, or maybe some of the work by the Hafler Trio project.

An ofttimes beautiful release with improvisational approach leading to passages of real brilliance. The use of dynamics and space are very interesting, especially on the B side as the track winds down through all kinds of transformations towards silence. Highly recommended for experimental improv fans!
For any of these releases please contact 800 Wild.

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