Saturday, April 7, 2012

SPLEENCOFFIN Label: Embarker, GX Jupitter-Larsen, Arvo Zylo

The sPLeeNCoFFiN label, out of Baltimore, MD, has been releasing limited edition noise on cassettes, CDR's and vinyl since 2003. Co-founded by Marlo Eggplant and Timothy Wisniewski, the label's philosophy of releasing albums of "raw experimentation in diverse forms" endears me to them right away. Their discography is extremely diverse and many of the out-of-print items from their catalog are now available as free downloads (including several by Marlo Eggplant, one of my favorite women on the noise scene). Some of their recent releases look really interesting, several Hazardous Guadalupe albums (an early Marlo Eggplant band project); Kreace Peeps, described as "crudely recorded and sloppily improvised excursions into tropical free-jazz, inept folk, harsh world beat, dissonant new age... (etc.)"; and Arrington de Dionyso's "Music For Two Tape Recorders", a 2 tape set that is meant to be played simultaneously on two separate cassette players to achieve it's effect. Give this label a visit HERE.

EMBARKER (Spleencoffin, no cat. #) Big Gary (2011) Cassette
Embarker is the solo project of audiovisual artist, Michael Barker, from New York. This tape, "Big Gary", comes packaged in a very unassuming lined yellow legal-pad cover that looks to be hand typed. The cover, even with the fine line-drawing, provides no indication of what this will sound like, so I push play and the tape begins with a synth filter slowly widening, moving up in pitch, rising like that for a while, then abruptly ends. Sounding for a moment like the tape is being eaten by the cassette player, but then a strange pattern of synthetics emerge forming another composition, adding glitched, out-of-key elements, high-pitched exclamations, sample & hold overloading of repetitions. All these sounds overlapping and building slowly into new arrangements. Then the patterns draw apart, becoming separated from their origins. Like random machine sounds convening, or music created by coordinated mechanical events. The B side begins more rhythmic, with a bass drum/cymbal, filtered and banging over and over while making slight timbral changes. This rhythmic structure is built up with random-sounding synths that often move in to the mix for a moment only to disappear. Definite link here, sound-wise, to the early cassette underground stuff like that of Carl Howard's NoMuzic. In the more recent context maybe this is a sort of minimal breakcore. Difficult to define, yet very interesting and unexpected. Get it HERE.

GX JUPITTER-LARSEN / ARVO ZYLO (Spleencoffin, SP-27-CS) Xylowave/Zylowave (2012) Cassette

GX Jupitter-Larsen needs no introduction, to anybody even in the periphery of the noise scene, Larsen's project, The Haters, is legendary as one of the defining artists of the genre, up there with the likes of Hal McGee, Merzbow, Whitehouse, etc. This split tape with Arvo Zylo, titled "Xylowave/Zylowave", is a 2012 release on Spleencoffin. The first side belongs to GX and here he creates an urgent sound, though to the ear the basic patterns do not change and there are no clever editing tricks, there's something beautiful in these long stretches of wind-licked, barren machine-noise. This is crushing, bruising, yet when listened to in a certain way can be heard as ambient sounds. Rising frequencies punch holes in the structure, power tools shower sparks, until in it's final incarnation it becomes crunching rhythmics that descend to an abrupt ending. As awesome as you'd expect!

Arvo Zylo is a distinctive noise artist, though not yet well known, I've reviewed his work favorably HERE. This is quite different from the crazy combination of prog, krautrock and industrial forms I heard in Zylo's other work. His B side, "Zylowave", starts with staccato 8-bit repetitions, charged electrons fluxing throughout, then partial dropouts in the mix on one side of the stereo frame or the other. My Sansui S930's are put to the test, but they're used to this kind of noise abuse, since I've had 'em for 30+ years! Midway through, it all becomes hissing and constant crescendos with no means of resolution. Another wondrous slab of power electronics!

Finally let me say this has one of the better conceived cover graphics I've seen of late, handsomely printed in black and silver, a nice art package. Recommended! Get it for $5 (!) HERE.

No comments:

Post a Comment