NEIL CAMPBELL AND ROBERT HORTON
Brand new collaboration from Mr. Neil Campbell, he formerly of Astral Social Club, and fellow noisemaker/soundscaper Robert Horton. Typically in the past when we would review a Robert Horton record, we would list all the silly shit he plays, we won't do that here, but rest assured he still does (weevils, boot, etc.). The two open up the proceedings with a spaced out psychedelic dancefloor number that seems to find the duo exploring similar territory as Campbell has done on recent ASC releases, a cosmic electronica, all skeletal beats and looped layers. But we may have called it too soon, as the rest of the record is sort of all over the place, from glitched out electro-folk, to wild tangles of piano, from gnarled static and keening high end, to strange noise drenched house music (as if Our Love Will Destroy The World were DJing a rave), with chugging distorted guitars, truncated samples and strange vocal snippets, all woven into something stuttery and not at all groovy (and we mean that in a good way). The B side finishes off with a gorgeous bit of dizzying trip out that sounds a bit like a sped up Appalachia, as if Philip Jeck were spinning a handful of Fahey lps at 78rpm, woozy and warped and strangely mesmerizing.
Two of the three tracks on the B side find Horton and Campbell working their way back to the dancefloor, but it's the extended opener on side 2 that might be THEE jam here, starting out with a druggy beatscape, that gets blissed out into a hazy bit of kosmische shimmer, only to have the beat drift back to the surface, pulsing away just beneath the surface, a weirdly glistening bit of layered psychedelia, draped over a churning muted rhythm, so awesome, and while it's the longest track here, it still ends way too soon.
- Aquarius Records
'We've loved everything we've had heard from Core Of The Coalman, a one man noise drone outfit from right here in the Bay Area (but now based in the Czech Republic), making dark crusty corrosive dronemusic that we described as sounding like Phill Niblock on steroids at one point, intense and blown out and hypnotic, the sounds corrosive and crumbling and in the red, impossibly soothing while being seriously dark and dense. But something must have changed since then, cuz this new COTC, while still droney and hypnotic, seems to have shed all the filth and buzz and crust, instead, what we have here is a gorgeously hypnotic assemblage of looped mesmer, sounding more like Phill Niblock than ever, but also a bit like Philip Glass, long stretches of repeated motifs, layered strings, chopped and stuttery, the repetition creating constant shifts in perception, the tones and notes beating against one another, creating rhythms, and strange overtones, subtle harmonies, woozy and psychedelic, some seriously divine minimalism.
The first half of the record, "Inertia II" and "Inertia I", sounds like a string quartet chopped and screwed, in the beginning, a constant flutter and flurry of clipped notes, but as the song progresses the strings become more distinct, the melodies emerge, becoming more and more calm, before right near the end, blossoming into an even more dizzying bit of looped repetition.
The second half of the record, "Last Help", takes a simple subtle bit of folky steel string guitar, left mostly alone during the intro, but then during the 20 minute piece proper, again delicately recontextualized into a warm tangled swirl of interwoven melodies, of constantly shifting textures, never getting super washed out or blurry, instead, retaining the guitar's sound, and the main melody, mostly adding a haze of echoes and shadows, doubling some of the notes, harmonizing others, the result, not nearly as dense and dizzying as the first half of the record, but equally as blissed out and beautiful.' - Aquarius Records
A record of moods, messages, brazen noise and West Coast anger, and driven by an intelligence that is kept in reserve for the appropriate moment, High Castle’s Spirit of the West is a work of some stature. It all kicks off with Swamp Thing, a daft, slightly histrionic scuzzathon. What’s immediately noticeable are the slightly strained adenoidal vocals, which have something of the preacher man about them. There’s a cod theatrical quality there that reminds me of Biafra or even Lux Interior.
Then we have Innocence - by turns quiet and moody or raucous and irascible: a post amphetamine grumble built on a sliding riff and some spattered drumming. Single We Were Lovers is marvellous; a righteous and focussed stomp through some “hellish” urban future when there’s no more Kanye or broadband to console you: “we got bad news for you” indeed.
Some of these titles could get you thinking of Guided by Voices – Bee Medal, Crustaceans Demise and Farewell To Limbs are cases in point; though the songs themselves are much more histrionic and insistent than the classic backwoods GBV drawl: though Crustaceans Demise gets close (it could be a demented Soft Boys track too). I read somewhere that they sound like the Minutemen as well, and yes I can hear that a bit.
Best track on the record has to be Half Mass, with its playground chorus disseminating a brutal message: whereas After God and All Ages Nightmare continue the thumping apocalyptical vibe. It’s a great, sharp and focused record and could be a soundtrack for our times. -Richard Foster, Incendiary Mag
"Mincemeat Or Tenspeed’s live show seem to comprise of two equal parts, amazing skill and chaotic chance, which team together to create fascinating soundscapes." - Jason Glastetter, CMJ Blog
"Mincemeat or Tenspeed at first come off as a smart ass take on Steven Reich. However, as the needle grooves through, Mincemeat builds on the riff, shatters some rhythms, and shifts into new hooks. This is loud minimalism and full of all kinds of great ideas." - Scott Soriano, Z GUN
"Although spawned from Pennsylvania's DIY Noise scene, his music more closely resembles Techno. Harm's instrument is a table full of guitar pedals, all plugged into each other in a sinister web...hearing that thup-thup-thup sound transformed into the kick drums of dance music, it blows your mind that no programming is involved. Simply through the careful tweaking of knobs on pedals, Harms moulds feedback into an infectious approximation of four-on-the-floor club music....He's a trailblazer of the most exciting sort, one to whom an audience hasn't yet caught up." -William Hutson, The Wire
"One can infer a lot about a musician's relationship to hardcore from their effects pedals. Black Flag pissed off the jocks by growing their hair out and exploring ponderous jam-band territory, but modulating the guitar signal might have been a more serious affront. Black Dice took the latter tack, with Bjorn Copeland's guitar playing the role of sound generator in contrast to Greg Ginn's Tourette's-stricken riff machine. Philadelphia's David Harms goes by Mincemeat or Tenspeed and does the narrative one better by dispensing with the guitar altogether: his rig consists of a feedback circuit of effects pedals and a mixer.
There may be only one other notable instance of this kind of setup: Nurse With Wound's uncharacteristic triple-LP of rippling metallic drones, Soliloquy for Lilith (Idle Hole, 1988). NWW's Steven Stapleton claims to have created the album by gesturing in the air above the circuit — he puts it down to an electrical anomaly in the studio — but Mincemeat's Harms is more accurately imagined trying, with limited success, to contain his own in-the-red squall by throwing his upper torso over a guitar-pedal-ringed Eye of Sauron. The sound-dust Harms assembles into the seven well-structured pieces that make up Strange Gods (Zum)
moves at a velocity and with a restlessness that recall minimalist composers as well as the formal noise bacchanal of Kevin Drumm's Sheer Hellish Miasma (Mego, 2002). It's all-American, free-form blood 'n' guts noise that takes formal and textural cues from early electronic music — Hair Police listening to Gordon Mumma." - Brandon Bussolini, SF Bay Guardian
MY HEART, AN INVERTED FLAME