Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Total Vermin Update May 2011 + + +

Still £2.50 each, plus postage... Orders to smearcampaign@hotmail.com

Total Vermin #49: Very Rich Lexicon - Smoke You (Dickhead) C34

Hot young duo, straight outta Hull, way-into-the-red tape mangling and remedial sound poetry; the crumble of the industrial North viewed through an hydroponic kaleidoscope. For more and related recordings, pay a visit to POOT. There's also a compilation fresh out on RAYON.

You can sample a snatch of the release here.

Total Vermin #50: Ghost of an Octopus - 33, 32 C43

Joincey and me in an uncharacteristically downer session. Two long jams, stretching our legs. There are still moments of freneticism, but also a lot of ring-modulated drone flying around, and the overloaded tape blurs the movements into psychedelic confusion.

Get a wee bit here.

Total Vermin #51: Chris Dadge - Disappear out of Nowhere CD-R

This is the first of three offerings in this batch from Canadian percussion maestro Chris Dadge. Dadge's playing has elegance and finesse, rare and refreshing qualities in free play in our post-genral musical sphere. That is not to say, though, that it is without heart or vigour. Quite the contrary; Dadge is capable of hammering away as willfully as the next chap. This, the solo cassette Once or Every Day and the Bent Spoon duo cassette are all excellent additions to the canon of hale, timbral improv that he has built up. For further examples of his work (and other fine works by contemporary improvisation luminaries), curious listeners should check out his label, Bug Incision.

Here is a short clip from this expansive (five tracks, forty-five minutes) release.

Total Vermin #52: Joinconker and the Soupcon of Knowledgeable Phorceeeez CD-R

Another Joincey solo project to add to the list; this time a queasy amalgam of dream-pop and power electronics (by my reckoning), delivered with the usual casual conviction.

Here's a track from the CD, entitled 'White Nancey'

Total Vermin #53: Chris Dadge - Once or Every Day C19

The second Dadge solo release. See the description of Disappear out of Nowhere for further musings.

Here is an audio sample.

Total Vermin #54: Bent Spoon Duo - On WFMU C30

Another project from Dadge, this time a duo with Scott Munro. Here are CD's notes on it:

"This was a session myself and scott munro, the bent spoon duo, recorded at home in calgary, at 308, in december of 2009. it was broadcast on wmfu, on scott mcdowell's The Long Rally, weeks after, along with a live interview.

The session was recorded live to four tracks of a four-track, each player taking two tracks each to send a stereo mix from each of our mixers. also, there were no room mics used, so the only sounds you are hearing are direct, except for the odd time when a mic is used specifically. this accounts for the odd, tight sound, and panning effects. definitely not how we usually sound, but we're both quite pleased with the results after hearing it again last night.

The original session included a few extra minutes at the end of side a, and a shorter, middle track, but upon re-evaluation, we scrapped these small bits.

Instruments used include percussion, strings, sk-1 keyboards, cuatro, voice, and other things."

Here is a sound sample.

Total Vermin #55: Acrid Lactations - We Had Joy, We Had Fun, We Had Seasons in the Abyss C28

The recording debut of the duo of myself and Dr. Soosan. Partly in concert, in St. Margaret's church, Whalley Range, partly at home; bent strings, overdriven synth, electronic squall, whistles and frictional potterings. The featured concert perfomance was descibed by Manchester's leading authority on such things, Mr Gary Robert Kelly, as the best thing he'd seen either of us do...

Here's a sample for you to listen to.

Total Vermin #56: Dead Labour Process & Kommissar Hjuler und Frau - The Hamburg Tapes C37

Live hook-ups between Edinburgh's DLP, also to be found in noise rock shitkickers Muscletusk and certifiable droolers Brittle Hammer Trio, and Germany's Mr and Mrs Dada. They weave together an unremittingly strange noise, from sources familiar and unknown, simultaneously alien and as human as snot. As unhinged, confusing and ultimately beautiful as you could hope for.

A snippet of sound should be locatable here.

In addition to the above releases, I also have available some items from other labels that I have hereto neglected to list for sale. Some may be of interest.

Winebox11. Plum Slate - The Loathsome Bough c36 £5

Some no-effects acoustic guitar recordings that I made at home and straight to ghetto blaster. Here's the label blurb:

"Plum Slate is the sensitive solo side of Stuart J Arnot, who can also be found eating fried feedback for breakfast as Smear Campaign, pounding the electronic drums in The Gamecock and psyching out with Nackt Insecten in Mid Leopard Violet Prism, as well as bossing the label Total Vermin. 'The Loathsome Bough', however, consists of five tracks of straight-up no-effects prepared acoustic guitar, with atonal chords plucked and arpeggiated in a way that's sometimes sparse, sometimes frantic, and so hauntingly lonesome that it reminds of Jandek - which is funny 'cause when I first saw that video of Jandek grinding with the Sugar Hill rhythm section it reminded me of Stuart."

Sick Head #25. Smear Campaign - The Blood of the Martyrs Will Make Fine Black Pudding C40 £4

My favourite Smear Campaign album. Includes a cover of Jon and Vangelis' "I'll Find My Way Home". Tuukka says:

"Two bottles of Tyskie on a Tuesday night in a house full of sheets of metal and too-few-stringed acoustic guitars. The bleeding hands belong to the legendary Smear man, no son of mere man. Heavy expression of everyday emotions and the anger of endless discovery and loss. What’s for tea, love? Back pud! Some things aren’t meant to change. Outside the house, life goes on. Dance with me, you battered old fool."

Sound samples for this and MLVP, below, can be found at the Sick Head site.

Sick Head #28. Mid Leopard Violet Prism - Deadly Ochre Brain Residue C30 £4

Ruaraidh nursing a port hangover, and me fresh as a daisy despite imbibing large amounts of gin. There are actually three tracks, all of indeterminate title:

"Desert brothers Ruaraidh Insecten and Stuart Campaign continue their duo journey on the long since vanished foot steps of ZZ Top. Rattled snakes hide under heavy rumble while the sun burns a cheap six-string into a useless fuck of bent wood. Scrape that bolder, big boy, and don’t you show your face in this here town again until you have some real desert sand between those pretty teeth! Tracks: “Deadly Ochre” and “Brain Residue”."

Giant Tank GTNK020. Smear Campaign - Do Let's Hang the Aristocracy C20 £2.50

Wrapped in comic book pages and a wraparound with drawings by Malcy Duff. Short SC tape of solo percussion malfunctioning electronics and The Frog Chorus.

Singing Knives Records. v/a - Thoughts From Screeching Lake CD £5

Excellent compilation, put together by those nice people at Singing Knives, and including a Plum Slate track. Here's a review from The Wire magazine:

"17 tracks from the gloriously active Singing Knives label, home of the new Sheffield underground, as explored in The Wire issue 310. There's nothing here from Part Wild Horses Mane On Both Sides, probably the best thing on the Knives roster, but this is still a good haul, and the net is cast wider than you might expect. Pekko Käppi's velvety drones on his Finnish-Karelian bowed lyre are at the pure folky end of the spectrum, while two tracks feature the Beirut Improv crowd: Mazen Kerbaj's gritty BAO trio, and Christine Sehnaoui's astonishing, hyper-calm sax multiphonics. If there's a devotional quality to Sehnaoui's solo sax playing, the ritual vibe is still more apparent on Infinite Light's spacious metallic ululation, and U Boat's mysterious vocals, like an Amazon tribal heads-down. Groups like these certainly seem to extend what's allowed in Improv, till we tip over into Alberorovesciato's organ and drums freakout, an Italian homage to Brazilian vampire movies.
An earlier generation of Sheffield improvisers is represented by John Jasnoch's Navigators, skittish and intense. The electric guitar duo of Serfs could not be more different, and their stoned, aimless quality is also attractive. Essex based Helhesten are great too, with their twinkling dulcimers and hooting humans, while Ross Parfitt's quadruple-sax drone is an Industrial riposte to Pekko Käppi's folk fiddle.

Overall, there's less of the naked instrumentality I would expect from other Knives associates like Part Wild Horses or The Hunter Gracchus, but there's plenty here to get teeth and knives stuck into."

Eric Ostrowski - Twinkle 3" DVD £2.50

Excellent companion piece to the cassette released on Total Vermin at the tail end of last year. Amazing visuals and sounds, I recommend it very highly.

Blackest Rainbow/Recollections of Knulp. Ben Nash & Sophie Cooper - Alchemy CD £3

Susan did the (beautiful) artwork for this 'real' CD, and so has a few copies to sell... Here is the Blackest Rainbow description...

"Recorded over a weekend back in the early months of 2009, here are 2 tracks of multi instrumental composition from Ben Nash and Sophie Cooper (CooperJones). The music here is truly beautiful, personally I think this is some of the best work to come from both Ben and Sophie so far. Total late night guitar meanderings blurred with a haze of deep churning scrapes from various instruments and layered drone bliss, creating 2 totally immersive and beautiful psychedelic drone. Some of the guitar playing here has a beautiful Loren Connors mets Ry Cooder Paris Texas era sound, and then when both Ben and Sophie reach for the gee-tars you have the beautiful mix of Ben's reflective electric blues and Sophie's purely relaxed acoustic musings, totally fantastic. This really has it down for me as something truly different, lets hope that they continue to record as this duo. I certainly cannot wait for more..."

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