This vinyl release is coming out on Grapefruit Records. a subscription style label in the vein of Three Lobed. On this release we find two of the towering giants of the New Zealand underground. The Pin Group’s Roy Montgomery and the Dead C’s Bruce Russell. My love of the New Zealand avant garde music scene should be of no real surprise to regular readers but I had very different reactions to the two tracks on this album.
Lets deal with the track that confused me. Bruce Russell’s track is titled Mistah Chilton, He Dead. I’ve listened to it a stack of times. In the car on the way to the tip, through headphones on a long walk and at the supermarket and a few times after my kids have gone to sleep and the house is quiet. There is no doubt that it is a tricky track to write about let alone come to terms with. There is a squealing, frantic quality to the sound that during its earlier stages reminded me a little of some of John Zorn’s more brutal outings. It sure as shit ain’t the Dead C. It has a bit of the lo-fi about it, it’s not exactly drone but it is not noise as many of us understand it. It has its charms (especially the last seven minutes) but I didn’t a great deal of pleasure from it. And goddamn it, if there is no pleasure in noise then what is the fucking point. I felt the same way about Russell’s work in A Handful of Dust. I just didn’t get it. I am obviously the wrong audience.
The flip side by Roy Montgomery is a very different sound altogether. This is pure chiming guitar drone pleasure. Emotional melodies float over the top to create quasi folk-like psychedelia. It is absolutely gorgeous – an avant garde take on emotion and bliss. Pure pleasure.
I am keen to read other reviews of Bruce Russell’s track. I may be missing something. I’m just not sure what it is.