Matthew 28:17 was the August release in Jazkamer’s fantastic monthly series of 2010. What sets this one apart from others (in addition to the awesome cover art by Government Alpha) in the series is the massive dose of drama that makes it one of the best releases in Jazkamer’s entire catalogue. Here we find Jazkamer up to all sorts of noisy goodness. The epic drugged-out guitar of the first track, Psychedelic Buzz Aldrin and Pragmatic Albert Hoffman, is locked behind an impenetrable wall of fuzz and drone. The walls of noise become sentient, surging masses in Cosmic Cookies which envelop and almost strangle that same retro psychedelic guitar in a winner-takes-all death roll. There is an over riding “space” influence on Matthew 28:17 but their is no sign of the celestial bliss that might accompany such a theme. I own a lot of Jazkamer records and I can’t recall ever hearing them embrace psychedelic noise in such an overt way. In fact it is a very good starting point if you’ve ever wanted to dabble in the vast Jazkamer world.
Archive for the Lasse Marhaug Category
Lasse told me that he made the Quiet North to make a better version of what he thought The Great Silence was lacking. On the face of it, this is a half hour long, dirty slab of layered, extreme distortion. I’ve got loads of this on my ipod so why does this work for me in a way that no other noise record has for a while? There is this undulating texture within the distortion itself which is really hard to explain. So on a break from contemplating The Quiet North I read an interview with jazz drummer Andrew Cyrille in which he says “ You can look at the water flowing and it doesn’t have any division but it’s rhythm ….Rhythm is just nothing but motion and movement.”
What on the face of it seems a bit simplistic takes on a very different context when you hold it up to a pure noise record like this one. You see despite all of the brain scrubbing ferocity, there is a type of rhythm in the pulsating distortion of The Quiet North. It may not be apparent from your first listen but I guarantee you it’s there. So if a type of rhythm defines what we call music, is The Quiet North music? I’m not going that far but it may in the scheme of things this may be as important a noise record as you are likely to find. If there was any justice this will feature in many best of 2010 lists.
Jazkamer is doing a CD a month. I now wish I’d signed up for a subscription but after Merzbow’s effort in 2009 I was feeling a bit burnt. The thing about Jazkamer’s series that makes it much more interesting that Merzbow’s, is that each record is exploring a different Jazkamer style. And that is essentially why I am such a big Jazkamer fan – every record is something new and if you listen to one of their early records like Pancakes and compare it to Metal Music Machine you’ll think that they were made by two very different bands indeed. Self-Portrait is the bands first “acoustic record” and I really wanted to hear what their interpretation of acoustic is so this is the reason I started with Self-Portrait from their current series. Half the fun is trying out what the band are using to make the racket on this record. And I do mean racket…. and clatter. This is like a minimalist bi-polar Vibracathedral Orchestra. One minute where all energetic and improving the fuck out of it, the next thing they’re sulking in the corner dragging a chair. When I first listened to Self-Portrait I was a bit underwhelmed but in the past couple of months I’ve started to really enjoy it. I reckon that this is a pretty interesting variant on experimental sound or a more organic, less brutal noise. If you’re a bit nerdy about your noise (and I am) this will be right up your alley.
This is an absolute cracker. A 3inch mini CD released on the always excellent OHM records in Norway. Today I drove the kid into the city and we listened to this on the way. After two minutes and no sign of disapproval from the back seat I asked him whether he liked it and he gave me the thumbs up. As a large wave of high end distortion started I asked him what it sounded like. “That”, he started “That is fire and that is a huge monster roaring and now he is walking.” When the sound of water started after about seven minutes he said ” that is the sea where the dinosaurs go.’ So after listening to this 20+ minute extreme drone, harsh noise/field recording opus the kid is all smiles although he thought it was a bit scary in the second half. I can’t get him to listen to Sonic Youth but this he loves. It’s been an odd day.
I have a stressful job. The things I see on a day to day basis are disturbing and sometimes pretty traumatic. Sleep has been pretty variable for the last couple of years as things I encounter during the day sometimes revisit me at night. In the last year I’ve found walking home from work pretty helpful. Something to do with serotonin levels or something. During those walks I find that some albums have an almost therapeutic effect. In the past I’ve mainly listened to Merzbow although in the last couple of months Daniel Menche and Kevin Drumm’s Gauntlet has been working a trick. I find extreme noise soothing. It cuts me off from the traffic noise and outside world and almost scrubs clean the pile of crap that sits in my head so by the time I get home I’m ready to re-engage with the world.
Maybe this is why the title of The Great Silence makes perfect sense to me. On an objective letter the title is nonsense because The Great Silence contains some of most brutal and primitive noise I’ve ever heard. Walls of static and distorted electronic abuse which doesn’t let up. This is pure white-hot noise and an album I’ve enjoyed for the past couple of weeks. For a comparison there are some similarities with Merzbow’s work from the early to mid-1990’s yet my interaction with this record had me thinking whether records like The Great Silence are an ultimate, extreme version of drone. The noise doesn’t change much over the three lengthy tracks. There are no Merzbow “rate of change” comparisons here. Maybe what Marhaug does here is a form of power ambience. This is the first Marhaug solo record I’ve heard. I’m not sure whether it is reflective of his other stuff but as a stand alone record for someone looking for a noise record at the more relentless end of the scale then The Great Silence is one to track down.