Keywords: Abstract, Avantgarde, Experimental, Art Rock
Reviewer: Alex Spalding
… fucking T&C Surf Designs. And now I discover this was a real thing or something? Wow.
Anyway, to make a long story short… or, that is, a story that could easily be drawn out into one that is long but may rather instead be edited to effectively keep it readable while simultaneously entertaining… what’s the fun of that? If I may digress, I probably will. Finding a beginning is what matters now. I suppose the beginning to this story is that I released a short but interesting piece of music from group Biom-Use some time ago, July of 2007 to be precise. Of the many things to occur that same year, I also fell prey to a terrible condition of excruciating pain. My “wisdom” teeth had started to come in, in either late Autumn or early Winter if my memory isn’t complete shit. In coming through the sides of my gums they had become highly infected. Here I will do some editing, but only to fast-forward to when I was actually able to do anything about it. After a surgery that involved being put under (one of two times in my life that I’ve experienced a sensation pretty close to time travel) I was released and given a prescription for very high milligram dosages of some kind of opiate-based painkiller, probably a codone. I was asleep for a period of about four days though, laying in a bed and having very strange dreams. I do not recall most of them now, only one that was about some kind of “living sofa”, but a lot of them had a decidedly “biomechanical”, Giger-esque feel, with a heavy slant on organic experimentation, gene manipulation, body modification, evolutionary tweaking, etc. I’d always had an interest in things of that nature, but upon coming to reality again after such a long period of isolation and sleep it was as if I had achieved some kind of euphoric state of enlightenment. I was strung out, the receiver of a vision for which I had to dedicate myself to realizing, my head a flurry of ideas and images. I paced around alone, turned on the television just to have some background sound while I plotted ideas for art, concepts. One of the sequels to Hellraiser was on, which just added to the flood of inspiration I was caught up in. Of primary obsession was an idea I’d had for doing a DVD-R release compiling all of the Noise-Joy Compilations complete with “living” menus, pseudo-organic visual accompaniments to the music, plenty of metabolic / sound imagery, hidden films embedded into the discs, just making the whole thing really weird and high-concept. Partially, it’s still an idea that I like, but I’ve never had the funding available to me for doing something of that nature. In line with this strange new vision I’d had for the Noise-Joy label was an idea for slimming things down to maybe a large handful of artists who I felt could be open to or were already working in a similar vein that I could focus on producing material arts for. These were groups like Super Scientists and Biom-Use, among others. Actually, it was quite a long list aside from those two! But… yeah. Just some anecdotal weirdness of little relevance to a review for their very small release on Noise-Joy.
Of significantly more relevance was their film contribution to the label, which I no longer have in my possession but can be seen at the Biomuse official website by following the link to the Visuals part of the site. It was titled ‘Intentionally Coincidental’ and had a Noise-Joy soundtrack. They were very nice putting that whole thing together! Actually, their whole site is worth exploring a bit. My personal favourite of the new works they’ve got up for listen is ‘Hurra, Hurrey!’, but I feel at this time I should move on to reviewing the actual album before us… their self-titled work Biom-Use!
The first track is ‘Dropsy’, which begins with what sounds like a sample stretched to almost beyond infinity so that it has become some kind of granulated pitch-shifting drone. Vocals come in, putting us in a state of unease. The whole thing feels queasy, like a carousel ride that has become tiring after several minutes of riding. A highly abstract drum beat, modified to sound abrupt and disjointed comes in, slamming itself against everything in the mix like a man in a straight-jacket bouncing off the walls of his padded room. Screaming bursts of noise, glass timbres like chimes, the revving of a synthetic motor, dark wah-pedal drones. In a nutshell, it is a beautiful chaos.
‘Stir Fried Chicory’ is the next, and last track on the album, and incorrectly titled ‘Stir Friend Chicory’ at time of writing which I attempted to modify when I realized (hopefully the change will show soon!). Twisted, chaotic clips of a drum beat and what might be cartoon sound effects on the fritz come in, blasting off all over the place. Some vocal samples, equally ultra-modified and bizarrely chopped up come in as well. It’s hard to find the words for something this wild! Vibes and bass guitar start up suddenly and it’s like we’re listening to jazz for a moment. Then we’re back to the bizarreitude of the mangled drums and vocals again.
This is something you will have to hear to understand, and understanding is the key to believing what I’ve said… this is a really amazing sonic session, and something I would say practically defines the term ‘weird’ in an age in which we’ve become accustomed to having heard just about everything. Get it at the link below!