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Wednesday, May 25, 2005

MUNUAISSYMPOSIUM 1960

Almost a shame to break up the semi-aquatic theme I've had going over the last few posts, but if it's wednesday it must be Finland.

This is a lovely little 7" single split between MUNUAISSYMPOSIUM 1960 and MANIACS DREAM:


Dig the fucked-up Post-Swell Maps/"Zip Nolan Highway Patrolman" vibe they've got going here with the graphics. This cover takes Lo-Fi Art-Brut visuals to a new and comically disturbing level. Can you smell the lack of ambition, Mark? I hope so. Still, I'd say this was astonishingly ambitious in its lack of ambition: it knows it's place, and it's place is somewhere Outside; a broken down little shack on the edge of town with Schizophrenic Art murials and leaky plumbing. This is a record that looks like it sounds: it's scary and funny in equal measures.

MUNUAISSYMPOSIUM 1960 weigh in with a non-linear collage of sorts that starts with a pagan liposuction ceremony that turns into a shouting-match between some upset mentally-disadvantaged Scandanavian kids. It sounds like the soundtrack to a lost Dogme 95 film set in an asylum in Oslo. Someone blows a vacuum-cleaner, as in: gives it a blow-job. This is followed by a version of the theme from "Captain Pugwash", but recorded by John Cale sometime around 1966. A wobble-board fights it out with some hideously-distorted vinyl manipulation of a choir. The wobble-board loses.

MANIACS DREAM are slightly more conventional, but not really. They play a series of short electric 'Rock' jams that sound like a soundtrack to teenage solvent abuse. When I say 'Rock' I mean they sound like the demo version of, I think, "Dark Entries" that Bauhaus snuck on the out-groove of the twelve of "Bela lugosi's Dead", crossed with a really badly recorded Sonic Youth bootleg. And I'm not making a virtue of the recording quality just for the sake of it...by removing frequencies and muddying the sound, the listener's attention is diverted and refocused on other elements in the track. This inversion of conventional Western Rock mixing and production techniques forces the listener to engage the music in a new way. You suddenly notice quiet stuff in the background; there are sudden, unexpected collisions of sound as the musicans go in and out of sync with each other; weird phantom harmonics are created from the fluttering top-end distortion; you strain to hear muffled, dull sounds half-lost in the mix...and listening becomes an exciting pro-active process once again because you are forced to meet the music half-way. It requires an effort on our part...

Here, two or more drummers slog it out as quicksand slowly envelops their kits. One of the guitars is played so fast it sounds like the guitarist is having a fit. Two or three other electric guitars (it's hard to tell how many) stutter and jerk: this is the sound of convulsive comedown jitters, eerie and spider-like; an essay in hi-end treble...one of the guitarists slowly and carefully plays the same note over and over again, as if his life depended on it...he anchors the piece, becomes its centre, while the rest of the group scuttle and spin around him, creating a brittle vortex.

Forget the Folk tag, this sounds more like the forgotten bastard son of NY No Wave: hopped-up and twitchy; unselfconscious and eager to irritate...

Finland is preparing for Take-Off/Forget everything you thought you knew:

THERE. ARE. NO. RULES. ANYMORE.

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