Thanks again to Jonathan Galkin
for the recent DFA Red Cross Kulchur Parcel wot he sent me.
Jonathan Galkin isn't a household name, but if there was any justice he would be. Day in, day out, Jon's there at the front-line, squatting in the trenches, a grenade between his teeth, holding down the fort at DFA Record's
Secret Art-Deco Bubble-Dome Underwater HQ a quarter of a mile down beneath the East River...getting that righteously fucked-up avant-garde dance shit into a million new homes every single day and dredgin' the skuddy sewers of NY for noo talent while Tim and James dick around in the studio.
Jon, we salute you!
Meanwhile, first out the bag is this gorjussss
little twelve: the ZZ POT
remix of Black Dice's
awwwwsome "Smiling Off
"...9 delicious flavours to chose from:
My note-book sez:Algorhythm-burstin' smussh-beats & cloddish, lumbering elephantine fog-horn bass terrorises the neighbourhoor, while gibbering marmosets flee from death-rays and the kalidioscopic drill-swirl of sped-up sine-waves......Aqueous frequencies erupt as bubbling liquid radio-static is squirted across the surface of moist rubber drumware......a factory gets up and walks off on hydraulic girder-legs. Ghostly Bolshevik work-songs echo from w/in......a ping-pong rhythm with one leg shorter than the other limps across the car-park while robotic gibbons shout abuse from the surrounding office-blocks.....a w-woodpecker?.....Digital tarzan-calls.....a malfunctioning Martian saucer spins and wobbles from one side of the sky and back again, like an out-take from an Ed Wood film. Something suddenly dematerialises, leaving a greenish aura of crackling ions, and we become scared.....distant air-raid sirens sound in the night and a snatch of something vaguely recognisable as Black Dice is played as we stumble down a suburban garden path in the dark, searching for the bomb-shelter...
ZZ POT make itchy/scratchy music; abrassive, roughly-hewn from rogue voltages... their flat-mashed, saw-toothed drums and wire-wool rhythms make him/them the ideal remix tag-team for Black Dice
. Or, as Jon Galkin so beautifully puts it: "Total headfuck, eh?"
There's even an unconfirmed rumour going round Yeovil that ZZ POT
might even be one half of psychedelic woollen gimpsuit-wearing electronic guerilla-artist du/o (sometime quartet) Forcefield.
Surely that can't be right? Can it?
The Forcefield LP "Lord of the Rings Modulator
" has an Old-Skool Pre-Industrial feel, but it doesn't quite fit into any of the neat catagories us Old Farts like to trot out from time to time. These are harsh, waveform-driven tonescapes; big on old-fashioned oscillators, ring-modulators and home-made/jury-rigged distort-o-boxes and filters...the music is often open and spacious, but far more full-bodied and varied than, say, Pan Sonic...it can be raucous and unrelenting at points, yet it lacks the willful malignancy and viral inner-narrative of TG. Instead, there's a certain playfulness about these tracks: buildings collapse; steam-pipes rupture; machines throb and clatter and spit hot, venomous oil, and pneumatic-drills spin out of control disembowelling their operators, but there's something good-natured about it all
...their music has a wistfulness, a philosophical shrug of the shoulders
that belies the visceral-sounding, man-(and machine-)made carnage that can suddenly erupt, unexpectedly, from out of the speakers.
No drum-boxes here, but proto-riddims are sometimes scraped or tapped-out on the nearest available surface then fed through an array of foot-pedals and mangle-racks built from a nest of capacitors sourced from Radio Shack for $7.99.
An ancient steam locomotive suddenly accelerates to 900mph...a passage from Tolkien is read thru a home-made vocoder...something that sounds like old BBC Sound-FX records are played at the wrong speed thru a PA stack...distant childhood memories of "Forbidden Planet" are invoked: enormous glowing columns of light penetrate deep into a planetary core, drawing raw plasma up to the surface as the ghost of Delia Derbyshire slugs it out w/ Louis & Bebe Barron...
Forcefield were (mainly) Meerk Puffy
and Pattotie Lobe
, but not always.
The knitting/woollen-suit thing initially came from Forcefield's use and love of afghans but was then developed further by Jim Drain
(aka Gorgon Radeo
) and Elyse Allen
(aka Le Geef
). There's some of their wonderous/astonishing/fabulous psychedelic wool-gear here
Things get kinda complicated at this point...so let's go back in time to Providence, Rhode Island, 1995. Fort Thunder
was an enormous post-industrial/warehouse living/performance space located in the Olneyville neighborhood of Providence that was originally colonised by a cluster of weirdo artist-types such as Mat Brinkman
, Brian Chippendale
, Rob Coggeshal
and Freddy Jones
. Then a whole bunch of other musicians, artists and cartoonists, including Andy Estep
, Brian Ralph
, Jim Drain
and Paul Lyons
migrated there and Fort Thunder pencilled and inked and sculpted its way into some sort of parallel-universe Modern Art Mythology. Eventually, the authorities had enough of it all and this anarchist rabble were finally evicted
so that the site could be bulldozed and used to build a supermarket...
I mean, what were these people thinking of?
Living, working and playing together harmoniously outside of mainstream society. Whatever next?
And if Brian Chippendale's name seems familiar to some of you hippy scum-fucks out there, it's because he drums (and sings) in Lightning Bolt
Still, filter thru all this contempo cultural ooze and one name keeps bubbling to the surface w/ alarming regularity: Mat Brinkman
. This name is regularly mumbled or whispered by my underworld snitches, often in hushed awe or fear, but no one seems to be able to get a direct bead on the guy. He’s one half of drums-and-damaged-electronics duo Mindflayer
with Brian Chippendale
, and his name keeps floating like a helium-filled, pumpkin-headed balloon around the edge of that spooky Art-Glam post-Residentsian Meerk Puffy
Mythos. But is he actually Meerk, or the enigmatic ZZ Pot…well, no one will actually come out and say fer sure. I mean, c'mon you pussies, how scary can this guy actually be?
So, anyway, I keep on sniffing and snooping, inna Scooby-Doo pesky-kids stylee, round the periphery of the Psychedelic Knitting
and, er, Masked Electronic-Noise-Metal
sub-scenes until I eventually make a weird, tangential contact w/ the mysterious Mr. Brinkman hizself. Brinkman’s current abode is rumoured to be some sort of monstrous, multi-tiered Art-Cave
hidden in a hollowed-out mesa in Colorado: an enormous semi-sentient biological collage that actually includes people
as part of its found source-material. Or maybe I imagined all that.
Our conversation went a little like this:Hi there. Whereabouts are you based these days?MB:
Whereabouts I'm based is trying to get over-run with yuppies! Like always.Tell me a lttle bit about ZZ Pot, if you can...What's his basic philosophy/approach to life and making/generating music, as opposed to Meerk Puffy....?MB:
I think ZZ Pot started as some sort of loop fetish... an addiction to loop-based music and weed, basically. Also, I think the first remixes were of ZZ Top, and trying spoof off of Loop Guru (not the band): ACid/DC.
Meerk Puffy is not here to comment.
Me, I just helped with the refeeding of the loops, as I have distortion and other things (that are) sort of synthesizers. I worked with the ZZ Pot guy on that remix, but only on the production. But, generally, I think music is good, so I'm trying get some stuff out there in the future with releases of otherwise hard-to-find stuff...How did you link up w/ DFA and Black Dice? Wasn't there some connection between you and Gavin Russom too?MB:
There's no linkage to DFA really...but I've known The Black Dice a long time and we've played shows together. Gavin Russom played at Fort Thunder a couple of times.Swan Point Cemetery (current home of H.P. Lovecraft) is in good ol' Providence, RI...ever hang-out there w/ HPL?MB:
I like "Dreamquest of Unknown Kadath" by Lovecraft, but I've never hung out with his grave...it's kinda hard to read gravestones at night.Any forthcoming projects/gigs/CDs/DVDs/art-exhibitions that people need to be alerted about? And, dammit, where can we get some Mat Brinkman comix?MB:
Well, I don't really have any where to point people, no real web site or place to order shit.. one day hopefully...but I have new cdrs coming out regularly, sort of, lots of new stuff, plus releasing other peoples' cds and ep-cds soon, very soon. All can be ordered thru the mail, so if people wanna email Paper Rodeo
maybe...try "paperrodeo at muchomail dot com" (change 'at' to @, 'dot' to '.' and remove spaces...).
One day soon, a website (Yea, rite!)...there is also Animal Disguise
recordings...no comics really, other than Teratoid Heights
( and even I dont know where to get it!) and Paper Rodeo...oh, and might be on tour with some movies, in the winter (over there), who knows...Cheers and thanks for yr time, Mat. Meanwhileeeeee....
There's some ZZ Pot
And this is a cool blog
w/ some mp3s of Mindflayer, Forcefield and Wolf Eyes. And there's some more photos of Forcefield here
But, c'mon, you dozy oafs...don't just go and download stuff. Check it out and if you like it, then go and buy some of this shit (it's great!)...buy it direct off the artists or from local labels, if y'can, and put yr cash direct into the artists' pockets so they can eat and make even more cool stuff. C'mon, these people are bloodying their fingernails
, especially for you. So show some respect. Plus you end up w/ a fabulous, rare artifact that you can treasure forever and use as an shamanistic spell-object or to goad your envious, wanky mates up the pub. Help the nu underground spread like an evil art-virus round the world and back...
Shirt, over'n out.