Thursday, March 23, 2006


Vibracathedral Orchestra: "Smash! Smash! Smash!"

Three live gigs at three dif. locations in Leeds/Newcastle. 2004: yeah, ages old, I know...but forgive me, for I live in a troubled town in Somerset w/out access to electricity or style-mags. We are forced to grow our own food; our children wear rags and are stunted by think I have time to keep up w/ what's hip and what ain't? An' if I did, d'you think I'd give a shit, anyway?

No. Well, then...

Hand-painted cover, natch. Heh: your loss, mp3-kids.

ONE: Dense, smokey pulses of sound overlap and congeal...treated glissando gtr makes a sound like a saaaaad dog 'crying'...twirling birdchatter synthsound twitters and spins w/in its narrow frequency orbit as a drummerless garage-band train, a Mo-less Syster Ray, picks up speed and prepares for d/parture...distant b/tween-station radio-noises skratch and claw at the inside of my skull like a playful cat, leaving the bone red w/ an internal neural itch I'll never be able to skratch...wwwwwhrrrling centrifugally-flattened flange-drone catches the sunlight as it rotates above a percussive forrestscape: in the tree-village, monkey-shamens sniff cry-dust and call out to The Color-Gods of The Outer Rotissery in coded gnostic-gibberings, as vast irridescent canary-yellow molecule-shapes emerge from the clouds a/bove. "The Godddddds are commmmming!"

Although internal tension constantly threatens to tear it apart, VO's music heroically resists the temptation to resolve itself using traditional means; you can almost feel it changing shape/speed/size, looking for new corners to squeeze into, new spaces to occupy. To call this music Drone-Rock does it an clips its wings; downsizes it into the realm of the ordinary, the banal. The word "Drone" is onomataopoeic; it seems to imply the hum-drum, the boring: I'm almost loathe to use it as it seems to exclude the ecstatic.

TWO: Sunburned Phil's open-mike bonhomie drifts off/nods off on a gently tumbling river of chimes...a Philip Glass composition warped out of shape by mescaline, or Fripp & Eno played by a Nuggets Era garage-band...the sound slowly opens up as it approaches the sea, increasingly tossed and rocked by jagged waves of freeform skronk...above, an unnatural light dazzles us like the paint from a Turner sky: smears of unlikely colour roughly placed in the air above us by giant thumbs, layers of raw colour in place of, the waves of sound push at us from different directions, so that we bob and bounce within the music like buoys adrift in a silver'd sea of liquid mercury...somehow, we're suddenly back on land again (how did that happen?), on a train or on a wagon, half-way up a mountain in Nepal; the sun glinting through the haze, coloured smoke rising up through the trees from a nearby village; sinister-looking birds circle overhead...below, a mottled canopy of emerald green...above us, a city carved from a strange dark yellow stone shimmers in the's no longer possible to tell whether we're awake or not.

If you're not already alive, then this music won't change your life. But it will just confirm a lot of the things that you always suspected. Wasn't it nice to have been right all along, though? But if you think this is just hippy bollocks, then I'm not going to convince you otherwise. Just carry on buying things to cheer yourself up, or whatever it is you normally do. It wasn't that important, anyway. Sometimes I listen to this CDr and it sounds fantastic. Sometimes I listen to this CDr and it doesn't sound quite as good. There's nothing unusual about that; it's to be don't worry about it, okay?

THREE: Something unsettling in the air tonight and the presence of Matthew Bower isn't helping first, a strange unease settles over the proceedings...everone's restless: random clanks and cymbal rattles interrupt a cycling tonal loop that vibrates at high-speed like a guitar-bee simulation...the sound slowly forming itself into a unfathomable shape that I can't quite make out. Circa '66 Cale-esque organ-pulses & swirls emerge from its centre, superheating the music into an agitated entropic soup that takes a few minutes to cool down into something that doesn't burn yr tongue...slooooowly, a fuzzy raga-riff reverse-engineers itself up out of the plughole, followed by tabla-like percussion, bass gtr plucks and, oh lordy, some drums...

At the end, people whoop and cheer, then they leave and go home. They had a great time, and so did I.