KID SHIRT

Saturday, November 25, 2006

BARBARIANS

Ah, now this is more like it...people hitting things and making a fucking racket:




Gart, Toz & Billy aka Barbarians. Video by Mary Beth.

CASSETTE CULTURE #6: SERFS

Been feeling pretty shit the last few days, so rising like an, er, ashen-coloured phoenix from the, uh, ashes of my sweat-stained sick-bed to type some words....see, I can't stop writing about music; it's like a fucking obsession or something...

Well, my email in-box is filling up with petulant demands from hot n heady Italian, Brazilian and east European psych-chix, restless for more info on the Belgian Sub-Underground: the blurred scans of henna-painted mamms and badddd gothique poetry scrawled on inner thighs are threatening to outnumber the viagra spam...well, how could I say no, eh? So, Alessandra, Michele, Favia, Zola, Teresa, Ligny and the lovely Wanda from Balvi in Latvia: this is for you (then I'm back off to bed!)...

Really great to hook up with fellow blogger (and Ice Bird Spiral co-conspirator) Cloudboy at The Cube, Bristol, earlier in the week, prior to my fall from viral grace. He describes the evening far more eloquently that I ever could, plus: loads of really great photos! We were sat right down the front, in the pole position, just a few feet from the action...

I had a few Library Moments during the set by Serfs. A Library Moment is defined in my own personal mythology as a moment when: a certain ratio of Silence Vs. High-End Frequencies conspire to move ripples of goosebumps up and down my body: I used to get this in libraries a lot, where the mix of deep hush w/ rustling paper, scratching biros, etc used to send me off into a deep meditational state. These days, libraries are full of rude, noisey arseholes who don't seem to realise you're there to read/work/dream. And that's just the staff.

Serfs played two sets of electric guitar noise off against each other; waves and ripples of found frequencies spun and glided and tightened and unfurled again, around and over and beyond one another...it was the most fabulously relaxing thing I've heard in ages and I felt my entire body uncoil (24 hours later I fell ill, as viral particles slid out from cellular interspace and my sluggish immune system declared war), despite the fact that there were some, well, almost punishing frequencies on display at points...a couple times, my hair almost stood on end as sine-wave micro-razors of sound sliced down through layers of tissue I didn't even realise I had (this is the opposite of Dubstep, where you're enveloped within the bass; here, cross-sections of gtr-noise slide down thru the sound spectrum hitting the resonant frequencies of different organs, tissues, parts of the brain, etc, so that it feels like the sound is zig-zagging its way through your innards, triggering forgotten brain functions, etc)...but the two guys played round each other beautifully, in and out of each other's sounds; this wasn't an exercise in geetar thuggery and they weren't frightened to let things dissolve down into near silence, so that my Library Moments were populated by an almost Cagean cast of audience cough, creaking floorboards and duffel-coat rustle: I love it when music takes you inwards, but, in parallel, opens up the outside world and makes it part of its own soundtrack. Like all good music, this kinda stuff requires a leap of faith on the part of the listener; the act of concentrated, concerted listening seems to almost will the performers on towards success; it's like you're psychikly prodding them towards the place where your body or mind want them to go...this happens quite a bit, I find, w/ Turntablism, Free, Improv, Julian Cope gigs (anything where outrageous skill and outlandish luck conspire to create something so improbable that it's almost hyperthetical...): the listener becomes a disembodied band-member whose own will-power seems to help shift probabilities in the performer's favour...

Well, anyway, for a half-hour or so, Serfs were sublime (and I hadn't even been drinking!), tho I suspect some Kid Shirt readers would consider them just a couple of blokes dicking around on guitars.

Given my current cassette fetishisation, it's no surprise I scored this casette on Hearing Aid, split between Serfs and The Whole Voyald...love the hand-stitched cassette-pouch!



(Also scored a cool-looking Serfs CD-r, but haven't had a chance to check yet)

The Whole Voyald side contains a slooow guitar duel that shares some sonic similarities w/ Serfs' live set, so it wouldn't surprise me if it turned out that they also shared some (if not all) band members...I'm sure someone'll email and tell me if that's true or not. The Serfs' side is accoustic and was such a unexpected, lo-key surprise...I was playing this in bed earlier and I thought it was totally great...it won't change yr life or niffink, but it'll enhance it nicely: it starts w/ lots of skritchy-skratchy sounds, and I think someone's playing an accoustic w/ a violin-bow, tho it sounds like some hi-end feedback drifting around in the background there...I love stuff w/ clicks and clunks and randommm noise moving round in the background; it gives me a gleeful sense of physicality, no matter how spaced-out the music is. At points the bowed gtr (or whatever it is) sounds like an elderly sax that's run out of puff...so when the guys start picking at their guitars, it sounds almost blissful...just for a second there's an accidental moment that sounds like a backyard Psych-folk version of Fripp n Eno's "Evening Star". There's a little bit of tape stretch or wobble on my own copy; it might be my decade-old cheapo Walkman clone is knackered, or maybe the batteryss are rrrrunnninggg downnnn, but I don't mind; along w/ the hiss, it adds rather than subtracts, like crackle on an old vinyl...it adds a sense of time passing, of moments moving...

I'm listening to this now and it's starting to give me a Library Moment. Have one yrself: recommended.

Okay, girls: starting to feel shit again, so back to bed for me (Wow, was that a massed "Awwwwwww..." I heard coming from the region of the Italian Lakes...just keep those scanned wobbly-bits coming)...I shall rise again, soon, after lunch probably, like a teenage Nosferatu to write about some more triffling szik-e-dellik piffle. Could be something on Matt and Erika, or maybe...nah, that'll be telling.