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Sunday, December 24, 2006

CASSETTE CULTURE #7: VODKA SOAP

Quite possibly one of the scariest things I've heard in a long time; principally, because I don't understand what it is or what it is for.




And I just looove that feeling of not knowing; of stretching my ears/mind/whatever and trying to come up w/ some sort or origin or purpose or mission-statement; ah, but fuck it; who cares...sometimes, things just...are.

Anyway, this eschews the usual post-industrial horrow-show scare-tactics for some sort of overloaded vocal/electronics ritualistic headspace or something...everything bleeds into everything else, so it becomes almost inpossible to determine what's what, not that there's any info or nuffink. Is that a voice, or electronic hum n mulch or both or neither or what...sometimes it roars; sometimes it rasps like a old sore throat; there're vague rumbles low in the mix, like drums being scraped, something being rolled around in the basement...tapes stop n start; change speed; drop out... this indescernible vagueness, the seeming originlessness (and apparent motiveness) of the music is what makes it so unnerving...why would anyone want to make music like this and why would anyone ever want to hear it: these are the sort of questions that make this tape sooo fucking thrilling to me right now...this is fucking fresh: like hearing "Slugbait" by TG nearly 30 years ago...I listened to this in the dark during a small hours fever a few days ago and it put the Bejesus up me; listening to it now while I'm typing this and it still sounds infathomably off...like the cover of the tape, the music has a xerox'd feel; a (non-digital) graininess...as if constant replication has somehow corrupted it: this is one of the first pieces of truly viral music that I have ever heard...I get an acute sense that it has actually been altered, that it has evolved in someway, by the copying process...I'm trying to imagine some earlier ancestral form of this music: what did it sound like...where the fuck did it come from....?

Actually, to be honest, I have some inkling of its provenence...the cassette is a side-project by, I think, Spencer of The Skaters wh/ I bought off the band at Minehead. I liked the look of the smeary photocopied cover: is that a weird-looking box-head creature in there somewhere, looking like an-acid-drenched version of the Turin Shroud...and something there that looks like writing, but isn't? Holy fucking HP Lovecraft! It caught my eye and one of the band explained it was by Vodka Soap...the only info was someone had scrawled "Shadow-watcher Levitations" on the tape. If it was by someone called Vodka Soap, then I immediately knew I had to have it.

I think this cassette was recorded using a modified karaoke-machine bought at Wal-Mart...but it sounds like it was made in, I dunno, some sort of fucked-up underground temple. In fact, this reminds me in some strange way of the field recordings of Angus Maclise... but this is like an anti-matter version: magnetic-fields inverting and collapsing in on themsleves...strange, self-harmonising frequencies that are the aural equivalent of trepanning...

If it's ritualistic music, then what is that ritual for? What God(s) are we summoning here, or are we making our own? Opening doors using noisechants; opaque sub-lingual vowel-sequences designed to switch on dormant DNA strands; forgotten prehistory genomes that code for lost senses and spectral intuitions...new/old ways of thinking, seeing, being...

Rather wonderfully, the other side of the casette appears to be compilation of contempo Thai Rock and Pop. Trust me, it doesn't get much better than this.

Bring it, on you glorious fuckers! Bring it all on!