SILVESTER ANFANG 2/BURIAL HEX
So great to catch up w/ Helvette and Edgar (who played Yeovil last year in a duo configuration as Geitevuyst (or “Goatfist”) duo) on thurs nite as part of the greater Silvester Anfang II/Funeral Folk collectiv. Apparently, the guys were a bit, er, tour-lagged after too much partying and not enuff sleep at Pieter’s in Northampton the night before. And the London show apparently turned into a total a rum-bath after they partook too much of the Evil Rum. So, sounds like the tour’s been going just fine lol! By the time I post this they’ll be hacking into their final show before finally staggering back to Flanders w/ their Psych Party Cred fully intact.
Which reminds me: I never got round to posting any footage of Geitevuyst's set in my tiny, microscopic hometown of Yeovil from last year - this was, in part, due to me not having any s/ware to rip the video footage to an .avi file. That's no longer the case, so I shall try to remedy this...soooo, cover yr eyes and hang onto yr arse as we temporially rewiiiiiiiiiinnn-nnnd back in time to last summer to the (now sadly closed) Yeovil Snooker Club:
("Trial Version" lol!) Apologies for that, but it's one of those freeware deals - I'll re-rip it properly when I've got a spare moment! The band played in total darkness, lit only by the lights on their FX-pedals, wh/ made it even more majikal. But I did catch them with the camera (looks like we still had some smoke going even tho the lights were out lol:
Boy, that was a great night, fer sure.
Meanwhile, thru the magic of (not Television, but the Interweb) we can roooooll back into The Present (well, it's The Past now, actually):
Forest Creatures are a duo from (I think) Sheffield Steel City who used malfunctioning analogue synths, kid’s karaoke cassette-decks and a car-boot sale’s worth o’ fx-pedals and minisamplers to create a wonkily fractured spazznoizescape that pingponged back n forth across their tiny shared workbench like a malignant game of table-tennis or the alternative soundtrack to "The Legend of Samhain." I particularly dug the way the micro-harmonix piled up on top of each other to create implied melodies and tiny sub-atomic rhythms that soon had me dancing a strange twitching shimmy. There’s no overt beats in this type of music, but I still find it hard to keep my feet still.
No Ben Nash, who’d apparently got caught in some internal “might play”/”might not play” brain-loop, before finally settling on the later.
Next up wuz the uber-mighty Burial Hex, the filthy musical brainspawn of Clay Ruby, a man much revered (nay! worshipped by sinister-looking black-robed figures holding candles and chanting) in the hallowed cobweb and flyspit-speckled corners of 1973 (aka my garage). Clay ‘played’ a battered old suitcase full of handmade bargain-bin electronics, mics and what appeared to be some sort of metal-rod – maybe, I dunno, a sliding potentiometer of some sort, tho I probably just made that up.
(B-B-B-Burial Hex de-context-materialising back thru The Fourth Lesion)
His set started as a creepily malign soundtrack to some sort of alien vivisection ritual: crackling frequencies and fibrous sub-drones veiled in a shroud of digital static. It was grimey and grim as fuck and speckled in flecks of black musical snot, but what was remarkable was the mood his music created: as the music sloooowly slid its way uphill it felt like the ominous precursor to some unspeakable act…I’m more familiar with Clay’s murky tribal take on Psych-Folk (for lack of a better term) as part of the Davenport/Davenport Family axis, but it was pretty evident from this that the guy’s a master at evoking an atmosphere of serious unease with pretty much any musical tools that might be at hand.
The music gradually built up in volume and momentum, with frequencies piling up on top of each other – and not just a random car-crash of noissse, but sound accreting in discrete layers and latticewerks that shifted and overlaid each other like an evil version of a Len Lyle film as they narrowed their eyes and looked around the room, alert for new menacing possibilities. Occasionally, the jam would implode into smears of distortion or PA overload, but generally it was remarkably clear (props to the sound-man!) and cunningly structured for what was basically an improvised Free Noise work-out. At points, Clay would strike the side of his suitcase and create a cavernous explosion of subterranean reverb that was even bigger than a Kode9 bass-drop. Anyway, masterly stuff...I've been waiting ages to check him (this was his first UK tour, I believe) and I really wasn't disappointed!
I know from talking to the Funeral Folk bred'ren before that Clay Ruby has long since been a major inspiration and a touchstone for them, and it was obvious that the guys were well chuffed to be touring w/ Clay, who had provided much spiritual support for them in the past. It's such a great feeling when you end up playing with someone who was originally part of the reason that you started (or continued) doing music yrself.
The latest Mk II incarnation of Silvester Anfang includes Ernesto from the excellent Eat The Sun/Bare Bones Lay Low label/project...I've corresponded w/ E off n on for a while, but this is the first time we've actually met, but he was kind of exactly like I imagined, w/ a huge grin and boundless enthusiasm...ditto: I just had to say hi to Bart Sloow, who's also a groovy geezer w/ a sort of Dutch 18th century sea-captain's beard and a dry, infectious wit and a chuckle to match: top bloke's both!
It's been a real pleasure watching SA grow in confidence and stature as a band over the last couple years through a brol-blooded welter of wonderful releases - long may their ascension to greatness continue! Tonight they made my fucking year by dedicating their opening jam to me...wow...and what a jam it was: playing as a 6-piece w/ Clay helping out on antiquated Casio keys, they started w/ slowly pooling tones and drones and rattles that build up into a 3/4 guitar wig-out of rolling/roiling/pumping psych...man, they made my ear-bones dance so much it tickled my brain!
What it sounded like to me was Duul circa "Phallus Dei" but minus the brittle witchery and the frantic, hysterical urban-riot bits, so that the music kept itself in the smooth, creamily chiming, guitar n organ-led troughs of that album, but beautifully propelled into the dreamy psychswirl by Willhammer's drums and Helvete's bass. It was full-blooded and pumpin' - full of little peaks that made me whoop w/ pleasure. A second jam saw Clay switch to drums while Will got down to business on effects and electronics - this was a little gentler, teasingly transcendental. I said to Cloudboy (and I meant it) that these guys have the potential to be the greatest Acid Rock band in the world. One of the (many) flaws of this blog is that it often seems to fall into hyperbole and subjectivism, but I can only say (hand on heart) that I just say what I see...I could happily listen to music like this for five hours without my ears gettin' tired, but SA kept it short and sweet...they are great believers in The Rule of 20 Minutes when it comes to their Drone sets, and tho they play for longer than that when they rock out, they still kept it short n oh so sweet...
I really enjoyed their set, but the guys thought they'd played better an evening or two earlier...which may have been the tour-lag talkin', but I'd love to see footage of some of their earlier shows, tho I'm not sure any exists. Shame. But that's what make these moments so wonderful: they soak dn deep into the rich loam of yr memory and enrich it...
I couldn't make out what Bart was doing during the show; he seemed to bob up and dn behind one of the monitors lol...afterwards, he explained to me with a dry chuckle that was all he does during performances! I'm sure he's fibbing, but I do love the idea of him being some sort of live psychik cheerleader, a head-bobbing mascot lol; he also talked a bit about his Michael Gira moment a few months back, but I promised not to post anything about this extremely sensitive topic lol.
I started saying goodnite to everyone, only to end up going for a quick post-show beer w/ the gang (in what must be the most boring bar in Bristol lol), and also somehow along the way bumping into Dan from The End Times blog who'd heroically come up from Bournemouth for the show, but he disappeared into the shadows before I could drag him off for drinks. He probably saw the madness shining in my eyes lol. Hell, I wouldn't want to hang out w/ me if I had any choice lol. Had a brief outside cigarette chat w/ Clay and we quickly talked about Zodiacs n other stuff... there's gonna be a big piece about Clay's life as Burial Hex and beyond comin' dn the tube reel soon, so keep yr eyes peeled...
So, yeah, a great night out with some inspirational music and great company. These bands deserve a wider audience, but I feel kinda priveliged to have witnessed this (and other similarly wonderful shows) in such intimate circumstances - it almost feels weird to document something as personal as this, but, y'know, you just haveta let the vibes radiate out into the aether sometimes...this is is all becoming part of some wunnderful folklore or something; it's bleeding out into history now and nothing can stop it...
This is our time now. Not just the bands and the audience, but all o'you out there reading this.
So, what d'ya say, let's just soak all this up and pass it on, huh?