Friday, April 10, 2015

You Make The Call: Wrong - 'Stop Giving'

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but that old adage can often and arguably rightfully be dismissed as unoriginality in the art world. There is a fine line between being inspired by an artist and simply trying to ride that gravy train. But what about when a really distinct and genre-defining band falls apart? When they stop putting out new music or worse yet just start to really suck? Is it appropriate for a group with no personal affiliation with said defunct band to blatantly attempt to fill the gap? Or can the argument be made that attempted torch carrying is truly an end result of inspiration and nothing more, I mean - isn't that how genres are spawned? Obviously motives vary. Everything is inspired by something else.

Vertigo Index make no effort to hide the direct influence Discordance Axis had on them by naming their band after one of DA's songs, and the small army of Carcass clones that were exhumed after that group went tits up only solidified them as the seed to the over-saturated (and ridiculous) gore-grind genre that's still expanding today. There's a whole generation of people out there who respond to the word Godsmack with a reference to a shitty hard rock band that thinks they're better than they really are and not the bad-ass palm-muted withdrawl-trip that slaps you in the face halfway thru Alice in Chains' Dirt!

So what's wrong with indulging in something that sounds exactly like something else if that something else is done being? Nothing I suppose, you could argue it's sort of an easy way out - like covering a song note for note that was already popular once. But you could also argue that it's throwing a bone to a whole group of fans longing to hear something new that sounds like something old, and then letting them decide if they want to chew on it. That's what Wrong have done.

Helmet - lets face it, Helmet just isn't the formidable figure that they once were, and it isn't necessarily because they've been ripped off to oblivion by a genre of lemmings. They're still active and putting out music, but from what I can gather most people just can't get over that holy trilogy that is Meantime, Betty, and Aftertaste. Wrong offers you the option to go back to that in their debut E.P. Stop Giving. The catch here is that you need to get past the pneumatic roof nail in the eye that that isn't Paige Hamilton singing, and these aren't his songs, and this indeed isn't Helmet... So the question is, can you indulge?

Monday, April 6, 2015

Under The Radar: Electronic Phantasmagoria

I really do appreciate low budget 60's and 70's horror flicks: the grain, the psychedelic imagery, heavy shadow, the lo-fi synth laden tribal soundtracks - an unsettling yet nostalgically comfortable experience that yearns for the Cthulu-like tendrils of late night UHF to embrace it like a prophesized apocalyptic spawn.

I also appreciate the ambient noise genre and some of it's offspring. Drawn out movements of droning keyboards or walls of warbling feedback - awkwardly patched together and balled up within an atmosphere all it's own. Journeys of sound that can draw you down tunnels in the dark if you close your eyes and let it.

So it stands to reason that I really appreciate the efforts of an unsung internet hero who took the time to record and compile specific soundscapes from his favorite films of the golden years of grindhouse exploitation horror, clean them up and present them as a bad acid trip into the dark woods of ritualistic virgin sacrifices and witchcraft conjuring up bad things from the demonic fathoms of blood orgies and unexplainable neon lights in the fog. Run-on sentence and I don't even give a hoot.

The tracks aren't marked, so it's unclear as to when one piece begins and another ends, but forget about all that. These kinds of spooky dirges into noise are best experienced as a congealed whole anyways.

Per the author/creator/aforementioned unsung internet hero:

"A collection of commercially unavailable electronic soundtracks from the 60s and 70s. All taken from low budget sleazy horror films. I ripped my favourite pieces of Moog madness from the audio tracks then mixed them together into a one hour long phantasmagoric soundscape.

None of these pieces of music have ever seen an official release.

As these are ripped from the audio track the sound quality varies. Expect some hiss, crackle, sound drop outs, distortion, abrupt editing and freaky dialogue. "

and here is his site:

The Ghost of the Weed Garden