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Random Stabbings 14b

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Photophob “Still Warm” (Hive Records)
Conjecturally, Photophob are nosing around the underground territory lorded over by Chachi Jones, who specializes in “circuit bending,” a headphone electro technique characterized by slow-paced symphonic dirges splattered with incorrigible, frothing beats and samples that include old Furbys or basically any consumer electronics device that makes odd noises when its components are fritzed.  Though nowhere near as experimental as the typical Jones album, Still Warm has enough quirkiness to qualify for the genre, since chef/cook/bottle-washer Herwig Holzmann plays with the idea in many spots, beginning with roll-out track “All of Them,” which lures the listener in with a morose piece of funeral-home Muzak that soon finds itself surrounded by acid-washed breakbeats, as though Animal the Muppet Drummer were trying to spazz away all the attention.  Holzmann plays that angle in several spots, an acquired taste that appears to get him drooling uncontrollably. Conservative EBM opiates receive a good amount of attention, but not to the point where a piece becomes danceable for any extended period.  This is a limited edition of 500. Order from Hive Records

Bluebird “Stylemasters [Soundtrack]”
(Defend Films)
New soundtrack to a performance-surfing documentary shot in the late 70s.  The intro offers speed-drumming fritzed through a phase-shifter, then moves on to your typical (and ironically dated, as of recently) Queens of the Stone Age fuzz with a nod in the general direction of hammock-rock things like Quagmire.  “Glitter Pit” is comprised of slapped-together juice machine grind-noise over fog-swirled ringouts and no percussion, probably for the slo-mo montages; “Glass +” explores a rather pretty Oasis-like arpeggio; the heavily muted “Accidental Progress” points out that even Martians need game-show music; “Good Ride” owes its lot in life to Machine Head-era spandex metal.  Freakout tunes for your e-party if nothing else, and actually much better than a lot of the retro soundtracking that’s out at present. Order from Amazon.com


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Imperative Reaction "Eulogy for The Sick Child"
(Metropolis Records)
It’s been an odd year for Metropolis releases, with nearly all of them fitting a pattern of better music being found on their second halves.  Eerily enough, this extends to their reissue catalog as well, as seen in Eulogy for The Sick Child, 1999’s EBM clinic from the former DNA.  Admittedly, there’s not a lot that hardfloor and darkwave fans will dislike about the first part of the album – least of all the widely exalted S&M-stomper “Scorpio,” resplendent in an early Skinny Puppy groove that meanders with a gripping and spooky synth riff – but by quanta, from track 7 on, the proceedings are more relaxed, original and experimental, beginning with “The Settling,” a noise venture that retrofits somber Hammond whole notes with a jumbled tabla-like subroutine.  David Albrecht’s voice goes black-metal snarl in the manner of Hocico to honor the hardfloor numbers but downshifts to a swirling Ratzinger-esque half-whisper for the goth-droid trances, the most subtle of which is “Overcast,” a wobbling wave-form floor-filler that tees up the booping instrumental raver “Out: Obsolete.” Order from Amazon.com

Lumari “Emerge Dancing” (Retribe Records)
New Age lady bearing a concoction of world, chant and Joe Satriani that’d probably work as clear-your-head background for ashtanga class if the students were told the lyrics are in Sanskrit (they’re not).  Going by Google, Lumari is the only person on earth spreading the “Alawashka” language, billing it as “the mother of all languages,” which could be true for all we know – if everyone were a kook there’d be no normal ones.  The material here is meditative and relaxing although there is the matter of opening track “Shanta May” (translated as “within my dreams,” it’s claimed) which, given its wolf-woman tribal drumming and Warrant guitar solo, is a little too B-horror-movie for wide consumption.  The second, acoustic-guitar-driven track will only satiate Yoko Ono fans who don’t see why “Kumbaya” has such a bad rap among normal people, but from then on the songs – sounding Japanese in some places and Middle Eastern in others – are reverent, prayerful and very easy on the timpani. Order from Amazon.com

Bass Tone Trap “Trapping” (Discus Records)
A re-release from 1983, Bass Tone Trap was the launching pad for several Discus Records regulars who’ve gone on to some of – okay, the most – experimental jazz/noise dada found today.  Kickoff song “Sanctified” could be thought of as Madness trying to magpie Prince while keeping in the good graces of the patrons of a smoky jazz club, but from there it’s a no-wave opus of unfollowable drums, spur-of-the-moment bursts of grand mal vitriol, and chaotic progressions of all types and combinations, much of which had to be improvised and non-verbally cued (unless these guys are ten-fingered ants from Alpha Centauri, which could very well be for all the seriousness that’s gone into their stuff for all these years).  “Safe in the Inner Core” finds guitarist John Jasnoch gently tickling the strings for a few bars before drums and sax rudely interrupt with a hyperspeed gun battle; “Afraid of Paper” dabbles in megaweirdo soundtracking, with all hands contributing to an unnerving motif that moves through Asian and pure noise analyses. Order from Discus Records (England)

Outraged ranting, indie label release news and spaghetti sauce recipes are always welcome.  Email ericsaeger@mindspring.com

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