Features, Reviews

Scum Mecca #4

Contained here are ten reviews: nine tapes and one 7 inch singles. Scum Mecca is the name of the column, an irregular feature on Crawlspace’s schedule. This is the fourth. Cooper Bowman writes it.

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Bearded Iris – Fuck. Tha Polise CS (Alberts Basement)

Bearded Iris is essentially the solo project of a single female who may or may not be called Ora Ni. The first few tracks are comprised predominantly of vocals, percussion and a few harsher, industrial-edged objects. Some of those that follow are a little less obtuse, but the sounds are decisively inept and the method of recording is a successful adoption of lo-fi austerity. ‘I Am Anne Marie’ is naively playful, even if the vocal snips are lewd, where ‘Ora Ni’ is a tribal no-wave dirge. There is a connection to Satanic Rockers/Encounter Group, with Lynton Denovan supplying drums on ‘Vagina Is Life’. The liners offer that the creator was “fucked up on laughing gas” during the tape’s composition. Three out of a potential five potatoes for unique absurdity.

Bleak – Broken & Pinned CS (Confirmation Tapes)

Bleak, the sometime solo guise of Power Waters, is in duo mode here with PWR handling guitar, tapes and electronics and MSL (Michael Liestins of Cock Safari, Mermaids, et al) contributing tapes and other assorted electronics. There is a distinctive murk, slowed down vocal snippets roll over pulsing synth tones. Hiss dominates. It largely gives the impression of machines left to their own work. Buckets of filthy mopping water close by, left dangerously near the frayed wires coming out of the socket.

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Cock Safe – Sstake CS (Magik Crowbar)

A new release of oldish Cock Safari material, inexplicably presented under a different name. The A-side of Sstake is a tightly packed collage of samples (AM radio, motivational tape snatches, tweeting birds) and short pieces of recording (guitar plonking and predominantly harsh electronics). The B-side is almost all one long collision of classical radio and electronics. Next is a tape loop and didgeridoo ditty that is absolutely ridiculous followed with a final burst of seared electronics. One of the best from the Coq in quite a while, limited to 11 copies of course.

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LA County Morgue – That Maggots SHD / Eat The Dead Bullock CS (Mazurka Editions)

LACM is the long-gestated solo project of Jarrod Skene, the man responsible for the art and funding of excellent Newcastle imprint, Mazurka Editions. The untitled A-side consists of what appears to be a looped guitar recording unevenly sped with encroaching feedback ducking in and out before becoming stripped to pure buzz and rhythmic crunch. The untitled B-side is much more sparse, all dusty loops that corrode as they revolve, possibly doing damage to the heads of your tape deck in the process of playback. This, the first release for LACM, is a modern benchmark of what is going on in the steel city and of the remarkably unique sounds being emitted there.

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Muura –Tape CS (Organized Music From Thessaloniki) & Untitled CS (Mazurka Editions)

Two recent tapes from Matt Earle’s Muura guise. The first, Tape, is a release on a Greek imprint dating from late last year, a relative eternity in the scope of internet journalism. The first side presents a caustic wall of feedback with hidden melodies submerged underneath, or potentially the frequencies deceive the listener’s ears into believing they are there. Some tape screech makes itself clear as another component later on as the illusory swells continue. The other side involves damply rhythmic clanking, indecipherable utterances and swirls of what I can only describe as pure atmosphere.

The other release is an outstanding one on the consistently dependable Mazurka label from earlier this year. The A-side involves drummed clatter, distant vocals and guitar licks that lend a down by the bayou kinda twang to proceedings. The B-side is a dirge that is apparently a cover, however I’m assuming that this congealed blob of busted synth goop bears much resemblance to whatever influenced it, unless I’m missing something vital. It’s a leering industrial mess that incorporates sparse vocals, belted metal drum machine and even a few pretty key chords here and there. Bonza.

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Soma Coma – Demo CS (Self-Released)

Soma Coma is a Melbourne hardcore band with ties to UV Race (in shared bass player, Moses) forming part of the recent punk wellspring that has also spouted other top class acts like Dribble, Gutter Gods, et al. Soma Coma take cues from Cleveland, Osaka and probably other locales that I admittedly know very little about. Vocals remind me of NY’s Crazy Spirit, but that’s just a measure of how rabidly manic they sound and is where the comparison abruptly ends. Basically this is a ripper demo and is recommended for anyone interested in music to throw bottles to. Things are looking brighter, former Pathetic Human and Australia’s best punk drummer, Bryce Sweatman, has now taken over can duties for Soma Coma. You’ve been warned.

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TLAOTLON – Mad Idem! / Oudimma 7” (Vauve)

A new Tlaotlon recording is worthy cause to celebrate around Scum Mecca. Jeremy Coughbrough’s mutant electronic project is one of the brightest blips around Melbourne as I see it. ‘Mad Idem!’ is the usual cluttered maelstrom of several vying rhythms before the drop gives way to a purely single-minded, danceable vision. ‘Oudimma’ starts with accumulating midi keyboard before sirens and all sorts are added. Numerous potential directions are hinted at, but they disappear as quickly as they emerge.

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Von Einem – Imagined Infractions CS (Mazurka Editions)

Von Einem is the most recent form under which Mark Groves channels his discontent at various facets of life, a role once filled by Absoluten Calfeutrail. Von Einem is much more industrial-edged, where AC was predominantly power electronics focused.  ‘Silence and Brush Fences’ starts things with brooding feedback and drum machine. The next, ‘Mummified Rather Than Dissolved’, is electric churn with unnerving, processed vocals, most likely detailing the Adelaide serial killer namesake of the project. ‘White Holden Sedan’ opens side B with another dark excavation of reverb-soaked drum machine depths. ‘Number One Beat’ is solid block of feedback where saturated noise and vocals pervade. A solid and varied release with a clear conceptual vision.

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Various Artists – Rebel Sorts compilation CS (Bunyip Trax, available from World Food Books)

A new, excellently titled compilation featuring several of the forms that Christopher LG Hill materialises as, in addition to Joshua Petherick’s closely affiliated Mouving project. The Moffarfarrah track is the usual kind of vocal nonsense that can be expected, wherein Hill produces utterances that sound partly like a Sesame Street character over distortions also created by his mouth. This piece is harsher and more maximal than he usually comes across. Some electronic-sounding oscillations towards the end possibly signal a departure from purely vocal means of production.  A new alias, Urchyn, appearing here as (Asujoh (Urchyn) Sunag), is greyer than the bleakened Black Noise that appears on the Hatered Of Purity cassette. The Mouving jam is an excellent slice of cosmically processed cheap synth tones with a repetitive feedback loop running in tandem.  Petherick and Hill’s tape collage duo VDO contribute a ‘Truency Mix’ for the duration of the compilation’s B-side. This entails an initially abstract patchwork of ringing phones, rain and minimal synth samples that evoke a gritty cop drama. Chopped n’ screwed vox, synth melody loops and cartoon sound effects follow, but surprisingly the darkness remains. Some heavily blown out club rap rounds out the mix eclectically enough.

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