Music Reviews

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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Strch Prst Skrz Krk
Format: CD
Label: kRkRkRk recordings (@)
Distributor: Apoplexy
New Zeland based kRkRkRk recordings has just put out this "compilation of christchurch underground music" by the unpronounceable title of "Strch Prst Skrz Krk" (a Czech tongue-twister that means "Stick your finger in your throat"!) featuring 18 contributions. Fortunately for us Christchurch is the name of a town and not the name of some holy premises that wanna make sure people know what religion they are there for. This small indie label has been around for ten years in 2002 and has probably decided to celebrate with a label-sampler that gives you a taste of the over 30 CD-R's available from them on what is also their first "real" CD.
Here's a quick run through:
Label founders Peter Wright and J-mz Robinson open the sampler with their project Brainlego, presenting a nice art-noise piece that sounds like one of those wicked NIN slow motion dirty ballads;
MiG-21 are more into the post-punk art-rock thing with slow beats and much of the attention around the vocal parts;
Mikel Goodwin's concrete-pop project Wormwood focuses around his eccentric and theatrical post-goth vocals a la Das Ich but plays fonky old kinky background music alla Kapotte Muziek;
Antibody are more into the Staalplaat sphere of experimental electro-noise (Ed Wilson, J-mz Robinson of Brainlego and Charles Horn);
Nick Hodgson also could be a Staalplaat/Soleilmoon artist, but what differentiates him is the use of occasional Zornian improvisational no-wave free-jazz extravaganzas;
Lahar (featuring Antibody's Ed Wilson and Scott McCaslan on guitars and drums) play slow experimental art-rock with Velvets or Sonic Youth, among others, in mind;
Strap Ons (Don Gone & Nova Technova) continue where Lahar left off adding some fuzzy distortion and a female vocal that makes it even more "english", more "revolutionary" or "riot-ish" and more "artsy-fartsy", all in a good way, even though they are a little on the low-down side, kinda un-energetic;
NoTV is J-mz Robinson's solo thing where he plays passionate musique concrete muzak with an incessant piano and toy instruments;
KYN (Charles Horn) is throbbing and intermittent experimental-noise with use of vocals;
Megan Gallacher (ex-Bocctahne) plays an interesting airy mixture of clean but heavily delayed electric guitar parts floating over ethereal mid-low-frequency floor sounds that reminds me of the band Bethany Curve;
David Khan's solo project Drawing Room is where he expresses himself with dark ballads of piano and vocals with organic (as opposed to synthetic, since they are derived and processed from natural sources) pads in the background;
Placenta Cookbook (Goodwin & Robinson) play instrumental future-pop with a bumpy bass line and hopping happy guitar parts;
Full Force Loving Machine (if it wasn't for Nick Hodgson we'd have a new line up here: Richard Neave, Lynton Denovan are the other two thirds) play post-punk garbage-noise with loads of distortion and a drummer that just carelessly bangs his way through the thick cloud of unnecessary guitar noise (the info sheet brings you this funny description: they «immediately displayed a remarkable facility for emptying venues»);
Sirlordme (Lynton Denovan) is not quite as loud as he is with the above mentioned trio but continues the tradition of post-punk nowave-ish garage psychedelia;
Early Bioneers, a five-piece formed by Jason Tamihana-Bryce and Matt Davis and now also including Hodgson, Scott McCaslan, Diana Mckay, play experimental psychedelic-rock with a prominent crunch bass and a distant reverberated free-jazz saxophone;
Peter Wright celebrates his own personal 11 years of music-making with more electro-acoustic experimental music that might fit well into the Russian Electroshock label's catalogue but that seems to have found a home on the Apoplexy label (which I believe is his own too);
Ed Wilson explores the «link between human creativity and cognition» with a collage of found sounds, radical experimentation and noise diving;
Laudanum (Nick Hodgson again, along with Rustle Covini, Danny Bame, Karl Jenkins) see fit to close this exotic sampler with some pretty cosmic dream-pop music with lush guitars and reverberated open-snare eighties drumming that could be described as a mixture of Lycia and Krankheit Der Jugend;
I better stop here and now before this review becomes a book. This is like a family record. It certainly shows lots of creativity and is witness to an emerging New Zeland scene made of eclectic experimental musicians and their incestuous audiophile cross-breeding. Most of the bands are relatively new (1999-2001), so I just hope that all this young blood will prove to be consistent and will live up to the expectations in the uncertain future.

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