Music Reviews

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Artist: Furchick (@)
Title: Suck
Format: Download Only (MP3 only)
Label: Fag Ash Records (@)
Rated: *****
Furchick is DIY noise-art maker Claire Pannell, from Perth in Western Australia. I believe 'Suck' is her debut outing on the London, UK based Fag Ash Records label. It's available as a free digital download at the label's site. 'Suck' is an interesting trip over its 11 experimental tracks, with some coming off as more fascinating than others. The opener, "Binary compression," employs Claire's vocals, whistles, and looper drum sounds with varying degrees of echo. Too much "testing, one two, three, four..." but it's the whistling that makes it kind of eerie. "Heavy breathing down the throat of love" is just the sounds coming out of Furchick's throat in a number of different ways. Avant-garde beat-boxing for the insane without much attention to the beat; kind of arrythmic. "Eat those bickies" culls its non vocal sounds from a singing squeeze-me bunny rabbit toy. So far, this is the most
intriguing track on the album, and you'd never guess in a million years where these sounds came from if I didn't tell you first.

"It rained today" has Claire singing and speaking with electronically processed vocals over wind turbines. Poetic in a very weird way. Lots of bizarre, electronically processed looping in " Requiem for a seedy sleep in," and I couldn't begin to fathom what the sources might be, let alone describe it. Woozy maybe, with a dash of creepiness. I checked out the original for "Medicate me - An interpretation of Peter
Bibby's "Medicine," a song with just acoustic guitar and vocal, and I have to say Furchick's "interpretation" is much more compelling and haunting (with those heavenly, wordless background vocals) than the original, Furchick reciting, rather than singing the vocals as Bibby did. The next track, "Countdown ÐдбÑоÑаваÑе," was originally recorded for Tatjana Seserko's projection of a screen-based performance document: Self-Painting Action: Countdown ' material action inclusive of the body as a projection surface of painterly execution. It sounds like an installation piece; a vocal countdown from 99 to 1 over various vocal utterings and sounds and very light background noise play in the background. As the numbers get lower, the noise gets more intense, reaching a crescendo and then leveling off.

"Bad hair day" (Live at The Bakery) is the noisiest piece so far with grating mechanical looping that includes cutting Grace Gammage's hair, scissors, Euler's disk, slinky, foam cup, vibrator and vocals. It calms towards the end, but by then your brain has already been sliced open. In a collaborative performance with Richard Benjamin Keys (Furchick & The Accursed Share), "Live at The Auricle" performed at the Audacious Festival in Christchuch, 2014, is the longest track on the album at a little over 18 minutes. It begins with Furchick's sing-songy echoed vocals, then after a while an industrial drone creeps in with what sounds like some abstract toy instrument playing broken melodies. This is eventually whipped into a frenzied echo feedback loop and sustained noise, morphing over time with Furchick's voice occasionally emerging like a shipwreck victim in a stormy sea of sound. The echo feedback changes course a couple times, nearly thumping out a sort of machine-like rhythm. Noise enthusiasts may find it engaging but for me it was somewhat of an endurance test.

"Coming down in Coral Bay waves" was sourced with recordings of waves from Coral Bay in Western Australia, and from rain from Furchick's neighbor's downpipe (drainpipe). Wet and staticy sort of sum this one up. Finally we have The Taxidermist Remix by Furchick of New Zealand artist LoMax's (Rob Haakman) "Stuff it up". Lomax's music is sort of avant-garde drum 'n' bass, often downtempo with electronic and other sampled elements. I couldn't find the original of this one, so it's impossible to compare, but it does have more rhythm than any other track on this album. No less weird though. Repetitive machine-like drumkit pattern with electronics and echo manipulation.

So there you have it, a listening experience without actually listening. I'd say at least half of 'Suck' was quite engaging, and the other half... well, when you title your album 'Suck', I guess you have to expect some blowback. If I were you though, I'd go to Fag Ash
Records' Bandcamp site and check it out for free and form your own opinion. They also have a lot of other artists for you to discover as well. It's FREE! You can't beat that.



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