Saturday, May 10, 2014

Public Eyesore reviews, installment #1

After Disaster Amnesiac's recent review of the Sondheim/Carter CD, Public Eyesore honcho Bryan Day got in touch. It turns out that he currently resides about ten minutes from chez Amnesiac. We spent a nice afternoon together recently, drinking some coffee and talking music, life, and time. Along with his good cheer, Bryan brought a stack of Public Eyesore releases, and graciously left them for me to check out. One thing about the music of Public Eyesore: it requires listening. One can't simply put these recordings on as background while one washes dishes or reads the paper. Disaster Amnesiac has slowly waded into the stack, trying really hard to really listen attentively. Needless to say, I've only scratched the surface, but here is my first installment.

Music For Hard Times-City of Cardboard; Public Eyesore #128 (CD edition)
Music For Hard Times consists of Tom Nunn and Paul Winstanley. Nunn has been developing, building, and playing musical instruments for many years now, and Winstanley has dedicated himself to developing all manner of extended technique for the electric bass guitar. Nunn focuses heavily here on his Skatchboxes, from which he gets scraped, ping-ey tones from amplified combs and nuts that are glued to cardboard resonators. He also plays his Resonance Plates, Crustacean, and Harmonic Rods. Winstanley matches him with his rig, and, by matching, I mean to say that it's pretty much impossible to tell who is doing what at times; this is a good thing, if one loves mystery and imagination emanating from the music that they're listening to. The sounds on Cardboard are generally somewhat quiet and mysterious, as the duo clearly pay close attention to what each other are doing as their improvisations unfold in real time. Disaster Amnesiac would compare the listening experience to the act of picking up a large rock and peering into the strange world that is heavy with previously unseen activity, or the summoning up of a deeper visual focus as one's perceptions delve into an abstract expressionist painting. In other words, Music For Hard Times never hit the listener over the head in order to get their attention. They simply get down to the Zen of their other worldly duo exchanges, and, if one is inclined to go along, one will surely find much intrigue. Kudos too, for the really neat sculpture which graces the cover, designed and built by Nunn and Winstanley for this release.

Cactus Truck-Brand New for China; Public Eyesore #119 (vinyl edition)
Very much playing yang to the yin of groups such as Music For Hard Times, Cactus Truck revel in thier highly energized Free Jazz blasting concept. Up in the frontal attack zone, reedsman John Dikeman blows with passion and abandon, his controlled tone often reminding Disaster Amnesiac of Archie Shepp. Dikeman gets all over his horns, going from low growls to high pitched yowls. Pushing the attack horns is the Jasper Stadhouders/Onnon Govaert rhythm section. The former gets any and all manner of Post Punk wailing and strumming from his electric guitar and bass, while the latter goes for the energetic multi-limbed freedom strut with his traps. These two play with such locked precision, it's pretty clear that they have spent a ton of time locked in rehearsal rooms together. We're talking extended slabs of deeply focused locked groove here, upon which the horns cry freedom and sex. Day suggested to me that this LP's title what supposed to say something else, which has a lot to do with randy musicians, ah, exploring as they road trip from town to town.........

Ron Anderson/Robert L. Pepper/David Tamura/Phillippe Petit-Closed Encounters of the 4 Minds (Live at BC Studio); Public Eyesore #116 (CD edition)
Wrapped with a sumptuously painted cover image by Alec Dartly, these eight tracks were laid down, live in one take, in NYC about four years back. This group conjures up great Electro-Acoustic blends. They are often heavily rhythmic and strangely melodic, with Tamura especially leading the charge with his sprayed saxophone riffing. Sampled voices and bleeping bloops, worthy of those great old 1970's LPs on Nonesuch, float in and out of the field, non-treated (very clean sounding, anyway) guitars get played by Anderson, and the whole ensemble gets down in a completely psychedelic way, like the next evolutionary step from the sounds of Death Comet Crew or something. Graff for the inner ear and mind. Disaster Amnesiac has no idea whether or not these gentlemen explorers are basing their operations within East Coast musical academia or grinding out meager existences playing music in the City, but, either way, they're breaking great new ground with their improvised Free head trip. Closed Encounters is a freaky good time skull fuck of a listen. Put on headphones and jack in!

Disaster Amnesiac will stop with the Public Eyesore spieling here (for now), and just reiterate-if you are inclined to want to seek out and enjoy odd music made by really talented musicians, you really must stop by at the Public Eyesore website and explore their myriad caverns of creativity. Please expect a few more of these Public Eyesore posts!

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