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Freak Scene #13

Back from vacationing in dusty record closets throughout New York City, Freak Scene takes its usual eclectic approach, unearthing Son of Earth, an Egyptian drone label, Dan Melchior's nuggets and some lazy babymakers.





It was a lovely surprise to receive this handsome debut LP from Son of Earth. After about six years or so this trio unleashes Pet, a full length after many a CDRs and a split or two. I had seen Son of Earth-er Aaron Rosenblum play solo before and remember the proceedings to be acoustic guitar and folk oriented so I was expecting something like that on this recording. However, there remains no trace of folk or melody as this record is about sound and discipline. Side A starts with a stretch of exploratory guitar friction of the quiet variety. It’s the kind of quiet that no matter how loud you turn up your stereo, its still not loud. Half way through the side a tone generates and slowly becomes VERY loud. This juxtaposition of volume speaks to underscore the subtle composition of these three fellows. Son of Earth speak in a musical language based on whispers and gestures, of both grand and small statements. So if Rosenblum takes care of his folk inclinations alone and Krefting gets his rocks off in his other band the Believers, this leaves a blank palate of guitar improv that is revelatory and large, if not always highly audible but always enjoyable.




Far louder, but equally gorgeous is the new LP from Hototogisu, entitled Robed in Verdigris on the killer new Egyptian label Nashazphone. Will this activity birth a New Weird Egypt scene? One can only hope. Hototogisu are the duo of Marcia Bassett (GHQ, Zaimph) and Matthew Bower (Skullflower, Total) and have been making super heavy drone for the last few years on a flurry of releases. This record is no exception to their general sky opening approach to electronics yet as always the human element is in the foreground. What separates Hototogisu from the masses is a profound emotional element that seeps through the layers. Melodies and crescendos seem to take shape as the two sidelong pieces unravel. This record is about the grand gesture, the long-form, taking a somewhat aggressive stance in the process. There’s nothing passive about this music as its enveloping free noise approach leaves one’s head melted as opposed to sedated. There’s a grounded element to the tones, which anchors the compositions although the goal here seems to be about transcendence. However you take it Robed in Verdigris is a satisfyingly dense platter that certainly delivers a large dose of the good stuff.



Dan Melchior und Das Menace are back again with a new one sided 12”called the Pink Scream e.p on the Shake Appeal label. This record was performed entirely by Melchior and his proficiency throughout is impressive enough in its own right. But there’s something about his vocal inflection that makes his takes on vintage tracks authentic in a way few contempo singers can pull off. On this one he takes on Ike Turner’s “I’m Blue” with great success. His guitar solo is perfectly accentuating and not the least bit intrusive. As for the originals, Dan’s entering into more surreal territory, his wordplay reminding me more of when Robyn Hitchcock was in his prime. Worthy of Office Space is Dan’s fantastic assault of work situations “The Pink Scream of the Middle Manager” might have one of the strangest transitions I’ve heard in a minute. The verse and chorus sounds like Nuggets and all of the sudden it breaks into a new wave/post-punk disco beat with a harmonica and reverbed guitar. What the fuck? It’s great though and just shows how much Melchior has to offer rather than the endless retro acts coming around. Did I mention that the B-side has a fantastic etching? Quite a nice job for an e.p. and well worth yr time and money.




Lastly we come to some true-freakery, Preggy Peggy and the Lazy Babymakers, have a new CDR named Duo Eureka. Somewhere between Music Concrete, faux Sublime Frequencies fake pop, Gary Wilson and who knows what else, lies this completely insane hodge-podge of straight weirdness. This is the kind of dementia that can only come from people who DON’T use drugs. Here we have a girl group aesthetic filtered through helium/synth bending noise. This is a square music reinterpreted, a look at white bread culture through kaleidoscopes. Mixed with cut up conversations, instructional audio, there’s some true pop gems in the mix. “They’re Just Like Us” is about as much of a tolerance anthem from the outside looking in as I’ve heard in while and it’s a tender moment. This whole thing is the brainchild of Angela Sawyer who is without a doubt the coolest person that cares the least about being cool in the world. That, my friends, counts for a whole lot in my book. She also runs weirdorecords.com, which is somewhere anyone with an internet connection should go to. More weirdness next week, and maybe a special guest. Tune in and see.

-STEVE LOWENTHAL

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Freak Scene #13