Tuesday, December 22, 2009

New reviews

On the Sound Projector website, (Mayyrh's favorite annual/semi-annual UK magazine of the arcane and obscure) editor Ed Pinsent noted in their "New Arrivals" section the trio of recent Mayyrh records releases, including Zanzibar's double CD // DVD "Journey Into Amazing Caves!":


From Texas, the Mayyrh Records label has been busy and produced three more limited-edition releases since we last checked in, all of them packed in nice colourful screen-printed or Xeroxed card wallets inside permatrace envelopes. Zanzibar Snails are the noisy improvising crusaders built around the core duo of Nevada Hill and Michael Chamy, well represented on a new set called Journey Into Amazing Caves! (MYH06) This offers a CD of their uglified electronic and oscillating spillages recorded in 2006-07, producing slowly swelling sounds that are every bit as craggy as the stalactites they purport to depict. The release comes with a DVD called Carbage Goma, a more recent musical performance by the Snails enhanced with wild visual additions from David Lee Price (who also joins the band here); there’s also a welcome return from Josh McWhirter and his diabolical viola. You won’t see much of the band on this mind-murking visual explosion from Price, but you will see plenty of dazzling computer effects, colour-field experiments, and surreal close-ups of ill-fitting objects that produce a memorable psychedelic broth. Also from the label, Age Of Disinformation (MYH08), a collaboration between six Texan players from similar-minded underground venturers, calling themselves a ‘lucid nightmare supergroup’. Playing lots of electronic instruments, keyboards, percussion and guitar, their aim was to make some sort of subconscious statement about the contemporary problem we all face of information-bombardment, and the possible damage this may be causing to our collective spiritual condition. How ambitious…what results is a slowly rotating whirlpool of over-filled musical and verbal gibberish, with no clear guidance to the listener about how to navigate around this swamp of vaguely unpleasant fetid noise. Very compelling! Also out: D&N 2 (MYH07), a collaborative effort between Hill and Price, not yet spun as I can’t bring myself to get past the strange hirsute contents of the envelope.

ALSO in the Sound Projector magazine, issue #18 (ZE'V cover), a full review of Zanzibar Snails’ Phantom Limb release “Vanadium Dream” (only a handful of these still in circulation):

Zanzibar Snails
Vanadium Dream

Zanzibar Snails are from Texas, but like Hearts Of Palm are another on-the-edge improvising and performing combo who are carving out their own private niche in the rock of culture's enclaved cliffs and mountains. I have characterised them before in the improvising section of the magazine, but on this record at least they are emerging as uncategorisable brand of slow, grunged-up organic ensemble playing. The quartet here includes Michael Chamy with his electronic tone generators, Nevada Hill with his guitar, Mike Maxwell on electronics and shortwave radio, and Seth Sherman on guitar and percussion.
I've enjoyed the cataclysmic mayhem that slowly rolled out of their last release (it seemed to be the soundtrack to a road accident played in slow motion), but Vanadium Dream is a much more stark and considered basket of woodchips. Recorded in one cold afternoon's session, it feels like a continuous performance divided into three
long titled segments; on the first one 'Om Isotope', establishing the stern mood, the quartet just seem to be staring at each other with the beady eyes of snakes and lizards, in a constant stare-down battle. The concentration on this task is so intense that the four young men are no longer at full liberty to play their instruments; in particular the guitars have been severely constricted, only issuing an occasional strangulated note at great personal cost to the players. Throughout, humming and buzzing electronic sounds create a strong atmosphere of seething hate. Only the bravest listener should enter this snake-pit of negative reverse-current improvisation.
Segment two, the title track, features brushed percussion and bowed cymbals, deepening the overall sound of the day's work such that it now feels like swimming in an ocean of molten copper. The wine-dark seas of Hector had nothing on this. One of the guitarists now makes bold to set up a constant low murmuring through a cold, antiseptic stroking of his lower strings, causing these tightly-wound eels to' complain like angered bees.
Harmonic overtones fill the air but still do nothing to soften the concrete jaws of these four Texan toughsters as they sink deeper into their lethargic sulk. By the time of segment three, 'In V, the minimal guitar playing has evolved to the point where the upper strings are permitted to emit listless whimpers and whines, much like the pitiful cries of small soft animals. Over 37 minutes, this is a document of a remarkably disciplined performance, amongst players to whom 'minimalism' is a lot more than just a buzzword they can glibly add to their press releases -- for Zanzibar Snails, it's a test of their endurance skills and a method by which they can successfully restrict any inherent excesses in their playing. This combo have certainly come a long way since the tentative beginnings of their first CDR Introdewcing in 2006,
ED PINSENT 26/07/2009

And, in the latest fort Worth Weekly, Ken Shimamoto reviewed Age of Disinformation thusly:

Age of Disinformation
Wednesday, 11 November 2009
By Ken Shimamoto

Since coaxing their trumpeter-father Dennis Gonzalez out of musical retirement a decade ago and forming Yells at Eels, brothers Aaron (bass) and Stefan Gonzalez (drums) have been performing ever more impressively. (YAE's full creative brilliance has finally been captured on disc, on Ayler Records' The Great Bydgoszcz Concert, released earlier this year.)
The brothers continue to play assaultive grindcore as the duo Akkolyte. The connection between genres is explained in the title of an early YAE tune: "Free Jazz is Thrash, Asshole."
Aaron has also ventured into more cerebral realms. Besides helping to bring the No Idea Festival of avant-garde improvisation to Lola's Stockyards last spring, he convened Age of Disinformation - a sort of Metromess underground supergroup - for a one-time performance at Dallas' Bathhouse Cultural Center in May 2008. With Aaron on growling vocals and conducting, the band included a couple of Zanzibar Snails (Michael Chamy and Mike Maxwell), The Great Tyrant's Jon Teague on modular synths instead of his usual drums, and two members of Dallas' Tidbits (multi-instrumentalist Kim Corbet and ex-New Bohemians guitarist Kenny Withrow).
You won't hear a discernable melody on Age of Disinformation's debut eponymous album, nor is there a pulse you can dance to (except in your mind). The sounds extemporized by the sextet run the gamut from ethereal to industrial. While the program notes call the single album-long piece "an improvisation on the current state of psychological and spiritual breakdown as it relates to viral ecosystems of economics of information," that's really just hazy boho jive. These are some spacy jams, equally influenced by Sun Ra's saturnalia and the more kosmiche aspects of Krautrock. Not for the faint-hearted, but if you immerse yourself in this sonic bath, you may emerge psychically rejuvenated. Cop via www.mayyrh.com.

...aaaaannnnnnd last but certainly not least, our favorite Portuguese blog, OSAMAsecretLOVERS reviewed D & N 2

Here it is in Portuguese then through an Internet translation engine:


Nevada Hill (dos Zanzibar Snails) e David Lee Price juntaram-se para fazer um disco experimental baseado em gravações improvisadas e posteriormente trabalhadas em estúdio. O trabalho é feito de sons íntimos e fantasmagóricos, como a chuva no Texas (o que tem ajudado neste Verão prolongado), algum ruído branco controlado para não atrofiar (como acontece com os Zanzibar, diga-se) e alguns barulhos de mecanismos simples (ou serão instrumentos?). No fundo parece mesmo que uns músicos friques invadiram uma quinta de instrumentos em punho e puseram-se a experimentar que sons é que poderiam sair dali. Talvez por isso que a embalagem do CD-R seja um simples saco com a ficha técnica serigrafada e dentro do saco para além do disco apareça lã de ovelha encharcada em óleo. É curioso que muitas vezes as embalagens e imagens dos discos transmitem o que está para se ouvir, é mesmo curioso...


Nevada Hill (of the Zanzibar Snails) and David Lee Price had been joined to make an established experimental record in improvised writings and later worked in studio. The work is made of close and fantasmagóricos sounds, as rain in the Texas (what it has helped in this drawn out Summer), some controlled white noise not to atrophy (as it happens with the Zanzibar, it says) and some barulhos of simple mechanisms (or they will be instruments). In the deep one he seems same that musicians friques had invaded fifth of instruments in fist and had set to try it that sounds is that they could leave from there. Perhaps therefore that the packing of the CD-R is a simple bag with the fiche serigrafada technique and inside of the bag stops beyond the record appears wool of sheep marshy in oil. He is curious that many times the packings and images of records transmit what it is to hear, are exactly curious…

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