this review originally appeared in Thaumaturgy, a blog dedicated to new experimental and psychedelic music
May 23, 2005
Apostasy Recordings roundup:
The Opera Glove Sinks in the Sea, S/T
The Believers, BronTOURsaurus
Thee Magik Marquers, Feel the Crayon
A recent batch of new releases on Apostasy Recordings finds these peddlers of low-fi, punk-ass ambient-noise-screech-rawk further expanding their stable and delving even deeper into uncharted psychic terrain. Apostasy is rapidly developing a distinctive sonic and visual aesthetic as a label, and these three releases certainly help to cement its rep as one of the most reliable purveyors of weirdness in the international music bottomfeeder scene right now.
The Opera Glove Sinks in the Sea, the eponymous debut release by Gwyneth Merner, is a haunting collection of tone-poems. Housed in a delicate, sewn onionskin jacket, the 6 tracks on this release strike a beautiful balance between ominous menace and melacholy beauty. Treated violin scrapes, the clack of a typewriter, looped voice and other found sounds are woven together to create a compelling soundscape of spooky creaks and tenebrous sibilations, but it is Merner's subtle and precise theremin playing that really helps to elevate this baby to the next plane, particularly on the piece "I Am Thinking of You," in which a deceptively simple theremin melody wrings out oceans of pathos from a few simple notes, like Eno at his most affecting. All in all, an unexpected and excellent release from a first-timer.
The Believers, a white-clad cult of glam Neanderthals, have emerged from the primeval ooze to bash us over the heads with their single-celled swamprawk on BronTOURsaurus. The Hyde-ian alterego of Son of Earth members John Shaw and Matt Krefting (plus Anna Klein and Jessi Swenson), The Believers like their rock raw, simple and stoopid- and so do I! Camping out around overloaded guitar riffs, distorted vocals, and pounding drums, these Sleestaks-in-satin provide the perfect soundtrack to a summer headcold. Standout moments on these six tracks include Jessi Swenson's snotty vocals over the garage stomp of "Riverbottom Nightmare Band," and the patient, distorted Krautish riffs of "Super Continent," which at its best moments sounds like some lost Parson Sound outtake. A dish best served with a coctail of generic cough syrup and Lite beer.
Much ink has been spilled lately in praise of Thee Magik Marquers (sic?), and deservedly so. Their relentless touring over the past few years has left many a jaw agape and many a forehead bleeding in the aftermath of their mighty live show, a combination of free noise improvisation and confrontational No-Wave theater that never fails to polarize unsuspecting audiences. Though they have yet to release an aural document that does justice to their electrifying on-stage presence, this one comes pretty damn close. Pete Nolan's relentless drumming provides the skeleton for The Marquers' ex temp compositions, with Leah Quimby's precussive guitar squalls serving to flesh out this beast. But it is Elisa Ambrogio's free associating that are the brain of this Frankenstein of jizz-sound. Remember Ann Magnuson's archly incisive, pre-packaged monologues that graced many a Bongwater cd? Hallmark feminisms compared to the rawly inventive vitriol of Ambrogio! "I am a New York City Topiary garden"!? "I have a private audience in the house of God/ I have a purse that won't close in the house of God"!? WTF? Delicious delirium of the highest order.
Visit Apostasy here.