V/A - "Music For The Psych-Eye!" (Cast Exotic, CD)
From Aural Innovations #15 (April 2001)
An international compilation of bands with an experimental/noise inclination that doesn't necessarily preclude a sense of pleasant melody. Most of the bands employ real acoustic instruments to differeing degrees or show sensibilities that could be considered folk music in some way. The Bushwick Trio (Brooklyn), Brian Ruryk (Vancouver), -Outhern Acific+ (Canada) and TonalMotl (Dallas) come off as straight noise, experimenting with cheap toys (turntables, radios, Casios) or abusing instruments, and the last's piece is a long one of quiet, ambient noise. Others offset melodicism in jarring ways, such as Ashtray Navigations (England) background organ drones, or the guitars strumming over some of Glands Of External Secretion's (San Francisco) noise loops. There's interesting (for lack of better description) weirdo rock from Metabolismus (Stuttgart), sounding reminiscent of their Kim Fowley collaborations, Las Dirty Arcades (San Diego), who calculate a combination of precise rhythm and imprecise dissonance, and This Was Your House Until We Moved In (Austin), who respectably approach the feeling of some of Chrome's deepest tracks, with its oppressive bass drums and lingering fuzz guitar. And the Eyelickers (Vancouver) continue in the folk/acoustic direction with groovy analog synth melodies on "Composition For Piņata", as does "Nine Million Bubbles", by The Terminal Waste Band (Northern CA) - even a genuine song, starting with gorgeous female vocals and a haunting electric folk vibe (but still with the requisite noises burbling underneath) that intensifies in the midsection into a quivering guitar jam with synth/noise crescendo, only to return to a sonically/rhythmically psychedelic transmutation of the folk theme. The other standout contribution is another German band, Kopfende, turning out a powerful rocker in "Airbase", with manic percussion and burbling bass riding the edge, while drugged vocals howl & echo on and guitars run from soaring gliss to Sabbath riffing to droning flanges. They could be on their way to being something special if their other recordings are this good. Finally, Staked Plain (Alberta) provide a fitting conclusion with some more truly demented folk in the Daniel Johnston vein. All in all, an incredible array of experimental music, some of which is even quite nice to listen to. Spacerockers not interested in the noisiest experimental aspects will probably still find it indispensible for the superb and lengthy Terminal Waste Band & Kopfende tracks.
For more information you can visit the Cast Exotic web site.
Reviewed by Doug Pearson