Squeegeed Clean - "Synchronised Fucking Up and Pre-Emptive Flashbacks" (self-released 2010)
Squeegeed Clean - "Fake Sun Ra Bootleg" (self-released 2011)
From Aural Innovations #43 (October 2011)
In the early Aural Innovations days I would get submissions from an Australian combo called Vocabularinist, who - if I may be permitted a simplistic description - were like a rollercoaster psychedelic take on the Residents. Between the Vocabs and their various side projects, of which there were many, I heard some of the most creatively whacked out music since Vas Deferens Organization had come my way. Fast forward to this year and I've got my first taste of music from the Vocabularinist camp in some years. Squeegeed Clean is the duo of Funkmeister G and D.J. Urinal Cake, both of whom had been in Vocabularinist (D.J. Urinal Cake was known as Bumscuzz at that time). The duo are joined by guests who vary from one track to the next.
The first album is Synchronised Fucking Up and Pre-Emptive Flashbacks, released in late 2010, which is actually two albums: Synchronised Fucking Up consists of shorter songs recorded in 2005, and Pre-Emptive Flashbacks is longer pieces recorded 2009.
Its After The End Of The State Of Origin, Don't You Know That yet?, the title being a nod to Sun Ra, sounds like an outtake from Fred Frith's Speechless or Gravity albums. It's definitely got that guitar sound, but played against off-kilter grooving electronics. Ombience is an all too brief deep space excursion I enjoyed. The Om Is Freed is a lo-fi tribal acoustic psychedelic free-improv piece. And speaking of free-improv, Triple Duet brings in the horns for some wailing rollicking noisy free-jazz. Off Your Toadstool is a wild lysergic freakout in space. The psychedelia continues on Fake Burzum Ritual, but here we've got the Squeegeed take on a Raga, which is simultaneously mystical and mind-fucked. Choking The Unicorn features tribal percussion and electronic wildness. And Daydream Hallucination is an oddball but very cool combination of guitar and electronics. Sort of like free-jazz musicians performing carnival music.
I assume that concludes the Synchronised Fucking Up portion of the album because the remaining tracks are considerably longer. There's lots of great ideas on the shorter tracks, but in most cases they're screaming out for further development, and we get that in spades on the Pre-Emptive Flashbacks tracks. The nearly 12 minute Illicit and Explicit is a free-wheeling glom of free-jazz sax jamming along with noisy electronic aggression and spaced out soundscapes, avant-improv Rock guitar, efx'd voices, and church organ. Quadruple Duet features more free-jazz improv with multiple horns that sound like they're doing their own rendition of Coltrane's OM, along with guitar and voice samples too. What A Right Pair Of Bell Ends consists of electronic whooshes, howls and noise, free-improv and efx'd guitar, voices, jamming sax and all manner of effects. And The Final Comedown cranks out still more free-jazz, OM chants, eerie keyboard and guitar melodies, and noise-ambience, which brought to mind the Residents' Eskimo album interpreted by Coltrane. Yeah, I know, pretty wild, huh?
So for the 2009 sessions Squeegeed Clean were clearly in a jazz frame of mind. And if I felt more satisfied by the lengthier, better developed tracks, the music on their latest album - Fake Sun Ra Bootleg - is even more stretched out. Sun Ra's music was characterized by a brand of jazz that was accessible, but with his own unique stamp, while also exploring more avant-garde realms.
Fake Sun Ra Bootleg includes 4 tracks, all in the 11 - 21 minute range. The trip begins with Krazi Brains Ciruitry and Stump Wiggle. The keyboards definitely have a Ra sound. We've got freeform jamming on the keys, alongside cacophonous percussion, noise guitar, and other odd sounds. Throughout this 16+ minute track we hear shades of Sun Ra at his most experimental, a dash of Soft Machine, a bit of surreal old time sci-fi flick soundtrack mixed with Sunday morning mass, and the Star Wars alien cantina band. Nah, that's not Krazi... it's FUN!
The 11+ minute It's Just A Placenta For An Artificial Dinosaur starts off dark and moody. Quiet but steady jazz drumming lays the foundation for bursts of piano, guitar, and electronics, all surrounded by a light noisy ambience. Horns are soon introduced, at first laying low in the background and only gradually coming to the forefront. Once we're more overtly in jazz mode the drumming reminds me of electric-era Miles Davis, but the horns and electronics keep the Sun Ra theme firmly in mind, and of course Squeegeed Clean add an avant-spaced out touch to the entire proceedings.
Unexistant Sliming Rang begins as a chaotic keyboard, noise and percussion jam. Some of the keyboard sounds remind me of Soft Machine, and much of this brought to mind elements of Soft Machine's Third album, though at the same time there's a parade of wild noises and sounds, some of which reminded me of the scene in the movie The Birds where the people take refuge in a phone booth and thousands of birds are kamikaze piloting against the windows. Later in this splatter-Jazz-Noise fest the music transitions to a more spaced out theme, with lots of great crazy effects, and ends up with a maddening glom of alien sounds, percussive clatter, and aggression.
I'd Rather Robot Animals Be Shoved Up Arses takes us deep into avant-deep space territory, with playful keyboards, rushing soundscapes, swirling UFO engines, wailing, blurping and bleating alien sounds, voice samples... this is a collage piece, and a massive one at that as Squeegeed Clean explore the most acid drenched corners of the cosmos. And this ain't yer grandmother's run-of-the-mill ambient, soundscape space excursion. These guys throw in everything along with the kitchen sink, the toilet, and all the shit that was cluttering up the medicine cabinet. And, at the core, they somehow manage to stay true to the experimental spirit of Sun Ra. This is what you get when creative hometapers take their influences and let their imaginations run wild without inhibition or restraint.
In summary, LOTS going on here and repeated attentive listens will be rewarded. Squeegeed Clean excel at bringing together disparate elements in a way that creates what I would consider Avant-Jazz inspired Psychedelia in Space. If you've read this far and like music that's both challenging and fun, and demands your attention, you'll find much to occupy your time and mind with Squeegeed Clean.
For more information and to download the albums, you can visit the Squeegeed Clean Bandcamp site at: http://squeegeedclean.bandcamp.com
Reviewed by Spaceman33