Sunday, October 16, 2011

Bryan Lewis Saunders on Private Leisure Industries Records

Got this 12" in from Private Leisure Industries, a full length from Bryan Lewis Saunders, who turns out to be an album of stand-up tragedy. This got me thinking about the late '90s when KRS had their "Wordcore" single series...I forgot that their first release was a split spoken word album... (actually the first 10! - ed), and I remember a friend working at a station upstate and playing a lot of this guy... I can't find his name or album anywhere....all I remember is some kind of beat behind him while he talked about how 12 packs of soda are so cheap they really start fucking with you thinking you could start selling soda...eating fast food, not having any money...sort of like Slacker, but angry...just bitching about everything. But this poetry slam stuff seemed to be going around during that period....don't forget John S. Hall, detachable penis, the resurgence of The Beats appreciation...Gap khaki ad's with Kerouac, apple ad's with Ginsburg, unpublished letters anthologies, documentaries...a huge show at the whitney...I think it was around this time that Burroughs did some kind of collaboration with Kurt Cobain? Or Henry Rollins putting out spoken word and poetry books....I guess looking back there was a fair amount of dealing with this untapped genre. It wasn't just artists reading their already published work anymore it was coming up with material that was specific only to the recorded piece. I feel like that's where we get to Bryan...sure there's a huge 20 page xerox booklet in the liner notes with the lyrics to the tracks, but I feel like these three specific pieces are so tied to the sounds happening in concert that it hopefully elevates it beyond just spoken word? At least I think that would sort of be the next logical step for anyone bringing this back.
There's three massive tracks here all titled "Bedbugs 1-3". The first one gets into a tragic relationship with a pretty messed up girl, with a droning nightmare background. His slightly distorted vocals, weirdly phrased, half singing at times, are at points delivered with a low measured unemotional repeated rhythm and other times he breaks out of character to get scary, or pan the story back and forth across the speakers. It's not a story with a narrative plot, I think a lot of it comes off as disjointed prose diary entries, as weird as that waking dream must have been. Or really high composition notebooks.
It's also reminding me of Joe Frank and his awesomely weird stories on NPR Sunday nights...he's a lot like Bryan, coming up with a whole experience, it's not just a reading, but using all audio to create this weird atmosphere.
This second track is tough.. thanks to a morse code style beeping that repeats on and on for the entire half side of the A-Side, with Bryan barely drunk mumbling underneath. The shrill high pitch tones at random intervals....I'm sure it was thought out enough to represent something, but I haven't been able to properly get through this one. It's impossible to pay attention to what he's saying, and maybe that's the point. An audio bedbug is caught in this one, always there, impossible to get rid of.
The B-Side starts out with an entertaining tv channel 11 report about a bedbug infestation, and interviewing some guy who talks about wearing layers of clothes and tucking them in...I got news for him, in Greenpoint everyone has either have a reaction to their bites or you don''s like mice or with them. They are totally disgusting, but what are you going to do? Honestly the solution is worse than the problem...spraying everything you own with poisons...wrapping everything in plastic for months. They live forever. Bryan really fucking hates these things....I don't blame him. I just know resisting is completely futile. Unless everyone in the world deals with them all at once. They'll just come from the apt next will make you insane and take over your life. I understand where Bryan is coming's hard to listen to his whispered clinical diagnosis of the problem. I honestly don't want to hear's completely paranoid...the ramblings of a madman....but this is where Bryan's at by the end of this ordeal. I sympathize.
I will play this for the kids trick or treating.
Truly terrifying.

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