Tuesday, February 14, 2012
David Hahn on Fin Records
From Seattle's FIN records, this single from David Hahn appeared in the mailbox the other day. David is a classically trained performer and composer who now works in sound design and electric guitar explorations. Approaching experimental music from this talented classical background reminded me of when I interned at CRI in college and was exposed to a huge amount of classical experimental music from Harry Partch and David Del Tredici to Bun Ching Lam and the volumes of Bang on a Can...they used to let me listen to the CD promo copies, and I got a pretty insane education while going through mail orders. Even then though they had stopped pressing vinyl at that point, which is still a shame, looks like they've gone on to merge with New World Records, and carry everything through Amazon, glad it's still available but even better, labels like FIN are picking up the torch...and on a single? Perfect.
In all the press materials for this one though it doesn't mention exactly how David ended up working with Fin....up until now they seem to have stuck to contemporary sounding rock and roll, and to then go off on this avant garde tangent is further evidence of how far they're willing to go in their 'if-we-like-it-we-press-it' philosophy. It's opening up a whole new avenue of possibilities for FIN and as an audience following their eclectic choices...you really have no idea what to expect next.
The A-Side, reminds you that it's never not going to be disturbing to hear George Bush's speeches, but especially on a seven inch...how dare he invade this sacred ground. David's recut a bunch of them perfectly to create phrases about George being high and then the slapping sound of a couple going at it abruptly cuts in. This demented mix is nauseating enough with George Bush, Cheney and sex but then this piece is bringing up the kind of violence that comes with war...really disturbing to put them together like this, I don't think it's something that you're ever going to get desensitized to. This is a severe audio cut up collage, which is designed to make you angry, the cow's moo-ing...the nuke talk...honestly, you could get scared for days about how close we've probably come to destroying everything. Those groups who are stockpiling weapons and food for The Walking Dead scenarios, don't seem like such wacko's sometimes. But this combination of porn and war makes a sick kind of sense...how much those primal impulses come from the same place.
I remember listening to 808 state or Jello Biafra's spoken word tapes, sure his politics seem completely insane at times, but the effect they had on 16 year old self righteous me was just as important as CRI. Is everyone sleeping?...there's some serious shit happening in the world...why doesn't anyone get it?
David is legitimizing this strategy again, it's an area that hasn't been mined in a long time.
The B-Side, Chernobyl, is a crazy warped, synth kind of sound, rising twisting around the space...it's actually a bowed electric guitar making this slow, tortured array of sounds. A totally ghostly, alien terror track, I thought, completely removed from any kind of human hand, but then there's hardly a circuit at work here...I really think Boris, Aids Wolf and Prurient..those kinds of experimental bands are doing the same kinds of things Rhys Chatham is doing, but without the institutional training. They don't have to prop up some kind of academic history...not that it shouldn't exist either...there's a lot both of those worlds could take from each other.
Maybe David's trying to remind us things are still pretty precarious, for every arab spring, there's a Greece getting ready to tear down their own colosseum. The obvious scary cold war has been replaced with fringe terrorism. The sounds of nuclear winter? I'm not going to lie, I will go find an old dodge charger and a dog with a bandana and drive around stealing gas.
And another question...what vinyl plant refused to press this? Because of sex noises? Wow. Or tell me they love Bush. They'll press Ke$ha...but have a problem with this? Unbelievable.
Get this one from FIN in their usual serious package: very cool, light gold vinyl, and a pink inner sleeve with an essay from David on both sides.