Friday, August 16, 2013

Black Caucus on RFC Records

When exactly did Hard rock and Metal take a cue from free form noise jazz and become a new entity entirely? Sometime in the ‘80s when everything was game for avant garde experimentation, John Zorn with “Naked City” combined classical composition and no wave thinking to push the limits of music. Half of the appeal is their outsider sound, free of conventions and structures which falls into the ‘Big deal, I could make a lot of racket’ camp and the other half is that these guys all come with heavy credentials and years of exploring every crevice of recorded tunes. Needless to say Black Caucus, the three piece on this single does more than just make a lot of racket. They seem to be drawing from Don Caballero’s complexity and Mike Patton’s experimental metal. It’s a heavy, jagged sound that’s as cold as post punk but with the odd complexity of progressive noise.

"Anus" is already off to a great start with the title and bass line, which is kind of a dirge sound of old Seattle sludge with crunchy, stuttery guitar lines that rise up out of that molasses. Kitty's vocals have a Shellac, Steve Albini disjointed feel like his aggressive, concise statements. Shattered pieces of guitar come distorted with heavily gated swatches in a patchwork. Kitty’s vocal quickly runs the range from a quieter, thoughtful delivery to manic and possessed but the whole thing has plenty of room to breathe. We aren’t talking about walls of layered sound to overwhelm, these are short, quick bursts of fire and lyric.
The next one, "Rickets (for Cory) comes out with unconventional sounds reminding me of a hardcore influenced take on These Are Powers, minus a lot of the electronics. Black Caucus is more into natural sounding fits. They repeatedly settle on those weird jazz style melodies and combo lines that devolve and would turn into chaos if they weren’t wired in circles to fold back in on themselves. It's not the kind of thing to interact with, just stand back and witness this kind of noise that’s like translating a spoken conversation into a math rhythm. They use all kinds of effects briefly like a hint of a phaser, even layering on multiple personalities with her vocal. Something of a cathartic feel if it weren't so structured. "Gout" scrapes chords, bashes strings and Kitty is after a psychotic vocal like some kind of Times square preacher, talking about the Devil and Jesus. They don’t dwell anywhere rhythmically or melodically, it's all meant to exist for a moment. Look close pay attention.
B-Side’s "Cleft” gets out pedals for those guitars for bizarre, unnatural sound, thrown on repeat. Jumbled drums, wah wah distortions in a spastic rhythm form this nightmare. There's nothing organic or traditional about this, it’s pushing boundaries with no idea of how you’d keep these pieces together, it's like they let the idea of construction get completely away from them. "Sunburn" has that same ability to switch up a melody and Lightning Bolt the proceedings without the onslaught "Flaccid" starts with meowing? Back in that dirge groove, cramming a rhythm out of low-end tones, the scuzzier and less melodic sounding, the better. Its got a forward momentum like a zombie, the joints isn’t working right, it isn't fluid or graceful. As if these guys weren't already messing with convention, Kitty pushes things further by commanding a gentleman to "Eat it! Fuck it! That's a good boy." Not for the easily offended…or maybe it is.

Get it from the band direct, MP3's are over there too.

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