Thursday, March 31, 2011

Black Orphan on Volar Records

This Black Orphan single just came in with a batch of Volar's latest...I actually remember this Melchior/F&O's split from a long time ago and it looks like they've been busy this past winter.
So I put this on, not really knowing where that mask face was taking me and damn if you don't go one minute from stripped down primal rock to nightmare electronic death in the space of a few minutes in the world of singles, that's 7inches. This single is a 4 song, mini EP from Black Orphan which I know Mr. Sniper would greatly appreciate.

The A-Side, 'Metal Leg' is a chopped heavily gated fuzz guitar with live drums and all kinds of ancient synth sounds glitching. There's a deep hardly discernible Sisters of Mercy vocal gothing away under the definitely home recorded sounding affair. The claustrophobia and the alienation that these sort of sounds inherently have when patched straight onto magnetic tape, bounced down, and dubbed.

The next one, 'Asteroids' is surprisingly melodic once you get under the haze of layered guitars, that trebly click from a disembodied drum track rising out of the underwater hiss. A phasery warbling vocal gives this ominous bass heavy track some breathing room and catchiness. This theremin-like solo is a nice touch. 'Asteroids' is almost sing-a-longable except that there isn't a human voice to recognize. There's humanity is all over these changes and it still has the warped sensibility of a more experimental Lou Barlow cassette collage. When it either gets sick of hearing it's own voice that it injects this machine and dehumanizing effect into the mix to stay surprising especially to the creators.

The front of this sleeve even echo's Blank Dogs mask iconography. Of course it's always creepy to have this human stand-in staring back at you, whose lack of expression never changes, it's a good choice for the robots. Then on the reverse there's some kind of disturbing nail ridden man doll. A bit heavy handed maybe, but why not scare off the alt country scene looking for a good cry and maybe appeal to the metal crowd.

'Doorways', from the B-Side keeps this intense hyper layered, 4track guitar sound going. Also like Blank Dogs, when you finally get down to that base melody, it sticks with you. It's not easy to unearth, and the harsh electronics keep pushing back but that's all part of the challenge here.
'Slain' has a decidedly goth feel, digital tom pad rhythms and (actual) organ sound with electronics. Here a real human voice only can whisper 'Ahhhh' in a quiet wail. The sounds are sci-fi - detached from any organic instrumentation or even those sounds that attempt to mimic an instrument. They get into the machines and program the sine waves, the envelopes so this hissy bleep isn't going to remind you of anything out there in the natural world.
These sounds have that unsettling quality because they only exist in synth, it's a subconscious instrument and Black Orphan is aware that it's not a cheap imitation of life, but another form altogether.
So it stays creepy, they even exploit the atmosphere and it's caught between the dawn of synth days and the nihilism and alienation of a punk sound. It's all slightly hidden, shrouded in being captured on second rate equipment. But I wouldn't have it any other way.

Disturbing in that subtle intellectual cold way, rejecting the huge sound metal surface horror and getting deeper into something that's hard to leave behind.

Waiting for more of the intersection of angsty high school 7Inches and the realities of real problems 7inches.

If anything else on the label remotely resembles this single, I'm going to have to do some ordering from Volar Records, like the Destruction Unit LP, Dirt Dress 7", Pope Anything 7", Cold Pumas 7" super pack for $30 bucks!

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