Sunday, September 11, 2005

Mouthus : Slow Globes : Troubleman Unlimited
Listen, I'm not going to tell you that I hate retro music. Traditional song forms still carry quite a bit of weight and it's always possible to fashion something personal and expressive from the vast smorgasbord of styles now available to us, but the more bands like Mouthus I discover, the less patience I have for it. See, you could point out various precedents for this duo's stoned noise-fog in the history of recorded music, and they would be some obscure ones in Mouthus' case, but really they're just echoes, dislocated fragments. This is what David Keenan would call "form-destroying": music that not only rejects traditional song forms, but handily makes the case that they're no longer necessary.
Mouthus use their skill at disorienting to entrance. The drumming and guitar playing hint at free jazz, and yet they loop in repeated patterns, drifting in a haze of moaned vocals and effects-pedal gauze. If you found any joy in Lynch's Elephant Man, a steam-obscured period piece from a time that never really existed, there will be something here for you. For me, it's like the sounds I've been waiting to hear are finally being created. With the intense feedback squall of Loam almost completely gone, Mouthus have revealed the pulsating organic beast at the core of what they do, while still creating a remarkably dense haze for only two people. The last track on side A even contains some majestic psych-rock guitar action, until the wheels fall off and the whole thing descends into a disjointed nightmare of steam blasts and moans. By the end of side B, you might think you'd stumbled into an Avarus jam, but Mouthus never let loose with that kind of abandon. Everything is tightly reigned in, each song is its own idea, and hypnosis is maintained with the simplest of means. These guys do this so well, so consistently, it's clear they've found some twisted form of zen transcendance amidst the darkness and fog. Which means there might be hope for me. Right?

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