Kevin Drumm: Necro Acoustic
Pica019. 5CD BOX SET.
CD1. Lights Out
New album of necro acoustic material recorded 2006-2008.
Reissue of the limited edition double cassette previously released on Hospital Productions in 2009.
Previously unreleased material from 1998-1999 and 2008 + reissue of Drumm's tracks from split LP with 2673 on Kitty Play Records (2005) + the limited edition LP on Dilemma Records (2008).
CD4. No Edit
New album of prepared guitar material recorded in 2009.
First full lenght release of this classic track heard in edited form on the "Comedy" album. This is the full 55 minute version as recorded by Jim O'Rourke in 1996. Believed to have been lost for years, but recently discovered.
Packaged as a solid box with gold print, individual CD-wallets and 24 page booklet.
Price per box $45 + postage.
Ppd within Europe: $52
Ppd rest of the World: $57
Make payment to paypal: mail [at] lassemarhaug [dot] no
Kevin Drumm, "Necro Acoustic"
Unlike the previous three box sets from the wonderful Pica Disk label, Necro Acoustic is not as much about surveying a career as it is showcasing the full repertoire of Drumm. Sure, there’s archival material dating back to 1996 that has never seen the light of day, but there are two discs of purely new material, as well as some recent (but extremely limited) tracks as well.
The first disc in this set, Lights Out, is a mere half-hour, but as painful as it is, I don’t think anyone could stand for it to be any longer. Recorded between 2006 and 2008 using just two pulse generators, a filter, and feedback, Drumm builds a grating composition of punishing noise. The opener "Spraying the Weeds" begins innocent enough, with its deep space pulses and static that sound like a more sparse, brittle version of CCCC until a harsh ringing sound pierces through, swelling up to be more and more uncomfortable. The pain continues into "Blistering Statick," with the tinnitus inducing pitches contrasting against deep bass swells, and eventually an almost melodic layer, sounding almost like the cheap jingle of an ice cream truck. The short "Needleprick" cranks up the high end to ultrasonic territory: I don’t have a dog, but I wish I could see one respond to this little piece of pain. The massive closing "Idle Worship" is almost a pure endurance test: mid-range insect buzz and painful, overdriven high end create a wall of relatively static sound, with minor changes occurring as its 15 minute duration continues on.
The second disc, Malaise, is a reissue of a long out of print double cassette on Hospital Productions, presented here in 11 different tracks for convenience. While still harsh as all hell, there’s a bit more variation to the pieces here: the first has such a filtered sound it could be playing off of a cell phone, but occasionally lets loose into untreated blasts of noise. It’s not an overly abrasive one, but one that is more textural and varied. The third segment has a similar approach, with maximalist ambient passages focusing more on tonal dynamics than harshness. Tracks two and six fill the need for the harsh noise wall thing, the former’s jet engine rush and layered noise feels like a nod to the Incapacitants or other old school practitioners. Track nine, clocking in at 15 minutes, avoids the harsh route entirely to focus on walls of oscillator tones, like a massively sustained organ played as loud as possible, to create a more forceful approach.
Decrepit is the compilation disc of the batch, combining pieces recorded between 1998 and 2009, some of which have been previously released. The two part "Dilemma" was originally released as a one sided LP, but is two variations on the Kevin Drumm sound: the first part is cut up feedback and treated guitar noise, with the occasional puff of analog static, while the latter throws out an almost rhythmic bed of noise with sharp, cutting static on top. The tracks from a split LP with 2673 appear here as well: "Totemic Saturation" sounds like a techno synth patch in its death throes, buried amongst layers of harsh grime that grows to a massive swell, but never loses that bit of familiarity. "The Blurry Stupor" is one where the harshness is restrained, allowing the multitude of sounds to be heard individually, creating a hazy sound collage rather than a digital enema. The remainder of the tracks stay more in the world of noise, from the painful noise sheets of "Stomach Acid" to the filtered static and fuzz, but with a digital sheen overall, of “Band Pass.”
The other new and exclusive material here is No Edit, an hour long track in two parts using only the most rudimentary of sources: prepared guitar, EQ, two pedals, and a Marshall mini-amp. Because of its sparse instrumentation, there is an overall thinner sound: beginning with the noise immediately, one can almost hear the poor little amp in pain, vomiting out guitar squall resembling a detuned AM radio more than a Marshall stack. The focus is more on the scraping of strings, and the second half is a bit more mellow (or perhaps the amp just gave out at this point). The latter portions are subtler, focusing on sustained rattles and the occasionally overt string pluck.
Finally, the closing disc, Organ, is one of Drumm’s earliest works, which appeared heavily edited on the Comedy disc from 2000. Here, it is presented in its entirety: nearly 55 minutes of two organs blasting through guitar amps and effects. The structure is pretty rudimentary: there’s alternating sustained chords and key bashing throughout the duration, but power develops through the simplicity. The sound becomes this massive, monolith of noise that is subtly treated through pitch changes and effects as it goes on, but as a whole it takes the sound of such a "big" instrument and blows it up to epic, nearly absurd proportions.
Again, I’m sounding like a broken record, but Lasse Marhaug has done beautiful work, presenting the five discs in a clamshell box with a booklet full of pictures of what looks to be abandoned homes, providing appropriate imagery for the sounds of filth and decay that are contained within. That, coupled with the variety of material presented makes this a great set: those less familiar with Drumm’s work can get a good overview of his career while the hardcore fans will find enough new material to enjoy.
(Creaig Dunton, Brainwashed.com)
You may have noticed I haven’t been around a great deal. One reason is because I went and visited my folks in the rainforest in Far North Queensland but the main one though is because I was trying to tackle this massive fucker of a beast, Necro Acoustic.
Christ, where do I start with this one. I don’t for one minute claim to be a Drumm expert so there is no point reviewing this in reference to Drumm’s previous work. So I’ll simply review it as a noise fan. Necro Acoustic is a five CD box set of noise goodness released by Lasse Marhaug’s excellent Pica Disk label. As a package it is very nice indeed with the five separately titled discs a mix of old and new Drumm, noise and drone. In fact, to be fair, Necro Acoustic is five new Drumm records conveniently packaged together.
From the outset, I’ll nail my colours to the mast – Necro Acoustic is overwhelmingly brilliant. My problem is how to describe it to you with even a sliver of intelligence. Sure it is all about distortion and layers and blips but so is a Merzbow record and this, my friends, is a very different beast indeed. I don’t plan to write about all the discs but to give you a taste if what to expect my two favourite discs are Decrepit which includes tracks recorded between 1998 and 2009 and the single track record Organ from 1996.
Most tracks on Decripit are previously unreleased except for a couple at the end which appeared on vinyl in various guises. It runs the gamit from harsh noise, high-pitched drones to repetitive electronic nirvana (Totemic Saturation). What Drumm does on the majority of the track is produce sketches in manipulated and controlled distortion. It is some of the most intelligent and clever noise you may ever hear.
Organ was recorded by Jim O’Rourke in 1996 and made an appearance in an editted form on Drumm’s album Comedy. This is the first time the entire piece has made an appearance on any format. The track itself (all 50 + minutes of) shifts between mid-level drone and doom laden distortion all created with an organ and various filters and effects pedals. As a listening experience it is a strange one and the only words I can think of to describe it are it invokes a gentle malevolence. It’s the kind of drone track that begs to be played on the best equipment available.
The other records in this box set are Malaise which is a reissue of a douple cassette released on Hospital Productions in 2006. No Edit is a duo of prepared guitar and oscillator pieces recorded last year and Lights Out is four tracks recorded between 2006 and 2008 using two pulse generators and band-pass filter. It’s all extremely good and I know that Necro Acoustic is a big investment but if you buy only one more noise record this year it should probably be this. (http://ducksbattlesatan.com/)