Vital Weekly 626
SISSY SPACEK – CALIFORNIA AX (4CD by Helicopter)
SISSY SPACEK – FRENCH RECORD (CD by Dual Plover)
JOHN WIESE & C. SPENCER YEH – NEW YORK / ATLANTA (CD by Helicopter)
It might be a 4CD box, but that’s just Sissy being generous, as all four albums also have titles of their own and seem to have no direct connection to each other, not even concerning who’s playing (the only constants being John Wiese and Corydon Ronnau). So no idea what these albums are doing together in one plastic box, but hey, I won’t complain about Sissy overload, especially when it’s as diverse as this. Of course, ‘diverse’ is relative, as all of this is clearly right at home under that misnomer called Noise. So, a runthrough then: Album one is called “Tinsel Dripping Ink” and collects 26 short tracks, of which a couple are remixes by like-minded such as Gerritt, Oblivia (from Smegma) and Tom Recchion. I actually don’t think there’s a better introduction to the either the band or even the genre as this album, it sounds like a dictionary of noise music, with elements of basically every other experimental music style thrown in for reference. It’s quite something. Album two (“Police”) has less tracks , and they’re marginally longer, and apart from that they sound more like coming from an actual band playing. It has quite a jazzy/improvy feeling to it, maybe like a more quiet John Olson project. It gets more & more quiet with every track, until at the end you think you’re listening to some Japanese reductionist workout. Album three, which goes under the mystical title “Abreq Ad Habra” is two long pieces recorded for radio shows. All I can say is that I worry about the people listening to these radio stations without knowing what they got themselves into. “13-Tet Los Angeles” finally is two live sets by a larger ensemble and returns in sound a little to the second disc, albeit more lively. Everything is being scratched and scraped in good improv fashion. For a band not so known for it’s diversity, this 4CD breaks open that completely by showing only four possibilities of what could maybe be many more transformations for this unit.
And as if that’s not enough, there’s also the separate album “French Record”, released around the same time. On it, they get help from Kevin Drumm and C. Spencer Yeh as well as some others. As an album, it might be slightly more interesting then any single album from the box set (except for maybe the first CD), as it jumps all over the place like a hyperactive child, but it also has a element of humor which I can’t really explain, but it gives the whole record a sort of breeziness that is quite alluring. It’s always nice to hear a record that in every way sounds ,extreme’ but ends up being a very pleasurable and easy listen.
To top it all off, Mr Wiese has released another chapter in his ongoing road trip diaries with C. Spencer Yeh with shows from New York and Atlanta (after recently seeing an LP and a 7″ with performances from a UK tour) on one CD. Yeh’s violin destruction sounds as vital as ever, and the sound quality is supreme. Plus these two really seem to have good fun together. Really great.
This might be 6 Wiese CDs in 1 week, but if they sound like this, I can keep up this rhythm for many more weeks, if he could as well. So, keep ’em coming. (RM)