Rhythm and Sound w/Tikiman

Showcase(Burial Mix 1998)

http://www.mediafire.com/?zzaciixz2mc

Rhythm and Sound

Carrier/Density (R&S 005)

http://www.mediafire.com/?jdzkifmjnyi

Great dub already sounds murky, filthy and reeking of a bong hit from another planet. I’ve always been a big fan of dub as a soundtrack to long drives to nowhere in particular since the music itself seems to lack a destination as well. In addition, the German Basic Channel label and its catalogue of stoned house and electronic meanderers also provided ample company on many of these same daytrips. Therefore I was tickled pink when I discovered that Basic Channel’s main duo of Mark Ernestus and Mauritz Von Oswald  were recording their own hypnotic take on dub under the moniker of Rhythm and Sound. The icing on this pot brownie was their collaboration with Paul St. Hilaire, otherwise known as Tikiman, a reggae vocalist whose laid-back delivery melded perfectly with their stoned, teutonic approach to dub.

Showcase is one of their earliest works and their only full-length collaboration with Tikiman and it may be my favorite release by both parties. I love the later lps and 12’s, but this one sounds most like it was recorded underneath the ocean as each beat and gently repetitive motif reverberates out of the speakers like a wayward pinball. It is mellow to the nth degree as Ernestus and Oswald’s compositions are almost narcoleptic in that they minimal to point where they almost threaten to fall apart into nothingness. There is a subtle, plodding bass that holds it all together, but Tikiman’s vocals are deconstructed and diced until they are sometime just used as accents instead of showpieces. However, Tikiman shines in his own sleepy manner when he strides to the forefront, but it serves best as a quick contrast to the echo and swirl of most of the album. Sometimes music can swing and groove from the sparsest of sounds and it is a testament to all involved that such a minimal album hits that sweet spot where the listener can do little but nod along to every single note.

As an added bonus, I am posting one of their later 12’s.

V-3-Photograph Burns

November 11, 2008

V-3

Photograph Burns (American/Onion 1996)

http://www.mediafire.com/?bng3hcygd43

Rick Rubin’s American label started an offshoot named Onion Records that was run by record collector extraordinaire and Matador Records alumni, Johan Kugelberg. Kugelberg wasn’t given long to establish the label, but the Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments, V-3 and Brad Laner’s Electric Company weren’t exactly the most accessible acts to invest into during your opening salvo. Personally, I loved all three of these releases although the Stiffs Inc. and God Lives Underwater albums left me cold. Anyway you slice it, the label gave all three a wider stage to exploit during the last days of the major label feeding frenzy of indie rock esoterica and its also-rans.

I really found it kind of heartbreaking that V-3 mastermind and Columbuis, OH icon jim Shepard committed suicide in 1998 because Photograph Burns was the one album where he was able to channel all of his misanthropy and alienation into something conflicted and beautiful. It’s an angry and somewhat hateful album that takes aim at love, friendship and a multitude of betrayals, but avoids the psychedelic ugliness and swaths of noise that masked the bruised heart at the center of his work. It doesn’t hurt that his backing band tears through the punk numbers with a ferocity that finally matched the seething emotions rampant in his previous work. The opener “American Face” may be one of my favorite punk songs of the 90s as it busts through the gates like the MC5 as Shepard rails against American egotism while wishing he could remain in a narcotic cocoon. It’s full of loathing of country and self wrapped in a catchy shambles of a tune that I never get sick of listening to these days.

The slower tunes remind of Smog’s mid 90s work on Red Apple Falls and Doctor Came at Dawn if they were influenced by Chrome and the Killed by Death Series. In fact, Photograph Burns reminds me alot of Chrome’s Red Exposure if you subrtracted the beats and added even more bad intentions. When you trace the steps through his discography, Photograph Burns is even more depressing since his battles with narcotics and depression become apparent. I never knew the man, but his albums make me wish he found some sort of peace in his end because his music is a portrait of a tortured soul who never found any semblance of happiness.