Violence and the Sacred “Arkinoid” CDR (2011)

CDR cover“Arkinoid” was original released on cassette by Sound of Pig in 1987 and like that year’s “Lost Horizons” was recorded live at The Fallout Shelter, although 2 months earlier.  Given the close proximity in time, stylistically these two releases are fairly similar, as well as both improvised.  Again the quartet uses synth, beatbox, tapes, cello and guitar with the mysterious St. Deborah’s prerecorded voice.  Here the narration pulls from Samuel Beckett and Alfred Jarry.  The majority of the disc does focus on instrumental passages, but overall does not strike me as significantly different from the previously reviewed “Lost Horizons”.  Most of what is said there also applies to this disc.  “Arkinoid” does features a bonus track recorded later that summer at Kathedral A which was previously released on the cassette compilation “A View from Somewhere” along side fellow Canadian artists Wigglepig, Sucking Chest Wound, Electrostatic Cat and John Oswald, among others.  Because of its similarity, although here using Friedrich Nietszche as a text source, it seamlessly fits in with the rest of the disc.  This would seem to replace the October 23, 1986 recording that was featured on the original cassette as the disc’s total time is around 51 minutes.  As with others in the series, this comes in a colorful Digipak reproducing portraits of the text’s authors, the original cassette artwork, a section of the original flyer, and a trio of video stills.

Viosac – VATS7

Violence and the Sacred “Lost Horizons” CDR (2011)

CD coverA complete mishmash of sounds competing, blending, overlaying and combining, this 1987 recording comes from a particularly active, at least from the standpoint of releases published, period of this Canadian group’s history.  Formed in 1985 to take advantage of an opening slot on a Chris & Cosey concert, the ensemble kept busy through the mid-1990s, eventually disappearing for a while after their 1992 CD for Artware Production in Germany, and finally reforming in 2006.  This disc reconnects the two halves of a live performance at The Fallout Shelter in Toronto which were originally split into two cassette releases for  Harsh Reality Music and Corrosive Tapes.  The music is created from synths, beatbox, cello, guitar and a fair amount of material from pre-recorded tapes.  While definitely in an experimental mode, it does avoid falling into the industrial or noise realms so popular at that time as it relies so much on free improvisation.  A comparison might be made to H.N.A.S., who were their label mates on Freedom in a Vacuum, and to whom they were absorbed for a one-off H.N.A.S. concert in Toronto in March of 1991.  But while H.N.A.S. would drift into the more musical and song based material, Violence and the Sacred keep to a queasy miasma with the voice taking the role of narration.  Read by St. Deborah, the majority of the text seems to be drawn from the influential proto-surrealist novel “Les Chants de Maldoror” by Le Comte de Lautréamont.  Her voice occupies a forward position, not being obscured by the musicians, although disappearing from the performance for several minutes at a time.  The more occluded voices come via the tapes added by the three musicians: Scott Kerr, Graham Stewart, and Ted Wheeler.  While many of these sources appear to be drawn from the detritus of popular culture, I also recognize bits of Jim Roche’s monologues and what might be a bit from a Jodorowsky soundtrack.  Besides the textual orientation of much of the disc, the music seems apart from the strictly experimental realm due to Ted Wheeler’s languorous guitar soloing throughout.  The shifting path does keep a consistent dynamic throughout, never becoming overly bombastic or minimal.  Packaged in a four-panel Digipak, the cover includes a few shots of Cal Woodruf and Wheazel Lizard’s multimedia (slids, films, video and projections) visuals from the concert.

Viosac – VATS8