ALL THINGS IT
NO THING IS
WE ARE 2 PEOPLE , EXCEPT WHEN WE ARE MORE. WE DO THINGS, ACCEPT WHEN WE DO NO-THING.
Last week I looked at the Baltimore noisenik DJ Dog Dick—I'm not branching out too much by covering another Baltimore based noise band this time around. Nautical Almanac, which is the longstanding project of Carly Ptak and husband Twig Harper, has been one of the biggest influences in the background of all the freaky stuff going on in Bodymore Murderland. Their venue, Tarantula Hill, has hosted countless noise shows since 2001. The venue's founding involved nothing more than Twig and Carly stumbling upon a weird abandoned building and breaking in to build out the top two floors – Tarantula Hill's first show featured a then little-known Lightning Bolt. After several years of hosting shows in the squat, a group of volunteers and Baltimore city officials actually made the repairs to get the building up to code. No small feat.
From playing so many shows at their home and doubtless witnessing so many out-there musical concepts, Nautical Almanac's live sets have developed into a complete multimedia mindfuck. I saw them play a few months ago at NYC's video residency space Outpost. Carly had set up a giant tee-pee with flowing white cloth. She picked up a projector with a video of Twig and Carly visiting Disney Land (one of the funniest parts featured the two of them standing with Mickey and waving for an absurdly long amount of time and smiling...Mickey really must've been wondering what the deal with these weirdos was) and flashed it over the tee-pee. Carly took a flashlight and started waving a branch in front of it so that the leaves made patterns all over the venue's walls. She got inside of the tee-pee and held it up on her shoulders, walking it around through the audience with the Epcot ball superimposed on her.
Meanwhile, Twig was holding down the musical end with a complicated bunch of electronics and a homemade bowed string instrument with contact mic attached. An array of textures flowed out from the instruments, which Twig subbed in turn by turn with a mixer. It was one of the trippiest things I've ever seen—I do say trippy, since the band is definitely influenced by psychedelics. In fact, Twig has participated in some government tests on salvia in which he was given large doses multiple times and was observed by scientists in white lab coats with clipboards. They took notes as Twig entered an alternate universe.
A lot of the circuit bent instruments Twig utilized are homemade—he’s been working with manipulated and shorted electronics for over a decade. Many of Twig's instruments were also built by Baltimore's analog electronics mastermind Peter Blasser, whose company Ciat Lonbarde sells electronics and synths that are as genius as they are eccentric. One of Blasser's synths is a massive tapestry with paint splattered all over it. Inside the synth are a series of interconnected theremin, so that anybody who walks near the synth plays the theremin just by moving and interacting with the surrounding electromagnetic field.
Between those two, you can really see some things that are quintessential to American noise: electric synthesis techniques that aren't academic in feel despite their seriousness. All of the unearthly sounds the produced with heady home-brewed electronics are covered in skuzz and smeared with a punk-as-fuck aesthetic that's colored the work of an entire generation of American noise artists. In point of fact, Twig went to high school with Andrew WK in Michigan (you didn't know Andrew WK had an early noise project called AAB?) and was involved very early on with the crew up there that became Wolf Eyes. Evidence is seen in the very early Hanson records VHS "The Beast People". Witness that nonsense below...
NON REALITY THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ANYTHING BUT JAMMING THE CODE OF WHAT YOU THINK YPOU SHOULD KNOW.
There are colors everywhere, smells, sounds; chaos. And it is the most fun you have ever had. This is what listening to Nautical Almanac is like. Spastically heavy guitar parts. Pounding bass riffs. Amazingly on-point drumming. Actual keyboard parts (none of that one-note-hold-it stuff here. This two-piece from West Side Baltimore has been combining metal, melody, and general mind-blowing musicianship into one incredibly intricate and threatening package for five years now, marching to the beat of their own otherworldly drummer. With their 10th full-length, Death Metal for Pussies (Heresee Records). Nautical Almanac exhibit the ability to go back and forth between heavy driving riffs, quirky time changes, and euphoniously quiet thoughtfulness. All within the same track. And they record on a 16 track! As is reflected in reviews by the likes of indieworkshop.com, expedia.com, moviephone.com,Transworld Surf, pitchfork.com, zombierobotmonkeyninjapirate.blogpspot.com and Popshot Magazine, Nautical Almanac do indeed kick ass. In the early 90s, chanteuse Carly Ptak was the "Janey Appleseed" of west coast neo-psychedelia, sending former band members and pals out to form the Dandy Warhols, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and Slogun. Upon moving to Chicago to check out the rave scene, she met Twig Harper, founding member of Usaisamonster and Burning Star Core, two bands who continue on to great success to this day. It becomes fitting, upon listening to "The Nautical's" music, that the band hails from Chicago. When Tortoise and their contemporaries ushered in a new wave of instrumental music over a decade ago from the Windy City, it was a pastiche of genre-defying sound, simultaneously cohesive and expansive in influence. Since moving to Baltimore on Sept. 11, 2001, Nautical Almanac has spanned the gamut of inconsistency. On one album they ould be lavished with frothy critical adoration, the next the band would be torn apart, barely understood, everything but spit upon. One album they would be lauded as one of the greatest American avant-garde / acoustic-electronic bands in years, the next they'd be misappropriated as "arty-emo." In a recent interview with popular rock critic Brian Coldly, Ms. Ptak was heard to remark "Our "sound"... If you ever use the terms "Jazz Punk", "Art-Damage" or "Post-Hardcore Stew", I will personally come to Chicago and hang you by your soul patch from the Sears Goddamn Tower. That'll be some REAL Art-Damage. I don't know what to call it, but I fucking know what not to call it. " Harper chimes in, "Fifteen years after people like Derrick May and Frankie Knuckles kicked off the first surge of electronic mayhem in Detroit and Chicago, a varying spectrum of junk-harvesting Midwesterners like our "godfather of garbagtronica", MAGAS, constituted a whole new "savant garde. Climb onto this Crisco-coated locomotive and get the real deal of steel." With their upcoming tour they are hoping to wave high the flag of the current crop of "freak funk" bands who are all the rage in the British music press these days, but with their own flavour which is as American as chocolate chip biscuits and mom's apple tart. Their "take no prisoners", "no hold's barred", "whiskey drenched", "straight up rock and roll no chaser" brand of carnage will leave their audience utterly spent...And hungry! So why not order a Papa John's pizza on your Cingular Verzon phone on your way home from the venue? And if the show lets out early, and you need more entertainment, be sure to stop by Blockbuster and pick up the smash hit movie Ghostrider, now on DVD.
ROOTING FOR THE MICROBES REVIEWS:
Rooting for the Microbes would probably be an ideal album for cults to listen to. First off, it wasn't made with instruments -- or, for that matter, computers, or electricity (if the liner notes are to be believed), so cult compound-dwellers could emulate the sounds, even if their power supply was cut. Further, the album art seems tailor-made to be the language of a secret society, with characters that look like they should be covering the inside of a long-forgotten pyramid or shadowy suburban trade organization.
More importantly, though, the material on Rooting for Microbes would probably be ideal for indoctrination. It starts out jarringly, with the ear-splitting "Mind of Sharp Mind Fractured/Fractions", and works its way to the headache-inducing "Reason: Mythology Built Upon Physicall (sic) Vortextualation Step Side Step Steep Side Step" -- two songs that would be perfect for putting new "recruits" in a more susceptible state. From there, however, the music gradually changes, as Nautical Almanac shift their focus to "songs" like "Absorbing and Distorting" and "Million Synapses Frying". While no less dissonant, they're certainly less extreme: the duo turns down the volume a little, giving respite for the bleeding ears caused by the first few tracks. Whatever they may lack in the ability to cause pain, these songs more than make up for it in terms of sheer sinisterness. Listen closely enough and beneath the quiet, repetitive sounds you'll detect human voices -- and by the time you reach "Ocularis", it's impossible to believe that the low, chanting voices aren't muttering some cultish incantation. Given the preceding twelve tracks, it seems entirely possible that they are. This may well be the final stage of Nautical Almanac's plan for indoctrination and domination.
-- Matthew Pollesel
Nautical Almanac - Rooting for the Microbes
The music of Nautical Almanac emerges from Diamond Eyes recording studio in bursts of obscure gestures and willfully inexplicable language. The duo of Twig Harper and Carly Ptak, ensconced in the bowels of the Baltimore building they own and are currently renovating, make music that's extreme even by the standards of the noise underground which they're so crucially involved. On homemade and modified instruments, along with all sorts of non-musical implements, they build confounding, teetering structures of sound in alien languages, and though they'd likely eschew the classification, are true experimentalists in the best sense of the word. The music of Nautical Almanac is truly outsider art, and not the type that was long ago co-opted by the mainstream art world for the curiosity of the privileged. This is the real deal, retro-futuristic folk art created by twisted and cunning minds, music for the people, music that just might qualify the duo as noise's true hippies if it weren't for the fact that the sounds aren't exactly those of peace, love, and happiness.
Such a philosophy, however, finds its hindrances in the same characteristics that make it work; namely that any group that's so dedicated to new sounds, no boundaries, and an almost stream-of-consciousness technique is bound to be hit-and-miss. Nautical Almanc are no exception to this rule, though one could make a strong argument that the "quality" or listenability of the music is a moot point, because the duo's goal isn't in the product as much as the process, and as long as Harper and Ptak are finding new sounds through exploration and subliminal communication, all is well.
Rooting for the Microbes is one of the most recent of many, many Nautical releases, but it's definitely the group's most high profile offering, with inclusion on the Load roster guaranteeing the disc distribution and press that Harper and Ptak haven't yet encountered. There's no pandering to the masses here, however, as the album finds the duo (with a solid group of contributors) making sounds that are just as damaged as the duo's usual output. Armed with their voices and an array of instruments and implements (Nautical Almanac explicitly state, however, that the album was made completely sans electricity/computers), they create confusing constructions of mangled sounds and warped voices. The personnel responsible for the music changes continually, as Ptak, Harper, and ten collaborators step in and out of the spotlight; only two of the album's tracks feature Nautical Almanac, proper, in its duo form. This makes for diverse music and a distinct lack of stagnancy. The sounds aren't always pleasing, but there's no time for the mind to become complacent within the realm of these mad scientists' creations. It may be easy for some, even noise fans, to dismiss much of Rooting for the Microbes music, and, in a sense, they could be right. This music isn't always easy listening, or even pleasurable listening, but the moments at which it isn't interesting listening are few. Different tracks "work" better than others, and the hour's worth of music on the disc could be taxing listening for most, but given Nautical Almanac's goals, it's hard to label Rooting for the Microbes anything but at least a partial success. Singular opinions of the disc's aesthetic will vary, to be sure, but it's hard to deny the merit of this first foray for the duo into bigger, more widespread waters. Squares take cover, a major league freakout has arrived.
buy remote control adam strohm
2004 jul 30
Review by Bret McCabe
Somewhere, right now, a kid in America’s heartland just saw Nautical Almanac play, bought this CD, and is having his world irrevocably changed. Previously, he or she thought punk or rock or whatever had certain qualities—it was played with guitars, it was amplified, it had something akin to a beat that made him or her want to dance in place. Now, he or she is not only questioning that “definition” of music, but is also wondering if he or she is actually some highly evolved reptile. Rooting for the Microbes is yet another pothole in the path to describe the decade-long career of Nautical Almanac, here a collection of noisemakers gathered under the aegis of water-carvers Carly Ptak and Twig Harper. Created entirely on the homemade, human-powered contraptions Ptak and Harper Frankensteined in their West Baltimore home laboratory—as the CD proudly informs, “no computers or electricity were employed in the music making process”—Rooting takes contemporary noise back to the Cenozoic era, when we were first able to grasp and manipulate crap. Rooting’s 13 tracks—assaults whose titles, such as “Exterior Beater: Bluntly, Clumpy, Stumpy,” “Underlayment of Populist Skin: Bone Structure Dissolving,” and “1 Million Synapses Frying,” aptly convey their aural pleasures—are idea collisions that elude description; calling a sound “an electronically cut-up pulse” feels infelicitous given the instrumental parameters. Roots is a vocabulary of sounds vaguely familiar yet undeniably eardrum-washing new.
Reviewed by Dustin Drase
It’s hard to believe that 2004 marks the 10-year anniversary of the band Nautical Almanac. Truly, times have changed. The rise of Noise artists since the early 90s has taken a number of interesting twists and turns. If “rock” has become so bland that it has to constantly reinvent Joy Division and the Cure to be interesting, perhaps we have lost sight of the true musical messiah. In some ways, it makes perfect sense that music has lost its edge: record companies are in decline, so who wants to take risks on a “new” sound? Luckily, Load Records realizes purity when they see it, and have positioned themselves quite nicely as purveyors of the finest in Noise.
Nautical Almanac leaders Carly Ptak and Twig Harper are no strangers to junk. In 1997, they opened a small store on Division Street, in Chicago, aptly named “the Mystery Spot.” Although unbeknownst to me at the time, my own personal history is intertwined with that of Nautical Almanac: I bought an orange couch from the store. The Mystery Spot was just that, a complete mystery; an abstract collection of salvaged ephemera and whatnot, much of which should have remained dormant in the trash from which it was found. On first glance, Ptak and Harper’s musical group might appear as baffling. For the uninitiated, Nautical Almanac may seem nothing more than nonsensical mayhem. In truth, Rooting for the Microbes, is a sonic menagerie of palpable folk throb, unrefined, unconfined and completely unabashed.
Microbes finds Ptak and Harper joined by 10 other racket-jockeys from such laudable noise provocateurs as Forcefield, Costes and Paper Rad. While definitely not for the faint of heart, there is beauty amidst the chaos. The album’s standout track is undoubtedly “Widdeling the Reflex Fiddle.” With its warbled backwoods dementia and circuitous background wiggles, Nautical Almanac manage to transport the listener to some sort of outer space hillbilly jamboree. The band purport that no electricity or computers were used in the music making process for the album. The sounds you hear are from custom built contraptions; the banging of abstract plastic alloys, leather, wire and rubber. If there is truth in the band’s claim, then swoon at the feet of these sonic junkmen for pulling off a stupendous achievement of wailing bedlam. What we have here is a musical _expression outside its own time; witness the true sounds of Midwest-American folk music.
Nautical Almanac's Microbes, on the other hand, vehemently adheres to its outsider-art guns. To quote the liner notes: "No computers or electricity were employed in the music making process." Left to their rampant acoustic devices, N.A. captains Twig Harper and Carly Ptak, along with a host of collaborators, create a harsh, strange strain of folk. The combination of shrieks, moans, chants, warning bells, crazy braying and boinging, graceful banjo and vibraphone passages, and who knows what else accomplishes the band's sound mission of "being comfortable with being uncomfortable." For those of us who know the "uncomfortable" feeling well, it's an encouraging small step back to basics. (M.P. Klier)
They've been around forever setting and inspiring a particular scene and lately,
along with others in said scene, they're starting to get more attention. As
far as "today's noise music" goes, it couldn't happen to better people.
They're a freak-flag today's noise music couple who were at ground zero (Ann
Arbor circa 1993), and now they live in Baltimore where they're defining a new
urban pioneer lifestyle that the lifestyle mags simply aren't even gonna get
to. So the mystique is building, all to be thrown into the wind by this release.
Not because it isn't good, because it's absolutely definitive. It's just that
some of the more classicist folks who're discovering 'em might not be ready
for just how devil-may-carelessly this group approaches things. It's their highest
profile release ever and it sounds like all the material was conceived and recorded
it in a couple hours. Free-form fast-moving junk-noise, quite harsh, that indeed
sounds like what rooting for microbes might sound like if the process was really,
really confrontational. Track 1, "Mind of Sharp Mind Fractured/Fractions,"
is a short bee-scream polarizer, then track 2, "Exterior Beaten Bluntly,
Clumpy, Stumpy," has wasted vocals that I believe talk about "chokin'
my cock." Track 4, "Reason: Mythology Built Upon Physickall Vortextualation
Step Side Step Steep Side Step," might be the craziest one yet, and I just
realized that neither track 2 or track 4 have Twig on 'em, just Carly and other
guests. 4 does have Jim Drain, though. In fact, each track has at least one
guest out of a pool of 10 others that appear on the album.
It's this kind of on-the-fly multifaceting that makes them a must-see live band, and they've been on tour for months at a time, so they know it's a worthwhile effort. First and foremost, go see 'em live, and if you're interested in buying a record, maybe wait until you can pick one out at the show. They've done a lot of releases, mostly on handmade CDR, and they're all fine interchangeably, set apart by the great artwork, which is usually freakazoid hand-made dayglo stuff. The Microbes artwork isn't hand-made, but it's really good, in a surprisingly soft kind of way, complete with calligraphy and esoteric symbols. (Hippies. Just kidding, the front cover drawing actually reminds me of Paul Klee, and I'm pretty sure he was NOT a hippie.) But really, I don't know how often I'm gonna pull it out, because it'll just make me wanna see 'em live. OH SHIT! Here I am talking about how great they are live, and I just realized that RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE THEY'RE PLAYING TWO BLOCKS FROM MY HOUSE! And I'm sitting here glued to a computer writing about them instead of actually going to see them. At least I'm listening to their album, albeit not much louder than the baby monitor I'm also listening to. But if I didn't have a baby, I'd totally be there, man!
by Larry "Fuzz-O" Dolman
Artist: Nautical Almanac
Album: Rooting for the Microbes
Spliced from the same mutant gene pool as soundscrape engineers Wolf Eyes and even sharing the occasional member in James "Twig" Harper, Nautical Almanac traffic a weirder psychedelic extremity via even more abstract gadgets. Recently transplanted from the midwest to Baltimore, Harper and partner Carly Ptak have set up their own private alternate dimension in the city where Poe died. From their base at the self-named Tarantula Hill, the pair helms the HereSee record label, hosts gigs by fellow traveling fuzzniks and, of course, commits their own cracked frequencies to tape. Rooting for the Microbes (Load) is the latest report on the duo’s DIY voltage tests.
As noted on the record’s sleeve, Harper and Ptak eschew both computers and electricity itself in music generation. Instead they fiddle with a homemade matrix of peeled circuits and custom alloys. Rather than playing their instruments, Nautical Almanac inhabits them. Each of the disc’s 13 pieces comes titled with clear depictions attesting to the group’s visceral MO: “Absorbing and Distorting," “Cross Dementia," “1 Million Synapses Frying.” Clearly toying with both their own wiring and the listener’s, Harper and Ptak ease the flow of frittered zags and fizzling bolts only with brief silences. The steady spew of gnarled palimpsests pauses just long enough to allow more sonic bile to build-up.
They may tinker strictly with machines, but aside from the hardware Nautical Almanac has far more in common with the beardos of the free-folk movement than the anti-music industrialists of the noise scene. Beneath the tinnitus tones, broken pitch bursts and malfunctioning oscillator currents, it's the same freeform flux as The Sunburned Hand of the Man or even the Sun City Girls. Only it’s been corroded beyond recognition. The sinewy guitar lines and loose percussive rattle of the genre is more or less recalled in Harper and Ptak's suppurated toxic blotches.
Alas, not every lysergic spasm merits equal attention and in the end much of Rooting for the Microbes ends up rote avant histrionics. The antibodies may get quite a workout, but eventually Nautical Almanac’s home-grown strains of audio bacteria destroy only themselves.
By Bernardo Rondeau
The liner notes read "No computers or electricity were employed in the music making process." How that is possible baffles me, so I figure it must be a joke or a half-truth. On the other hand, how a record was made rarely matters to me more than how it comes out sounding and Rooting for the Microbes is a bit of a mixed bag in that respect. A consistent barrage of wailing scratches and interstellar waves covers up, for a majority of the album, strangely distorted natural sounds like accordians, bells, clocks, and laughter. This combination of failing equipment and indefinite references to some kind of ghost world run by clowns stays fairly interesting from beginning to start; but Nautical Alamanac's formula rarely changes. The rigid structure of each song somehow becomes apparent through all the smoke and noise half way through the album and makes the remainder feel like a repeat of the first filtered through some altered dimesion. I can't help but think that this random assortment of sounds is somehow comedic at its heart, maybe just a bit surrealist. The assault of scratches, wheezes, and whines are never threatening and, even at loud volumes, never inspire any kind of madness or unbearable torment. The spasmodic current of the album never allows for a consistency to build; any residue left behind by one sound is immediately destroyed by the following. "Cross Dementia" does nothing short of spread laughter and the closing "Ocularis" only winds everything down to a calm and and slightly more silent end. So what's missing? When the hidden track(s?) finally end and I'm left sitting in my room, I feel like Nautical Almanac forgot some important ingredients in their noise soup. For all their wackiness, Nautical Almanac somehow manages to tell the same joke over and over. Where another group or individual might succeed in making nonsense noise by severely widening the sound palette, Nautical Almanac stays static, relying on the gimmick of "no computers, no electricity" (if that is actually the case) to carry the album. It boils down to this: the noise just sounds like noise. It has no compositional value and just seems like a hindrance on some of the other sounds that are trying to be heard. Had some more variety been packed into the noise end of the album and then combined with all those excellent samples of the recognizable world, Rooting for the Microbes would have come away a lot more addicting than it is now. - Lucas Schleicher
T IS MY DUTY
Words : Doug Mosurock
nautical_almanac border=Oh boyz, have we gots noise. All these noise and experimental records coming out today are making my head spin and the voices are coming back. The sound of rock and roll explosions turning in on themselves is popular again, thanks to the efforts of a handful of American fringe dwellers and also some from abroad. But mostly Americans. In this country it is OK to travel around like a dirtbag and plug in wherever you want and blast away on some jerry-built electronic gizmos through an amplifier until the cops come. I applaud this; just this morning I heard some Dave Matthews soundalike busking his balls off in the subway station. Who needs to hear that on the way to work? Who can I talk to about the damage done to my psyche by this man’s power strumming and bulging neck muscles? Please give me dance beats, overdriven to the point of anonymity and maybe a circuit-bent Magical Musical Thing clenched in some hippie’s asshole and I will be pleased. This pleasure is shared by Nautical Almanac, who are celebrating some 10 years of making repellent sound that rides the wave of little worth, eats tuna from a can and parks its van down by the river. No wait, that’s not entirely fair, but tell that to the average Wayne or Jayne who had to deal with what comes out of their latest album, Rooting for the Microbes(Load). Claiming that “no computers or electricity were used in the recording process,” co-conspirators Twig Harper and Carly Ptak have excreted only the tinniest, most discrete electronic dribbles and spittles, mashed in confrontation with everything you hold dear. To the average stoner, this will sound like the noise jam that plopped down in the middle of Ween’s “Pure Guava”. But with the right kind of pharmaceuticals, their screeches and skronks will tattoo your cuticles with a plangent, almost folkish vibe of dunderheaded nonconformity.
NAUTICAL ALMANAC Rooting For The Microbes (Load) cd 13.98
From reading the recent article in The Wire about this new Nautical Almanac record we weren't sure whether to expect some noisy free rock phenomenon, or a frustratingly average noise record. Sadly it's a little closer to the latter. Talk of "anti-knowledge" and "chance experiments" cannot disguise the fact that this is just a noise record. No different than that RRR cassette you ordered through the mail 10 years ago. Bragging about how one knows nothing about music and can't play any instruments and doesn't ever want to learn, is the sort of rhetoric that only works if the result somehow transcends the equation. But, unfortunately, this DOES in fact sound like two people who can't play and don't know what they're doing. A sloppy, noisy, chaotic mess. Ear piercing shrieks, super distorted howled vocal skree, kitchen sink clatter, and just all sorts of abrasive noxious noise. Could be impressive if the bar hadn't been set much higher by countless other noise records (even the earlier NA records had a bit more to offer). But as with any improvised music, it's hit or miss, that's part of the excitement and urgency. This just happens to sound a bit like a miss. One of those records that ineveitably has you scratching your head and wondering why YOU aren't in your basement making a horrible racket and getting written up in The Wire. Well, why aren't you!? Depending on how you answer that question, you might actually want to check this out. -AGE OF AQUARIUS RECORD STORE, FRISCO.
NAUTCIAL ALMANAC 'CISUM' LP REVWIS
BYRON COLEY SAYS SO IN THE WIRE JULY 2003
"How Nautical Almanac, or any of the other groups associated with the
extreme edges of the new American electronic noise underground, fit into
the picture of 'music as we know it' is a real question. The insane
wobbling and instrumental barking that fills this picture disc LP is so
berserk, so difficult to grasp, contain or describe, that it almost
requires a new taxonomy.
There's a lot of stuff in this camp these days. Electronic post-core
anarchists are breaking loose from everywhere, creating assaultive or
hilarious hogwash from what are, ostensibly, primitive dance mook
generators. But what would Giorgio Moroder make of something like this? I mean the most musical parts on Cisum are like something ripped from the
soundtrack of an animated film about pelvic infections among Turkish women. And the non-musical bits are much stranger than that - something like code messages transmitted by squirrels trapped in deep space, or the squeaks an elevator control panel makes in a very dire emergency.
Nautical Almanac first appeared a few years ago as a tangential member of
the American Tapes/Hanson Records alliance, along with Universal Indians,Wolf Eyes and all else. Now they base themselves in Baltimore, Maryland and are on the way to creating a new mid-Atlantic noise treaty organisation.
Released on their own Heresee label, this album is a fairly spectacular
leap into the unknown. The group are currently engaged in a spontaneously
unfolding three month tour of the USA, which may well be the first hard
evidence of a new, cohesively sprawling underground scene. And this record, powerful in Dionysian overtones that place it far beyond the sniff shadow cast by glitch merchants, could be a rich philosophical tract in the
creation of something swift. As music, it may have its doubters, but as
pure sonic power it's undeniable."
NAUTICAL ALMANAC To ANOTHER AMERICAN Of CENTURY XXI the Nautical Almanac form a cândido and terrorist couple of that it has for habit to violently distill humorística and its disfuncional and spotted electrónica on the public. Spotted, it has that to say it, for a rude appropriation of the sounds that the technology leaves to moan, as "Cisum", the most recent work of this North American pair, thus demonstrates it. As in the times of Hank Williams, Muddy Watters or same Leo Kottke the music most urgent of today is, porventura, to be made again in esconsos places and little illuminated. Already not in suspected bars, declining motels or together to the lines of convoy, but in communitarian houses, insolvent galleries or artistic centers in self management. E the guitar, the banjo, the harmónica already had left has very of being the elect instruments. Others if add to them exactly arriving to supplant them. But music is born of and for the same reasons. Music made for the "people" same that "badly touched" or dismissed of any apparent one to know to make. In this still private place of criatividades lives the Nautical Almanac therefore what they make is unaware of for already the stamp of the taxinomias. Formed for James Twig Parker, a former-Wolf Eyes that, prays the legend will have walked run away from the FBI, and Carly Ptack, young artist noise, deriving of the state of Michigan, had established itself in the city of Baltimore, Maryland, where it stops besides establishing its proper publishing company - the Heresee - had made to be born a space where the musical interventions afectas to the new noises of the scene underground of U.S.A. could have place. Before some badly-understood appear they convém to underline that this electrónica (or if to want this appropriation of technological ways to produce sounds) is very far of congénere European. Similarities alone with the last research of the Mego and still thus reign the distances. This is a done electrónica of the despojos, the debris, the remaining portions. Made not with cuts or surgical colagens, but for intermediary of an extreme accumulation in which the sonorous density assumes the same relevance that we find in hardcore and in the trash-metal. To the Nautical Almanac it is enough to them such to reinventar its proper instruments: gathering up wires, handles, detectors of metals, alarms, removed sounds of its original contexts, sick computers or keyboards. In short, garbage or, if to want, electrónica give birth without hygiene conditions. Done music this yes with really existing conditions. Between húmus, the silica rust and remaining portions. After some CDR's and cassettes this couple of loving of the noise reached, this year, with picture-disc "Cisum" its more distinct step. Invoking in such a way concrete music as muzak, the heavy-metal and noise, it is divided in four simple subjects where the sonorous pulsões if occur in a done drift of false crescendos that if entrecortam before shocking. The voice of James Twig Parker hears algures, canine tooth with a smile, enters the trepidante advance of the shouts of the machines destitute of reason and pursued by one riff. It looms a playful side among this frightful cacophony. Suddenly a sound of a banjo becomes to notice... or same a forcene melody. But in the end alone it has place for our silence. Still thus the allure is immense... remembers "Videodrome"? Jose Marmeleira (Mondo Bizarre # 17)
MISCALANIOUS OTHER EVWIES OR WHATNOTS
Nautical Almanac is a band who I have always had trouble getting into on record, despite owning a healthy amount of their releases. Live they are a whole different ball game; perhaps one of the best live “noise” acts to be witnessed. Their live sets often take on the feeling of a happening or a performance piece. A loose ball of energy exploding at random, spiraling out of control. No Fun Fest, was a prime example of their anarchy in action. When Twig’s set up fried itself out of commission, it ended up on the floor, tossed there in a fit of anger. Twig then proceeded to break a plastic cup on his head, slam the microphone into his face and dive off the stage. Meanwhile Carly kept up the he end of the aural mayhem. The set ended with three individuals on stage (Nautical Almanac + 1 Guest), the two men bleeding from the face, finishing their set completely a cappella. Utter mayhem, but quite a sight to behold. That being said Nautical Almanac’s side on this brand new split lathe is by far my favorite track I have ever heard by them. It is an amalgamation of short throbs and long squeals and whirs, sounding as if an old telegraph message had been recording and the dots and dashes are now being remixed and mangled. It is chaotic as one would expect from Nautical Almanac, yet it seems to have a point or points of focus, that holds the composition together. It is a fantastic track. Until this release my ears and my record collection have been virgins to the one-man sound killer known as Cotton Museum. Cotton Museum brings you electronic knives projected in a house of mirrors, complete with digitized mice squeals all while a Gristle-esque beat plods along in the background. The slow throbbing beat is mixed-in superbly as it does not over take the mayhem and turn this into a mutilated dance track, instead it acts as the glue to hold everything together. This tri-label split release, put out by Hanson, IHTR records and Meut Recordings is limited to only 60 copies so if you want one get on it.
# nautical almanac rejerks volume 1 cdr (heresee)
if these are the out-takes/rejects from a forthcoming nauticalmaniac release, then just fuck me & take all my money. these tracks bare evidence of the ongoing upgrading of the diamondize studio facilities, and all bodes extremely well for future spuge. fellow travellers chuck bettis & caleb johnston continue the ongoing pollution of the na gene pool. can't let go without mentioning the melted jewel case packaging that makes sure that you will enjoy hours of pleasure trying to get it to close or fit it into your cd shelf. inside the listener will find a unique & well-fleshed vision of sound devices played into submission, manipulated into elastic forms, along with voices that exude a sense of fun & self-expression reflecting many, many hours of dedication. music for the morning-after the impending collapse of society. send 'em money & love.