JAZZFINGER / CULVER & FORDELL RESEARCH UNIT  split  LP   (Blackest Rainbow)   19.98

An extremely limited (only 275 pressed) split LP between two of the UK's heaviest free-drone outfits, already out of print from Blackest Rainbow. This record looks like it should actually be a bootleg of an obscure 80's death metal demo with the slimey grossout artwork that is pasted onto the cover, a huge black and white panel that features a rotting, pustulent nun spreadeagled in front of a huge white cross, her demonic embryo exposed but still firmly lodged in the pasta-like wreckage of her decomposing abdomen. Nasty! It looks like something out of an old issue of Gore Shriek.

Two bands, two sides, Jazzfinger on the first with a single side-long track, a collaboration between Culver and Fordell Research Unit on the other. The Jazzfinger side has "Killed In A Clear Sky", a massive buzzing sprawl of scraping guitar noise, throbbing low-end amplifier drones and droning distorted feedback, huge distorted powerchords crashing down over a tangled wasteland of howling, blackened improv sludge, a black boiling cloud of menacing metallic clatter and scrabbly percussive noise crawling out of wrecked fretboards and detuned guitar strings flopping and flapping against their battered instruments, while wobbly prayer-bowl tones seem to wind down on dying batteries in the background. Later in the track, moaning voices appear, possibly pouring out of human throats but more likely the creation of battered guitars being bent and punished to further extremes - this piece is one of the heaviest, darkest Jazzfinger jams I've heard, it's crushing and cacophonic and sounds like some of the new, blackened Skullflower stuff being rammed down the throat of the Dead C and attacking people with steel pipes, up until the strange warbling tones at the end where it almost sounds like a Native American flute has materialized within the center of a black haze of demonic high pitched feedback.

And then on to side B, where we find Culver (a.k.a. Lee Stokoe, who himself has been playing with Matt Bower in Skullflower for over two years now) joining up with something called Fordell Research Unit on a likewise twenty-minute long track called "Octodog Meets Mecha-Catzilla Uptown". I was expecting something super heavy and sludgy and lumbering from the schlocky kaiju reference of the title, but wow, this is the prettiest piece of music that I've heard from Culver, a vast slab of fuzz and deep tectonic drones rumbling underneath of eternally suspended strings and a devestating melody that is so fragile and heartbreaking, it is almost overwhelming. It is really heavy, too, the grinding low-end sounding like it's flowing out of a towering wall of hissing amplifiers all cranked to maximum volume, flowing with rumbling distorted guitars leaning against their amps and left to vibrate and hum, a super thick, super dense ocean of murky sound that washes over you with endless waves of fuzz, but that melody is heavenly, sometimes way out in front, others receding to the back and swirling just underneath the black waves of guitar, a sulfurous ethereal doomscape that sounds to me like Tim Hecker's gauzy distorted ambience applied to crushing ambient doom, beatless and bleak disembodied. Wow!

I only have about half a dozen of these in stock, so when they are gone, that's it.