One of the most vicious of the newer British power electronics outfits, Bagman has been a favorite of mine since discovering the For Kenneth McKenna Ep this past year, and I've been hunting down whatever I can find from the project. The Public Catharsis #1 Cd-r (released on 412Recordings) is a recent live doc of this leather-armored scum warrior in action, and is way better than you'd expect for a live power electronics recording. Recorded in London in July of 2011 at ILL FM, this is actually the first ever live performance from Bagman, a twenty-two minute piece of predatory electronics perfumed in copper-scented ambience, where Steve Bagman stalks the stage, his head bound in a thick black leather mask, armed with Korg synths and looping effects chains that are piled into murderous assaults of filthy electro-throb while film footage and photo stills of sinister creepshots, rotting corpses, energetic bondage sessions, and the Great Constrictor, Kenneth McKenna flow across the wall behind the stage. Man, do I wish I could have been there.
The performance opens with a recording of children singing the lullaby "Hush, Little Baby", their voices becoming gradually more distorted and pushed into the red before Bagman violently crashes in with an onslaught of droning ambient feedback, howling cavernous squeals and foul distorted vocals, raving incoherently over a filthy backdrop of blackened dronedrift that becomes increasingly more ominous and threatening as the set continues. For the next twenty-odd minutes, the music shifts from massive rumbling amp-drones and ghastly machine hum to looping sampled voices and washes of sinister reverb-soaked noise. As with his other recordings, the influence of legendary UK power electronics duo Sutcliffe Jugend is heard throughout Bagman's psycho-sexual ravings and visions of merciless sadism and abuse, but he also gives this his own distinct edge via the incorporation of blasted melody into his fogbanks of black static and factory ambience, appearing here via fragments of ultra-blown-out film music are woven through the clouds of toxic black hum, and the eerie notes that drift across the background of "It Girl".
The disc comes in a twelve-page glossy booklet, and is hand-numbered in an edition of one hundred copies.