SISSY SPACEK  Gong  CASSETTE   (Torn Light)   9.99

For an audio / musical project that tends to have a baseline quality not that different from an exploding air conditioner, Sissy Spacek sure do seem to be one of the most verrsatile projects around at the moment. Still able to skullfuck you with an assault of hyperviolent noisegrind, the core duo of John Wiese and Charlie Mumma remain capable of bringing in a variety of collaborators, producing otherworldly musique concrete experiences, and releasing their recordings on labels as dispate as Nuclear War Now and Gilgongo. I love 'em for that mercurial wide-ranging experimentation. But as you might guess, my favorite type of Sissy Spacek is the type that sounds like an early grindcore band being sucked through a jet engine before splattering all over the tarmac. This, I cannot get enough of.

Here operating in basic duo mode, the musicians had me guessing for Gong. Had no idea what I was getting before slipping this recent cassette on deck. Abstract soundscape? Haters-esque concrete playfulness? Free improv? Something more extreme? Well, yes, in fact. The two sidelong tracks comprising Gong are meticulously assembled symphonies of spine-rattling junknoise, glitch, warped and moody musical fragments, damaged electronics, and some really superior blasts of tumbling, crashing metal/glass/detritus, demented garble, peals of metallic whirr, snippets of classical piano, smears of eerie, mold-stained orchestra . That a-side "The Entropy Effect" kind of hits the nail right on the head with the title, unfurling a lengthy sprawl of apparent random destruction events, bits of murked voice, really strange environmental sounds, blurts of demonic bass-tone abuse. Mysterious moments of ambiguous beauty surface like bloated corpses here and there, cast out alongside some obviously thoughtful tape-edit cut-up, and it never gets boring. Kinda tweaks a nerve in my upper back that's resonant with both Stockhausen and the factory-floor armageddons of Knurl, Hal Hutchinson and K2. Which points towards another aspect of Wiese and Mumma that I really dig - this sounds like the guys are genuinely having fun doing this, an exercise in both off-the-cuff avalanche chaos and mindful collage, skirting the sometimes dry and clinical tone that some other artists in this field seem to be hemmed in by. A celebration of collapse and disimntegration, or at least that's how this piece strikes me. Zero noisecore / grindnoise to be sure, so fans primarily interested in that facet of the Sissy Spacek sound take note. But man, it is still abrasive and cathartic as hell.

Flipping iover to "Pierced Ears", it's a continuation of the sound palette and indescerniable structures. Glitchy, chopped up cacophony, shifting metal objects and deep rumbling echoes, ghostly piano and mumbled utterances. Bizarre gasping sounds, pregnant pauses between collapsing monoliths of aluminum and shattered glass. Actually, there's an increasingly unsettling vibe here, seeded on the first track but germinating here into a vaguely menacing mass of aural actions. Starts to get pretty creepy once you've settled into its roughly fifteen minute runtime, field recordings of violent poltergeist activity positioned next to malfunctioning heavy machinery and some really wild tape-noise manipulations. Creaking materials and hushed male voices. Skittering percussion and gales of vomitous visceral gargle. Scaffolding being pushed over with great force into a pneumatic press. Gnarly squeaks, mechanical shrieks, and trippy application of delay effects. There's a little more of those ultra-brief flashes of silence here, but they only further the unease.

There aren't many artists like Sissy Spacek that can make "junk-noise" performances as engrossing as they do here, even though the stream of sonic consciousness captured on the tape definitely transcends the limitations of that style of experimental noise music.

Track Samples:
Sample : The Entropy Effect
Sample : Pierced Ears