Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Pain, Pleasure, Black & White Vomit With Wolf Eyes

I shouldn’t have eaten that Magnum (it was mint-flavoured, by the way, not through choice, but because that was the only kind they had in the shop – and I thought we were living in the Wonderful Free West, where choice was everything and capitalism meant we could get what we wanted, when we wanted – dammit! I haven’t worked my whole life (true, I haven’t), which has involved stacking bricks, getting burnt by cooking oil, scared out of my wits at 50ft on a cherry picker cleaning windows at Chelsea Wharf, cracking thousands of eggs in the catering factory etc and paid my taxes to find that the only Magnum I can buy is the Mint one! Now the fucker’s given me toothache, as well as adding more of whatever goes towards the evolution of a gut, a middle-aged gut, the kind of which I thought I’d never get (oh how I laughed at the middle-agers down the pub in my lithe teenage years! Look at the state of them!). OK, anyone who knows me, has seen me, will laugh if I say I’m putting on excess flab ‘round the gut, but they haven’t seen me naked, and don’t know. They don’t know a lot about me, but that’s the nature of friendship, I find, because unlike the myth perpetuated by sitcom and silver screen writers (yes, those conspiratorial bastards) I don’t have a load of Friends with whom I ‘buddy up’ (is that an expression?) every other night for a bout of soul-baring, pain-sharing, shoulder-crying friendship. I don’t. No-one does. It’s all a lie, especially today, when we all spend our whole time hunched in front of a screen ‘talking’ to Facebook friends instead. Or is it just me...
   Pain. Toothache. Antidote: Wolf Eyes, specifically, ‘Hell Made Man American’ - ouch – I’m fighting fire with fire, pain with pain, and it seems to be working because the sonic commotion made by Wolf Eyes outdoes the worst my nerves in conjunction with cold ice cream can muster – that and the strong coffee’s helping – and the sight of the sunlit golden leaves on the tree outside the window – and the two books I bought this morning in a charity shop, one of which is worth a good price if I can find the right buyer. That’s the thing, finding the buyer. What’s anything worth if there’s no buyer? Nothing. Here endeth the economics lesson.
   What’s this Wolf Eyes noise worth? I haven’t looked on the market, but no doubt someone somewhere is offering it for $59, or £47.99, because it’s a CDR and only ten were made, probably. I do admire that kind of production, don’t you? A mass-produced slice of Pop is fine because that’s how the genius of Motown and Blue Note became rightfully part of ‘the fabric of sound’ that we, er, wear – you wear, they wear, the whole world wears Motown, but not so Blue Note, although it is known worldwide, of course.
   Here I pause to wonder what it must be like to be 15, inquisitive about music, and hear ‘Song For My father’ for the first time, and fall in love. Ah, age will not wither me, and shall not diminish my love for Horace Silver, I hope - although, as you know, age does put paid to the feeling, the absolute passion felt for discovering classics in our salad days (replaced, in some cases, by cabbage ears, but that’s another subject – a subject involving what the aging process does to some ears, whereby time erodes their capacity to absorb fresh sound, to want to explore. Not that ears act independently, of course; they’re governed by the brain/mind – and here endeth the socio-psycho-musical lesson).
   Sunshine and rain being like joy and pain, as David Bowie once said (no, he didn’t, actually, he sang ‘he laughed insane and quipped Kahlil Gibran’, but you get the connection, I’m sure), so we must experience the pain of Snow Patrol to appreciate the absolute Pleasure in the pain of Wolf Eyes who, at their sublime best on ‘Hell’, deliver Otherness, Mechanical Spirituality, almost, to match anything made by anyone in terms of indispensable sound. They reach greatness not when wrenching maximum agony from the machines, but in quieter phases, in the howling, the song of the biomechanoidal beast somewhere out there in the forest of evil – ha!
   ‘No threats detected’, my computer tells me – yet there clearly is a threat posed by Wolf Eyes, or so I like to think – a threat in the form of their music (music?) in missile-form, primed and ready to be fired at...well, just about anyone who I define as The Enemy. A pre-emptive strike is the best policy, so, load the coordinates and push the button – Downing Street, Washington, the Middle East (is that too indiscriminate?), all television centres, wherever the Daily Mail, Sun, Sport and the rest of the scumbag press is written...hold on...the toilet at The Camden Head, ‘cause that is a shit hole in both senses...I’ve run out of targets., and besides, Wolf Eyes can’t demolish building (although they could probably have brought down the walls of Jericho), the aim is to accomplish sonic destruction (Wolf Eyes piped into the toilets at The Camden Head?). So, to rethink, programme sonic missiles to infiltrate all media outlets, all radio and TV programmes – not blanket ‘bombing’, but stealth interruptions of ‘Question Time’, for instance - cue Dimbleby: ‘Our next question comes from Katy Clueless’ – ‘What are the government going to do about making the economy not broke and, like, tuition fees and racism?’ Before the MP can answer, viewers and studio audience alike are assaulted by Wolf Eyes at ear-bleeding volume; they scream, vomit, squirm, soil their underwear, faint and develop the same reaction, Pavlovian-fashion, to all politicians on TV, and ‘Hollyoaks’, and the rest.
   Talking of vomit. Anthony Braxton appeared on stage with Wolf Eyes at the FIMAV festival in 2005. The beautiful music they made together can be heard on the album, ‘Black Vomit’.

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