Hat City Intuitve/Rocks In My Pillow/Imp(s): Folk Waste 3

December 18, 2010

Today’s roll: 4 – 4 – 14.
Folk Waste 3 by Hat City Intuitve/Rocks In My Pillow/Imp(s)

This out-of-print, limited edition three-way split put out by micro-label Folk Waste features Hat City Intuitive, Rocks In My Pillow and Imp(s). A fair introduction to this free-folk/free-jazz/free-noise imprint, it’s a shame this material isn’t (yet?) available to a wider audience.

The set opens with long-running free-jazz/improv unit Hat City Intuitive debasing dixieland with the upbeat, ramshackle mess of “Saint Marty D” before completely changing gears with “Newtown Etc to Greg“. The second track is as much wafty psychedelic exploration as the first is skronktastic jazz, yet Hat City manage a through-line between the two compositions. Perhaps the through-line is both would have been better off without the guitar.

Rocks In My Pillow‘s two contributions are simultaneously less engaging and more successful overall. Restrained in comparison to Hat City Intuitive’s unhinged free-for-all, their creepy soundscapes pack in a lot more atmosphere and considered playing. Almost like a soundtrack to an imaginary film about post-apocalyptic beatniks, these tracks come off a mellower, jazzier version of Godspeed! You Black Emperor. Bowed instruments and minimalist percussion drift like a radioactive dust storm through an abandoned city. Not as immediate as their counterparts, but easily the best moments on the disc.

IMP(s) finish off the set with “Open Space/Closed Space“. The five member collective check almost every box on the free-psyche checklist with this pairing. Bells, check. Plinky stringed instruments, check. Warbly vocals approximating all manner of ethic tradition, check. Yet unlike the contrived nature some acts in the scene check-off those boxes, IMP(s) do it with passion and authenticity. The twenty-four minute long “Closed Space” is, I suspect, a live recording of a performance and, though fantastic, was probably more successful seen as well as heard. Similar to the latter-day experimental and more theatrical work of Einsturzende Neubauten, there’s an element of theatre, spoken word performance, and chanted ceremony which feels merely hinted at on the recording. You get the feeling you’re only privy to half the picture here. It’s still a fascinating half and suggests IMP(s) are well worth experiencing live.

As I mentioned earlier, this split release is a fair introduction to the Folk Waste label. Fans of the above described sounds would find it well worth their while to check them out. And not delay since the extremely limited runs of their albums sell out very quickly.


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