Gang Wizard / Algebrassiere
Untitled Split 12”
Ecstatic Yod/ et al.
xistentialism is back in vogue, I’ve heard; and hearing the Gang Wizard/Algebrassiere split LP leads me—albeit kicking and screaming—into a Camusian world of ur-pain where there’s nothing left to do but ponder the porousness of phenomenological borders, armed with only The Idiot’s Guide to Unpacking Overheated French Philosophical Terminology and a quart of warm Schaefer. Marie France!
Only something so overtly insouciant could be this good; there’s no regard for an audience, or listener, or ‘target-market’—the latter of which exists only in subatomic form, writhing in a petri dish somewhere in a lachrymose med-lab deemed hotly relevant in light of the prickly partisan stem-cell prattle. Only the omniloquent Roland Barthes could handle something this contradictory: this is machine music hewed by humans; its schizophrenic qualities borrow equally from bolts and blood, just as the French philosopher walks artificially with stilts, his soles strutting above the straight and narrow of a posteriori hands-in-the-soil posthaste activity and overly eager, eagle-eyed empiricism. And how appropriate; for the band of folk sharing sides on this recording engage in the selfsame processes.
Gang Wizard and Algebrassiere are apparently saprophytic entities; their buffet bowing under the weight of steam-tables larded with a coagulating mess of Metal Machine Music, a platter’d Harsh ‘70’s Reality crudité (replete w/ Green Goddess), a ‘Lady Godiva’s Operation’ in aspic, three Cream Corn from the Socket of Davis’ en Croute, and a odiferous Stooges’ self-titled sashimi. Not a well-thought-out meal, but it all goes to the same place, right? Gang Wizard and Algebrassiere must think so, because they revel in a potential peristalsis of the dyspeptic dregs of (non) structure, the fetid feedback that swells over acidulous vocalisms, the banausic disinterest that leads to violent guitar asphyxia neither automatic nor erotic. And sometimes there’s a sort of infuriating bravado manifested in banging metal on the floor to see either (i) how long it takes before a ‘cool’ cacophony comes forth or (ii) how quickly a fellow band-mate will cram said metal bit into perpetrator’s brain.
What’s most intriguing about this music is that it’s decidedly inhuman: one cannot picture people 'making' this music: it’s a shared shibboleth, a wanky word wailed once for a small faction of freaks made marginal by rock media darlings DFA, or other such ‘electroclash’ ilk that preen painfully in the midst of vapid VIP narcissism. Like the ‘respectful dissent’ with a philosophical colleague (always prefaced w/ the snide Latin pace) that unfurls in an automatically argumentative manner, Gang Wizard and Algebrassiere take the tête-à-tête beyond the tandem audience and out into the post-public realm, yammering and yawping so loudly that one can’t help but relent.
And their putative ‘rage’, however tongue-firmly-in-cheek it may be, is still palpable; even if its sincerity is as hard to fathom as Sartre’s derivative notion of Being (thanks, Heidegger!), or as un-salacious as Beauvoir’s Second Sex, it’s still unequivocally anthropomorphic: the Machine always marches backwards to its Maker. Whatever was or wasn’t done in its life free of freewill won’t be manacled to our mea culpa; even Van Gogh thought that a ‘God’ couldn’t be judged on terra firma: ‘[the world is] one of his sketches that has turned out badly’, he offered, slapping back invisible crows not really descending upon him in the midst of an imaginary wheat field.
It took Camus’ sagacity to transliterate the divine act to the material world: ‘Every artist tries to reconstruct this sketch and give it the style it lacks’; and this is what Gang Wizard and Algebrassiere, and bands like Gang Wizard and Algebrassiere are doing: sticking their mitts into the shit to craft a mural as totalizing as it is divisive. Contradiction is the whole point, right? It’s all for juxtaposition’s sake, right? Yes: These bands are public tantrums, fits of the put-a-wallet-between-their-teeth proportion; and necessarily so: without laying waste to turgid rock formalism, rock can’t exist. And that’s just what this stiff shrill is: Rock. Forget the typology, the endless taxonomy; this music is as self-same as the Stones’, as strutting as the Stooges and as defiant as Dylan at his 1966 Albert Hall coming-out soiree.
Listening to this LP is as tactile as it is aural: it shows these bands crafting their own Cocksucker Blues, or scraping their chests with so much Stoogean fervor as to want to pull their hearts from their chests as one steals an oyster from its shell, or willing to provoke a whole generation with one plug-in of the guitar electric. These two bands—and those like them—are the new gutter darlings, the new epicene epiphaenia, and we need them for ways innumerable: not just to remind us that they’re as good, and as fun as the Dead C, but that they’re every bit the band Sightings aspires to be; for they’ve apparently acquired the cachet of the aforementioned: this split’s a purported ‘co-release’ with TEN different labels in the mix, even though I’ll stick firmly to my belief that it’s all on the shoulders of Messrs Coley & Moore. But, Bottom Line: If it takes ten labels to taut the tunes, you know you’re going places.
Reviewed by: Stewart Voegtlin
Reviewed on: 2004-08-31