this review originally appeared in Thaumaturgy, a blog dedicated to new experimental and psychedelic music
January 27, 2005
Davenport, Push 'em Back
In his promotional description of this release on the 23 Productions website, Clay Ruby, father figure and organizing principle of the Madison-based musical hydra that is Davenport, describes Push 'Em Back, his prolific ensemble's latest cd-r release, as a "creepy mother".
Spot on, Mr. Ruby! Creepy, indeed! While previous discs have freely mined the borderlands of folk, drone, jazz, rock and other forms of musical expression with equal aplomb, Push 'Em Back rides a time machine back to '81 and cribs a lesson from the -dare I say it?- Goth fakebook of the UK Batcave scene! The interplay of minor key violin, voice and percussion that starts this 25 minute tension-fest lend an almost Lugosian air to the proceedings. Imagine if David J had replaced Peter Murphy on vocal duties on Burning From the Inside. Give him a megaphone. Infuse with equal parts Comus and Kleenex/Lilliput. Stir. Set to boil. Taste. It's a dark and bubbling treacle they've concocted. Amazingly, things get even darker, as the drumming gets even more ritualistic and the vocals more distorted and inhuman. Sawing violin, squealing reeds, and warped electronics form an uneasy alliance of acoustic and electronic interjections, while operatic vocals echo above the stew. It's part LaMonte Young, part yodeling competition. Finally, the whole piece dissolves into an atonal mess of sparse feedback and insistent clatter.
It's delicious. Possibly the best release from these folks yet. Get it while you can, as it's limited to 100 copies.
On 23 Productions.