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Friday, March 13, 2009

NARWHALZ (of sound) "Hardcore Beach Crimes" C30

Stellar 30 minute tape from Richmond, Virginia's Gameboy-freakout noise artist Brian Blomerth, aka Narwhalz. Having heard his earlier stuff, I can tell you that this tape shows a much more evolved and refined Narwhalz.

Maybe someone reading this has seen Narwhalz perform before. This reader may wonder how I can use words like "evolved" and "refined" to describe an artist whose performances involve rolling on the floor while punching Gameboy buttons, humping Pomeranian stuffed animals, repeated "technical difficulties," and periods of extended, rambling, semi-surrealist, self-deprecating monologues that approach a form of MySpace-culture beat poetry. Meanwhile, the music is a torrent of chaotic videogame sounds in a fast-forward jumble.

These points are noted. However, just listen to this tape. There is an ebb and flow to this chaos. Long periods (relatively) of repetitive sounds almost start to hypnotize you before things explode and insanity breaks out. Then there's some time to catch your breath, the music settles down and starts to sound almost pretty, or Brian shares some words of wisdom before the next round. Then you start to notice that the music has the same pacing and flow as everything Brian writes, and everything he draws as well. Nothing is quite as random as it seems here. A lot of care has gone into putting the sounds on this tape together.

For another thing, unlike earlier recordings I have, this one is all at the same volume level, or at least it gets loud only when it's supposed to get loud. I also like how the vocals are mostly obscured by distortion, letting you believe that maybe he's screaming about some truly HARSH power electronics shit. Then there's one very clear part where he addresses Snoopy and you realize it's actually the same bizarre nonsense it always has been.

Bottom line, if you have seen Narwhalz and you thought it was amazing then you'll love this tape. It edits down and distills all the best sounding stuff and most successful moments. If you saw Narwhalz and thought it was the most inane bullshit ever, this tape JUST MIGHT CHANGE YOUR MIND ... maybe. Probably not. On Flish Records, nice yellow tape and full-color illustrated art.

photo by Head Molt

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