A pop song ruined.
Everyone's favorite becomes mine.
A seamless whole, various interpretations becoming movements of a single greater interpretation.
An international appreciation/depreciation in sound.
With: Stilluppsteypa (Iceland), Acid Mothers Temple (Japan), Circle (Finland), Troum (Germany), Hrvatski (USA), Kit Clayton (USA), Mieskuoro Huutajaat (Finland), James Plotkin's Joy of Disease (USA), Loren Chasse (USA), Public Works aka The Tape Beatles (USA) and Fennesz (Austria).
FINALLY!!! Hard to believe this thing is actually done considering how long and how seemingly cursed this project has been. Started almost 5 years ago to be released on the now defunct Petrol label, then bequeathed 3 years ago to tUMULt where the lineup and concept went through many changes (possibly because what was begun as an homage to a song the original label head really liked, had become a deconstruction of a song we really hate) and then an endless procession of waits, mastering, pressing, re-recording, battles with other labels over 'rights', as well as 4 different cover concepts that all had to be scrapped because they were seemingly too difficult for any printers to confidently take on. -sigh-
So here we are. Was it worth the wait? Obviously we think so. Look at the lineup for fucks sake!!! Acid Mothers Temple, Circle, Hrvatski, James Plotkin, Kit Clayton, Loren Chasse, Troum, The Tape Beatles, Mieskuoro Huutajaat, Fennesz, and Stilluppsteypa. And that's just the cream. Lots of tracks were left off to avoid the spotty/uneven flow of most compilation/tribute/cover records. We even opted to leave off a track by a very popular, Japanese band (that as people keep telling me would have sold hundreds more copies, but as I keep telling them, that's not the point), which was a tough, but important choice, since the spazzy grind of their track disrupted the droning meditative, hypnotic flow of what is now less just a compilation of random tracks, and more an epic and gorgeous hour of dreamy droney creepy blackness.
So what does it sound like? Well, while it does flow, and could perhaps pass itself off as a record by a single (quite eclectic) group, each track offers something unique, while still culling the sinister spirit and nihilistic 'rock' from the original (the inspiration for this comp). Finnish shouting choir Mieskuoro Huutajaat start things off with a brief, and shouted, acapaella version, in Finnish, and delivered with gusto! James Plotkin's Joy Of Disease turns it into a burbling, stuttering, electronic soundscape with hiccupping beats and backwards vocals. Somewhere between Boards Of Canada and Coil. Stilluppsteyppa took back their original track, a wash of glitchy yet melodic, musique concrete, and re-recorded/re-mixed it, removing most of the melody and adding even more space, resulting in a dark abyss of gorgeously perplexing minimalism. The Kit Clayton track is an ultra catchy, beat heavy SF glitch core workout, that obliterates the original melody but manages to keep the minor key tension and dark ambience. Ultra prolific Japanese space rockers Acid Mothers Temple turn the original into a wild pagan ritual, starting out with several minutes of Tsuyama's throaty chants, skipping nervously around that oh-so-familiar melody before the band stumbles in to join him for the remaining 10 minutes, with splattery percussion, freaked out reverb/retard guitar and squealing feedback. Hrvatski (aka Keith Whitman) claims that his contribution to Painted Black is his favorite track that he's ever recorded and it's easy to see why: he actually sings, plays guitar, and weaves a thick wash of warm, langorous tones before it all crumbles beneath a speaker shredding cascade of sputtering drill and bass. Iowa's masters of plunderphonia, the Tape Beatles use found sounds and actual lawsuit-baiting chunks of the original to create a tense and unnerving, noirish dreamscape, with disebodied screams, curious snippets of overheard conversations, and the sliced and diced original which all end up adding to the creepy vibe. German drone-sters Troum incorporate 'that' melody into a totally overpowering and molasses-thick drone, assembled from multiple tracks of guitar and accordion. The Fennesz track was previously released on an ep via Jim O'Rourke's Moikai label, and to us seems like Fennesz at his very best. Melodies and textures are spit out, stuttering and hiccupping from the cold, digital craw of the laptop, but somehow come out all warm and thick and coil around you like stuffed snakes and deliciously fragrant pipesmoke. Amazing. tUMULt veterans Circle, do what they do best, taking the skeletal remains of the original, holding on to the barebones melody, and constructing a motorik, unwavering rhythm, that sounds like Tony Conrad and Faust's Outside The Dream Syndicate with just a little more melody and umph. And the record is finished off perfectly, spiralling slowly into 'black'ness, by sound artist Loren Chasse (who is also a member of droning outrockers Thuja). He uses snippets of the original, slowed down hundreds of times until it becomes a lugubrious almost-melody, and contact mic-ed strobe lights to create a static-y, humming, nighttime dronescape, like an otherworldy forest, complete with clattery insect buzz and moaning winds in the ancient trees. An almost perfect compilation and an amazing gathering of some of the most amazing artists around doing some of their best work.
Painted Black reviews
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