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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Sissy Spacek - California Ax [Helicopter - 2008]

For those who wondered what the usually highly prolific noise extraordinaire John Wiese has been up to since his excellent Soft Punk from April 07, this monster 4 disk set from his Sissy Specek project shows he’s been very busy and very creative as usual- taking the project off in new and intriguing tangents and experiments.

Though out the four disks we’ve got traces of improvising, avant jazz, electro-acoustics, almost wall noise tendencies, sinister sound tracking elements, organic and manic rhythmic work-outs are  just some of the new ground covered here along with Sissy Specek’s usual manic merging of rock, noise and cut-up mayhem. On board guest wise in the form of remixes and contributors the list is highly impressive we have; Mitchell Brown, Sarah Cake, Kevin Drumm, Gerritt, Kate Hall (Mika Miko), Joseph Hammer (Solid Eye), Aaron Hemphill (Liars, Skull Sküll), Jesse Jackson (Flaspar), Greg Kelley (Nmperign), Tim Koh (White Magic, Ariel Pink), Danny McClain (Grand Ulena), Giles Miller, Oblivia (Smegma), Andy Ortmann (Panicsville), Sam Ott (The Fucking Angels), Tom Recchion (Airway, LAFMS), Damion Romero (Speculum Fight), Jarrett Silberman (Skull Sküll, Young People), Dean Spunt (No Age), David Scott Stone (Melvins, Get Hustle), and Shannon Walter (16 Bitch Pileup). With the base of the project been Wiese and  guitarist/ ranter and noise maker Corydon Ronnau

First up is disk one that’s entitled Tinsel Dripping ink that takes in the most familiar type Sissy Specek sound ground of the four  disk, with their often manic brain melting audio attack mixing together grindcore, noise, improv, electronics and noisecore with a fairly lengthy(for this project) 45 minute run. It all starts off with the roaring and deranged 28 second track  bootleg with Corydon Ronnau muffled grindcore speed rant along with Wiese’s bass and drum machine abuse and we jump head long into varied textural, noisy and manic world of Sissy Specek. Though this certainly is not as manically cut-up or jarring as some of their albums as things are allowed to bed and sink in a little more with a few tracks going over the two minute mark. As for highlights I think it really has to be played as a chaotic, deranged whole but if forced the following are my a few of my favourite moments; Suction cup which brings Andy Ortmann on board with electronics and remix elements along with Jesse Jackson on second guitar- it’s a wonderful juddering and jarring mix of speed up demented & carnival/ guitar like elements, booming and erupting guitar tone, electronic textures and noise grain/ air. Fortnight with it’s 44 second down the plughole like ride of guitar soreness and  dizzy electronics. Acoustic Sepsis where Wiese and Ronnau move around assorted acoustic junk matter in an appealing dense, textural and nearly rhythmic manner for near on  two and a half minutes.

Disk two entitled Police offers up 11 tracks and 37 minutes of sound and is a much more subdued and edgy, yet still fairly  fiery in places. Built around electro-acoustics work outs with the  tracks mainly having a greater use of organic drum rhythmic patterns, sounds and improvising, along with Wiese on electronics/ junk, and Ronnau on guitar. Though impressive and enjoyable through out, I enjoy the more tension filled and eerier stretched out moments towards the end of the work that bring to mind a stripped down and nasty 'n' sleazy take on material off Naked cities Absinthe- give a feeling of what it might feel like awaking in police custody in a shadow heavy room on a the tail end of a strange hallucinogenic drugs effects.

Disk Three Arabic entitled Abreq Ad Habra which means hurl a lightning bolt even unto death with this two track set lives up to its violent and intense title. First up we have the Track Psychotechnics which features along with Wiese and RonnauDamion Romero on electronics, Shannon Walter on Electronics and vocals. The 40 minute track really is an all out dense noise attack, which quite often becomes Wall noise. The participants really pouring a thick ‘n’ burn mass of sound out, that has slight sonic shift but more often then not is just roaring and billowing chaos, quite were the mebtioned vocals  are is an mystery. Next up is the track Bongo, which features Wiese and Ronnau with precussion attack by Danny McClain- this last just shy of the 25 minute work and once more is an extreme work–out. Though you can hear clear sonic shifts, texture and rhythmic changers with in it. I guess it best described as a very brutal electro-acoustic work out with some quite rhythmic if panicking elements.

Last but not least we have 13-Tet Los Angeles disk that brings together two twenty plus minutes tracks of improvisation, meets avant jazz, meets noisy sonics, meet electro-acoustics sound scaping- with an impressive list of 13 sound makers on board -this time around playing a mix of  electronics, acoustic percussion, guitar, woodwinds and tapes. Both tracks offer up highly enjoyable and shifting  mixes of sounds and textures that go from subdued/ brooding, to boiling over and fiery- but never staying in one place for very long, making them varied and jagged sound world’s worthy of repeated plays.


So in summing up an epic and varied collection from Wiese, Ronnau and company- that shows them taking their sound down new violent, edgy and sometimes very atmospheric corridors. With my favourite of the set been disks one and two, through both disks three and four are equaly worth your time too.To find out more and buy direct pop along here

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Roger Batty
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