Jazkamer - Cover By Hair Stylistics [Pica Discs - 0000]
I have been hearing this band's name for quite a while now. I never took the time to check them out, but I was intrigued when I read about their monthly CD series on a message board somewhere. Apparently, they put out a CD every month for a year on Pica Disk and this is the July edition. I didn't know what their other material sounded like before my first few listens, but I did hear that they always made very different-sounding records and have had a wide variety of styles. It seems that I am reviewing the blown out, grind/punk, improv noisecore style that they so feverishly dabble in.
At first, I wasn't sure what these guys were going for. Because "noise rock" or "noisecore" isn't really my thing, I find it annoying when a drummer, guitarist and vocalist set up and just fidget, slam, blast, scream and feedback with absolutely no direction, purpose, rhyme or reason. I know a lot of noise fanatics will disagree with me and say that sort of thing is what makes noise what it is, and what makes it great. This just sounded so amateur to me. At first, anyway.
By the time I managed to reach the end of this recording, I found myself wanting to play it again out of fascination and interest rather than enjoyment. After several more repeats, I became extremely appreciative of the completely nihilistic, raw, barely-rehearsed "full band" aesthetic. And by barely-rehearsed, I mean that it seems that there was some forethought in some of these tracks where some discussion of loose structure might have taken place.
It is almost as if these guys just set up a mic in a small room, got really drunk and just started whaling, screaming, bending strings and pounding drums for hours, then not-so-carefully cut up the recordings into 129 pieces, distorted it and then had some terrible marker drawings made for the artwork. To some people, that's all entirely silly. And it is. But it's fucking punk. I wish I could have seen this live. I would have rather have seen this live than listened to it on a CD.
After listening to this CD a few more times, I briefly scanned through other Jazkamer releases in this monthly series. The artwork and sounds are all so diverse. I started to appreciate this release even more because I found that they are a talented and diverse group covering a lot of territory. Hearing some of their other material gave me a better perspective on the nature of this release specifically. All in a noisy and "non-musical" way, they've done metal, blues, jazz, collaborated with Government Alpha and John Weise, etc. I know I am here to review this album and not to give a Jazkamer biography, but I just feel that being well-rounded on Jazkamer history can make one understand and appreciate any given Jazkamer album a lot more considering their relentless evolution in sound.
The aggression and nihilism is more than apparent on this disc. If this were a show, I could see myself staying clear of the stage for fear of having alcohol slung onto me or being stabbed in the eye by a piece of broken cymbal flying from the drum set. I picture a lot of falling over or falling into each other. This performance is hostile, provocative, threatening and totally meaningless. And it's meaninglessness is what gives it such a profound meaning.
Justin Marc Lloyd
Because this is not a style of noise that I resonate with on a deeply personal level (because I more so enjoy noise of the electronic nature), it is hard for me to say that this record is perfect. I appreciate it more than I enjoy it. I do, however, expect any improv noisecore fans to worship this album. Even some fans of more "contained" noise punk like Cult Ritual and Slavescene as well as fans of bands like The Hospitals will probably enjoy this thoroughly as a broadening of their already established horizons