Hirsute Pursuit - Tighten That Muscle Ring [Cold Spring Records - 2012]Tighten That Muscle Ring is the second album of erotic body music from the mysterious Harley Phoenix and Thee Majesty's Bryin Dall. It's combination of pelvic thrusting rhythms and samples of commanding sex talk plus (apparently real) orgasmic moans 'n' groans generally comes across as a (ahem) tongue-in-cheeks comedy album.
For the most part the beats are basic chopped loops reminding of a time when post-punkers first got hold of samplers and drum machines to produce similarly provocative acts such as The Revolting Cocks or The Jackofficers (Butthole Surfers' one-off attempt at dance music). But listening to such repetitive baseness now feels tired, not just because electronic dance music's come such a long way since industrial and house first intermingled, but also due to the weariness induced by the equally repetitive vocal samples. It all gets a bit depressing, even - the mainly dominant instructions are delivered in a dispassionate, monotone voice rendering the 'action' as mechanical, cold and selfish.
Tellingly, the most engaging music on the disk comes from two guest spots. The first is an inspired cover of Boys Keep Swinging by Boyd Rice. Somehow his deadpan delivery manages to inject an amusing affectedness into the already camp Bowie classic taking it closer to Warm Leatherette territory. Then there's 'One Sleazy Night in New Orleans' from Peter Christopherson that seems to bear little relation to anything else on the otherwise tightly-themed album. In fact it was recently released by mistake as a part of a selection of Soisong sketches, it's fussy, looped Morricone-isms of Spanish guitar, lonely harmonica replete with a cloppy cowboy rhythm sound much closer to Sleazy's elegant collaborations with CoH despite the breathy orations
Maybe it's because we're in more enlightened times that the explicit sexual content feels much less a challenge to society's prejudices and prudery but more of a comedic gimmick. And while it might be funny to slip a track into a DJ set at your local Sports Club, ultimately the joke wears thin before the end of the disk.Russell Cuzner