Playing with Dead Things, by Black Mountain Transmitter, is, of all the releases I considered covering in this post (death-metal-CD-packaged-with-ceramic-tile, you’ll never know how close you came), the perfect album-art package. You can read about the feverishly involved construction of the fucking coffin this tape comes in elsewhere; if you want to know what lies beneath the thick, wooden facade of the death-box read on …
I’d like to coin the genre for this stuff (Film nois? Dronoise? Dread-noise? Filthy drift? Black cloud? Moviedrone?), but short of that I’d at least rue the opportunity to express my unfettered enthusiasm for it. Much like that ripe cherry I plucked from Raw Thug last night (though at a million-times the fidelity), Playing with Dead Things exists in a bubble through which little outside influence passes. The end product is a tape that starts from scratch and creates new worlds like a resurrected mormon (hey, that’s what they believe homey) on the galaxy’s outer rim.
“Part Two,” naturally, is where I’ll start, as it provides a thrilling, contrast-laden progression that starts with a buzzing hive of bees swallowed up by jumbled-up alien murmurs and the sound of a spaceship landing, revels in Starving Weirdos-esque experimentalism for a long spell, then morphs into a quirky post-White Williams synth jam near the end. Not exactly a Hitchcockian twist, but when pulled off effectively the drift of the first three quarters serves to build suspense going into the fourth. I’ve always appreciated far-flung abstract acts that still make room for drums, even if it’s only for the occasional buttressing of effects and candy-swirl synth ribbons. It’s like glimpses of Mudboy and M. Geddes Gengras dropped from a plane above an ocean of interlocking sounds, tones and frequencies. And, like the ocean, while it’s calm at the surface, you know there are a million wars going on beneath that you only see/hear traces of.
Even more fulfilling is “Part One” (guess I should have started there), a zone formerly only reserved for Destructo Swarmbots and the occasional noise ensemble that strayed into the desert and found its way back, forgetting all the tricks it learned. Or maybe it’s more like taking acid at a train station somewhere; you forget you’re tripping, then all of a sudden [[[BAMMMOTHERFUCKER!!!!]]] you’re seeing things and hearing things and got somethin’ stickin’ in yer eye. When someone blinks you feel a jolt of static electricity; when a cashier gives you a strange look you assume the world around you is slowly crumbling. That’s happened to all of us, right?
In the past I’ve described music such as this as the equivalent of watching a film, but I’ve got to tell you, if most movies and TV were half as enrapturing as “Part One” I’d never leave my couch (disclaimer: some would argue this is a spurious qualifier). Not to work, not to love, not to live; I’d have everything I needed right in front of me, ready to be fucked by my ear- and eye-cock.
Those of you who dread sidelong cassette excursions will find the 16 minutes of both of these pieces fly by and leave you wet and wanting. And hey, I love Wolf Eyes, Hair Police and all the rest, but fuck ‘em; right now, it’s Black Mountain Transmitter for LIFE. I hated Fantomas for releasing Delirium Cordova, and I’ve learned my lesson (not only that, found it on vinyl and now it’s a collector’s hot-flash). DC doesn’t sound too convincing next to Playing with Dead Things, however. This is heavyweight shit, one for the godz. Spray it, don’t say it, brother.