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It was quite coincidentally that I came in touch with Escupemetralla recently, but I was triggered by a video clip which I unexpectedly received, entitled Puigdemòmnium. Two things: the video + music at the one hand, and the title. Well, about the first, I will come back immediately, but let’s say that I was deeply impressed. But the title, secondly, reminded me of Carles Puigdemont, the Catalan minister-president who kicked asses of the Spanish establishment. This site is not a political one, and I always make sure my personal opinions, ideas and preferences about politics (as it goes for subjects like religion, sexuality, multi-culturalism, international trade, ethnics, and so on, as well) remain separated from the goal of Concreteweb. But however, the Catalonian case, and the current situation in Spain, is quite important for international society. And the story does live in my home country, Belgium, vividly. Main reason is that dear Carles sort of lives like a refugee in Belgium right now. So, that’s why the title drew my attention – no further comment on the specific matter. But feel welcomed, dear Carles (oops, I did it again…).
Anyway, investigation taught me that this video was created by Escupemetralla, which is a duo from Catalunya - it couldn’t be a coincidence anymore. The band was formed in Barcelona at the end of the eighties, and there were a couple of recordings in between their naissance and 1997 (especially on tape via their own Clonaciones Petunio label). Then they split up, but in 2016 there was a reformation. Via Nøvak, an experimental label based in their beautiful home city Barcelona, Escupemetralla is sort of re-issuing old material from the nineties, but there is some new material available as well. Interesting fact is that this material was probably recorded in the future, let’s say the year of 2025…
First, as promised, a (short) word on that video. It presents ‘a pataphysic-paranoid-critic-structuralist-deconstructionist portrait of the wild and noisy disorder and confusion of Catalonian people provoked by Puigdemontian speeches and actions’, being a second part in a trilogy that defines the contemporary social landscape of Catalunya, while paying honour to ‘the first Telematic Psychotronic President in the World's History’. From visual point of view, it’s like a master work, featuring Carles himself, joined by astral storms, Moses (you know, one of the Bible’s heroes) and much more weirdness. From sonic point, it is at least as crazy, mingling excerpts of Drone, Ambient and Noise, I mean, in a general way (more depth soon). And that aural experience is, more or less, exactly what also goes for the full-length album Poison Of Dead Sun In Your Brain Slowly Fading. As said, I would keep this paragraph short and simple. You will surely find the motion picture back on any screen via digital sources.
Poison Of Dead Sun In Your Brain Slowly Fading was created by Muhammad and Muhammad (yes, that’s both members’ monikers!), being inspired by several iconic electronic and industrial artists / projects (a lengthy list that includes Zoviet*France, Cabaret Voltaire, Coil, Sigur Rós, Brian Eno and many others), as well as their involvement and feeling about their ‘native’ situation, and based on the legacy of the Beat Generation in general, and William S. Burroughs more specifically – cf. the album’s title. This album does not include the track of the video (which was realised somewhat later), but I am not going to cry (yet) (it was released on Leo Queequeg Tincrowdor, just like the first part of the triptych about the actual Catalonian raison d’être). The album clocks over an hour and holds the middle in between cynicism and protest, in between sarcasm and criticism.
Escupemetralla’s approach is quite interesting, for it is more than ‘Electronics’ being performed. Indeed, the basics are founded on an electronic approach for sure, but with an extremely open-minded and somewhat frenzy attitude. And despite the impressive length of the tracks, the whole experience permanently evolves. Yes, variety and experimentalism aren’t just hollow words. But you know, it does fit. It’s not like a pathetic amalgam of try-outs, but rather like an organic, deep-thought journey through dimensions of, as they clarify, ‘Obscure Electronics, War Ambient and Twisted Symphonic Music’.
This duo’s eccentric vision and creativity starts as from the first composition on the album, Hikuri Neirra (I can’t find the meaning of this word, and I was pretty sure it was Catalonian or Galician, despite being inspired by a Mexican tribe - but indeed it means 'Dance of Peyote' in Huichol language), the shortest track but one on this recording (clocking just over six minutes - and it was part of the It's September digital compilation of Brutal Resonance). Heavily droning electronic structures go nicely hand in hand with psychotropic sounds (war alarms, schizoid screams), industrial noises, shamanistic spheres and oppressive-energetic beats. Permanently offering new elements, this piece is like an expression of both past and future, telling a story based on disappointment and suppression, and I think some hopeful thoughts too. It represents the earthly entity, with people being part of it. Here too, I feel like going into an ecological (and in result, a misanthropic) debate, but it would bring us too far… Mutaciones De Dos Magnetofones pays tribute to William S. Burroughs, being a repetitive-spacy soundscape that, despite that repetitive structure, constantly grows, building up towards higher dimensions. This is transcendental and mesmerizing material, not danceable yet, at the same time, inviting to move forward. With Echafaud Temporel Spectral (which includes spoken-word samples in French, like the title might suggest), the story goes back in time, injecting elements from Dark Ambient, Ritual Drone and Minimal Industrial with jazzy (sax or trumpet?) and astral details. Poison Of Dead is like the apotheosis of the ‘transcendent side’. It’s not electronic in essence, yet like a long-form Drone / Ambient soundwave, ominous, hypnotic, disturbing and eerie. Presidente Basura, the shortest piece, is a tribute to the most glorious president on Mater Terra ever – nope, sorry, I can’t finish this phrase, even being meant ironic… It starts the political half of the album, like a warning, a call for attentivity, before the mighty powers of presidential evil decide to invade Canada and Poland indeed! This hypnotic track is interspersed with shrieking noises, melodic vocals (which remind me, in some way, of Sanctum), slow yet heavy beats, and samples that proclaim the superiority (or at least the wish for, and ill to be) of superpowers, so-called democratic yet dictatorial and megalomaniac states with brainless, feared or unscrupulous followers. No further comment. Andalusia, Alabama surely continues the ethic and politic similarities of post-modern subduality, translated by surreal and suffocating noises and sounds. This track is like a symbiosis of post-apocalyptic industrialism and ambient hypnosis, combined into a package that defines fear, revolt, consciousness and helplessness. Do we live our lives ourselves (now, in the future, or the past), or are we marionettes in a decadent play from the gods (or their self-called representatives on our sick planet)? Via ritual beats, bewitching noises, spoken samples and spacy ambience, Escupemetralla invites you to search for this answer – or at least they try to make the listener conscious and percipient. Even spacier are the waves on Go Fuck Yourself With Your Atom Bomb (hello Ginsberg!), a collage of sonic experiments and aural transmissions. This experience might be the most experimental qua execution, with that strange symbiosis of loops, noises, samples and audible expressions of disgust for (at least quite a part of) the human kind. With Gran Plan Para La Transformación De La Naturaleza (which lasts for almost twelve minutes, and is like an anti-manifest for some Bolshevik concept, once elaborated by Mister Stalin), we’re going back to another long-stretched Drone / Ambient masterpiece, offering us the chance for a spiritual, tranquil, relaxed gathering with Mother nature. Floating synth lines and sounds of nature (like waves of the sea water caressing the coast rocks) are like a symbiotic totality, creating a peaceful and dreamlike yet, at the same time, ominous and obscure world of introspection and escapism. It is a beautiful droning track to end this album with, for it intends to focus on the equilibrium of humanism and ecology (damn, I’m fading away into philosophical spheres). No, seriously, this ambient Drone track, injected by elements from Ritual Noise and Dark Industrial, is a great, precious one to end with. The atmosphere is hypnotic once again, and introvert for sure, but it does express a warm and, at the same time, desolate atmosphere.
In conclusion I can say that Poison Of Dead Sun In Your Brain Slowly Fading is an album you must grow into. It took me several listens to get the whole concept, but each time again I’m subdue to new emotions, new sonic revelations. It’s experimental, yet without exaggeration or pathetic over-compensation. It’s progressive, yet without forsaking the basic nature of Aural Art. I think Escupemetralla deserves your attention in case you’re open-minded to experience a mixture of dark, mesmerizing, asphyxiating and wretched but organic mixture of Noise, Drone, Industrial, Ambient, Electro and Cinematic Music.
links: https://escupemetralla.bandcamp.com - https://novakrecs.bandcamp.com/album/poison-of-dead-sun-in-your-brain-sl... - and YouTube (suffix: UCNT37h6TkX1WQLw3JKAJxZA)