Sunday, February 7, 2010
VIBRACATHEDRAL ORCHESTRA "THE SECRET BASE" (VHF)
The first album in a trilogy by the ever-changing Vibracathedral Orchestra. It's good to have this ensemble back and making music again. While Neil Campbell's been off sowing his dance oats in the oft-boring Astral Social Club, poor VC has been left in psychedelic limbo. Now Neil's back in the fold, vacuuming in members of Total for the ride and a sweet return to form it is. Side A is the full on bastardization of ethnic world music that VC does so well, coming off like a less technical offshoot of the Sun City Girls, with two tracks that are all wah-ed out guitar wanking and static noise loops draped on top of repetitive rhythmic percussions of hand and kit variety. Nothing changes as far as intensity is concerned but these two tracks lope about in a psyched-out wonderland, coming off like a more acid-drenched travelogue of Robert Mills. Side B is the destroyer here, a massive communal zone-out built around No-Neck style psychic linking, hushed feedback looping and a cold industrialized percussion that may or may not be man made. Perhaps a little of each. I was amazed at the inherent coldness of this track once it gets going-it's not as oppressive as, say, the Swans, but it's a much more frigid take on ethnography than i expected from this group. The distancing doesn't diminish it's zone-out effect though, and the album as a whole is a good 35 minutes of culture-hopping resulting in a thorough brain massage. VC is another band for whom the vinyl format seems a limitation but as the first third in a trilogy this a solid mess.