by Daevid Brock
This is a new C60 split cassette from two Dayton, Ohio bands. Side A features Smiffmaff & The Salesmen, who come crashing out of the starting gate with a glom of noise and rapid-fire pulsations. But this is the briefest of intros, as they quickly settle into an oddly ambient blend of ruminating guitar, saxophone, atmospherics and effects. It’s got a calmly exploratory jazz vibe, but it’s also noisily edgy and the effects add a nice weirdness. After a brief static-drone interlude we’re treated to some tastefully melodic guitar, that is offset by fuzzed up angst from a second guitar, plus disorienting looped weirdness. The music trips along in lightly noisy La-La Land before hurtling into a rocking segment with some seriously anguished and efx’d vocals. I love how these guys are constantly seesawing between high intensity and edgily peaceful passages. Parts of this sound like Neil Young & Crazy Horse in experimental-punk mode and jamming with Anthony Braxton and Merzbow. Really cool stuff that mish-mashes a freakish variety of influences. I’ve got an LP by these guys too.
Side B consists of three tracks from Living Room. In short order they manage to smear a cacophonous mélange of noise assault, hyper-kinetic speed-punk, runaway windmilling effects, and electronic blasts. There’s no danger of being bored by these guys because they are constantly twisting and dead-man’s-curve turning on a dime. I got a kick out of the repetitive segment with a crazed rhythmic pulse, screaming, electronics, and a voice saying “This isn’t music” over and over. Parts sound like screechy noisy doom metal. Others sound like a tape collage version of Henry Cow at their most avant-garde. Another part brought to mind a noisier take on The Residents’ ‘Satisfaction’ cover (yeah, even noisier than that!). Overall, it’s an impressive and good fun blend of experimental collage, creative use of noise, wigged out electronics, and punk/free-jazz. Seat belts required.
The tape and stream/download are available at the Living Room Bandcamp site:
Smiffmaff & The Salesmen have a Bandcamp site too: https://smiffmaff.bandcamp.com/