Project – It’s Just Like Meeting Picasso (Louder Than War/FOAD)
LP | DL
Available now from Louder Than War Records
Where avant garde and pulsating rhythms meet sinister undertones. Electronic artiste Stano and P. A from Paranoid Visions mash up tunes and more with a little help from some beloved punk rock vocalists. Louder Than War’s latest release, in collaboration with FOAD Musick, defies classification – like pirate radio interrupted by Radio 4 – says Nathan Brown.
The cover of It’s Just Like Meeting Picasso stares right at you with it’s bloodshot eye. Funnily, the image makes me think of Salvador Dali rather than Picasso. When you pull the vinyl out of the sleeve it’s emulated by the blood splatter on white vinyl. So starts the psychological stare out.
Project is based around a Dublin partnership between avant garde electrical musician Stano and Peter “P.A.” Jones from Paranoid Visions on guitar and bass. It is a record that challenges classification. The press release claim “part spoken word, part instrumental and completely unique” is a fair description. The 8 tracks are given further depth with the guest appearances from Tony St Ledger (Trouble Pilgrims),Ten Bears Bogan (Onoff), Val Bagnall, T.J. Qra and Danarchy (Paranoid Visions), guitar player Jeen Rabs and artist Donald Teskey.
There are moments where some of the concoctions sounds like the sort of thing a techno head would play at you in the 90s and you’d get all excited cos you recognised one of the samples. Except they’re not mere samples. 6 of the tracks feature performances, readings or interviews with faces from the world of punk – more than mere snatches, and delivered with suitable drama.
Opening track Aura has an empty abrasiveness with pounding giant beats and echoey guitar noodles. The repetitive guitar and bass riff produces something that fans of Gaye Bykers on Acid or Butthole Surfers will warm to immediately. The gigantic voice of The Shend (The Cravats, The Spinning Man Podcast) is sampled, cut up and pasted back together again. The effect is Bond villain sinister.
Starting with what sounds to me like a moon buggy crawling over an extra-terrestrial landscape, a psychedelic stadium rock tune takes over to provide the foundation for Punch and Judy. (Disclaimer: I’ve never left this planet or heard an actual moon buggy). Over this backing, punk rock’s favourite professor of Punchology, Steve Ignorant (Crass, Conflict, Schwarzeneggar, Stratford Mercenaries, Slice of Life etc), provides a comedic re-telling of the seaside tradition’s narrative. He also analyses the history of Mr Punch’s story revealing his working class hero credentials “He was the only person who could knock down a policeman and not get arrested for it“. Disappointingly no swazzle though.
Tricolours features a whole poem delivered by Deko Dachau (Paranoid Visions) tracking bigots marching under the Irish Tricolour. With a rhythmic march to ape the flag wavers, the song is like dub poetry on E through a “Mega Fucking Angry” effect pedal. He has a great knack of spitting out words as if venom through his Dublin brogue. It segues into Fuck Off And Die which is pretty much an instrumental dub with effects to the max.
The Shend re-appears for Destroying Angel. His delivery could be regarded avant garde in its own right, but when magnified by the pulsing beats, crashing drums, wailing guitars, fanfares and droid beeps it seeps into the realms of sci-fi.
Deko returns as the twisted narrator of Rise over heavily distorted industrial beats. It’s the strangest rendition that I’ve heard of the Maya Angelou poem Still I Rise (about black womens’ ability to overcome oppression). The track Interlude which follows is a lilting non-vocal number in the Throbbing Gristle mould.
I Don’t Want is the third instalment from The Shend. It reminded me of the tales from Ivor Cutler that John Peel used to drop into his show, although far more sinister. The application of flanger effects almost renders this into a Vogon poetry reading.
The overall impact of combining poetry and spoken word with at times disconcerting music is akin to pirate radio being occasionally interrupted by Radio 4. There’s also something of industrial noise agitator Al Jourgensen in the overall mood. A playful twisted darkness.
This is the sort of record DJs and people with a penchant for psychedelic substances will kill for but I’m not certain it’s the sort of thing you’d sling on when your mates pop round for a couple of cans. It’s a bit too intense! Perfect to be played through huge speakers to a bunch of chemically altered freaks in a field.
I’ve never met Picasso, but from what I’ve read Picasso was idiosyncratic and often unpredictable. That’s pretty much what you get from this album so perhaps it does what it says on the tin. It really does defy classification.
Words by Nathan Brown. Check out his Louder Than War Author Archive.