Yes, I know that this is a vinyl blog. But we have done a few non-vinyl posts in the past and this release is worth noting.
If you’ve been reading this blog long enough, it’s already well-known that I am a big fanboy of all things A. Turner. Given that ISIS has ended, Turner has turned his skills into not only his House of Low Culture project, but also going full-on with Mamiffer, which initially started as his wife’s, Faith Coloccia, vehicle for creativity after the dissolution of Everlovely Lightningheart.
Mamiffer recently release their second album, Mare Decendrii, and it is awesome. Peep at the review I wrote for it here to get a good sense of how great it is. Or better yet, go out and buy it and listen for yourself.
One thing that has always impressed me about Mamiffer, and in turn Coloccia and Turner, is that they continue to put out new material as soon as it’s released. A mere weeks after the release of Mare Decendrii, Hydra Head put out a split cassette with Demian Johnston.
The Mamiffer track, “Dead Settlers”, was recorded post-Mare Decendrii and it is 18-minutes long. Composed of guitar, organ, voice, and field recordings, it is a nice companion to the group’s album but also expanding on the sonic palette that Mamiffer continues to paint with. It starts subtle and subdued and as builds up as it progresses.
Now with Demian Johnston I’ll freely admit that I wasn’t 100% familiar with his work as a solo artist. I know of him from his time in Undertow and Kiss It Goodbye, two great hardcore bands from back in the 90’s. His solo work is a lot more unconventional. I’d dare say experimental down-tempo metal noise. Funny enough that’s the genre info on his MySpace page.
The two tracks on the split cs, “Kallikantzaros” and “Sawdust and Old”, are all guitar work that has been manipulated, tweaked, and processed to wash over you as tidal wave of noise. But I don’t mean “noise” as in a bad thing…like “Goddamn! What’s all this noise?!?!”…it’s more an assault on the senses that forces you to pay attention and listen closely. It’s a perfect sound to compliment Mamiffer’s more subdued and melodic side.
The split cassette was limited to 110 hand-stamped pieces. Housed in an oversized box, it includes 13 photo prints bundled together with a thin rope-like thread, and designed by Faith Coloccia. The entire text is written in Cyrillic. Developed in the 10th century, it is still used to this day mostly in Eastern Europe. I’m going to have some major fun attempting to “translate” the writings.
If you’re interested in getting your hand on this split, Hydra Head already sold out of their copies on their Real Tomato Ketchup store, but get your ass over quick to the SIGE Records webstore as they seem to still have it on hand.
“Translating funny-looking words since 1995”