Mommy close the door & Codename: Dustsucker
by Ian Simmons
[ cdreviews ]
Ok, I have to come clean here: the only reason these two are getting reviewed together is that they both involve the word "dust"; but hey - let's just run with it for a bit. Both involve an element of the past in their creation. Dustbreeders are a French turntables-and-electronic duo who use old vinyl as their source material, while Bark Psychosis apparently disappeared for 10 years while their mainstays were involved in drum 'n' bass, but have now reformed to pick up where they left off. Bark Psychosis' name suggests an inclination towards noise-fuelled dementia, but these days they are distinctly mellow. Dustbreeders might imply something gathering dust in a peaceful sort of way, and are anything but. I found myself rather awed by Dustbreeders and Junko, but not in a "wow, what a brilliant CD" sort of way, more in the "why did anyone think of doing that, never mind actually doing it?" way one usually responds to people who eat broken glass or pull 18-Wheelers with their knobs. I was told when I was going to review the CD that it was "good for scraping paint off the wall" and I assumed this meant it was crap and you'd be better off doing this with it than playing it, but having listened to it, I realise the sound alone could actually strip paint nicely. The three live 15 or so minute tracks that make up Mommy close the door sound like someone feeding Yoko Ono alive through an industrial woodchipper. It is scarcely conceivable that the human voice can sustain such a level of screeching for the length of time veteran Tokyo noise performer Junko actually manages, and it is likewise a major feat for Dustbreeders to extract this kind of welting industrial din from a bunch of old vinyl. After listening to this you could sit down with Metal machine music for light tuneful relief. Ostensibly a gleeful trashing of past music, Mommy close the door sounds a lot better as an idea than as a performance, and was probably a lot more fun to make than it is to listen to, an opinion apparently shared by the audiences, you can count, probably on one hand, the people giving the applause at the end of each track. I am kind of glad I have this CD now, but I wouldn't have parted with cash for it and I can't see it getting much play beyond those times when you have to top someone's Half Japanese track in a "you won't believe what I've got" session.
Bark Psychosis on the other hand mildly underwhelm. These days they are restful, polite and mildly fey, wandering about somewhere between the Pastels and the quieter bits of Tortoise, but never doing anything that would ruffle feathers. The production is big and plush, but the overall feel of the album is somewhat directionless and a little dated, as if they are harking back to past glories, but can no longer remember quite how they achieved them. Codename: Dustsucker is perfectly amiable and has some competent songwriting, but fails to rise above the everyday.