House cleaning, round two. Clang Quartet, Scotty Irving's solo noise/percussion/performance art showcase, should be legendary for Carolina scenesters already. His live act combines minimal percussion improvisation, blasts of harsh noise, imaginative costumes, and Irving's own spiritual message/ministry into a captivating, breathing art piece for those fortunate enough to stumble upon it. I picked up his latest full-length, the vinyl-only ?Revival of the Wretch? on the Crushing Carolina tour when it happened to stop through my then-home, Boone. Quite a night for those handful of freaks in attendance. As a quite pleasant surprise, Irving's recorded output, while no match for live brutality, gives you something completely different, yet oddly enthralling.
First off, I must say that I love vinyl without index markers (must be the prog-rocker in me). Just a mirror-black ocean of uncut jams??Revival of the Wretch? is a single composition split into halves for release. Opening this one up is some mid-range electronic scuzz, sourced from what sounds like a synthesizer, slowly breaking its chrysalis into scattered tom-tom drumming. For me, it helps to think of this record as a minimal free-jazz thing instead of a noise record. Certainly not a party record, headphones would be ideal. Complaints are similar to that of the Crumer record released at the same time?the mastering job leaves much to be desired (like when the pops on a brand new record are louder than the music...hmm?). A snare eventually joins the toms, immediately bringing visualizations to mind of Irving sitting on the concrete floor of Black Cat, surrounded by a three-quarter circle of a deconstructed kit. At some point, pieces of the kit gain amplification and delay pedals, resulting in a static-laden dance around the soundfield punctuated by seared volcanic eruptions. More indescribable audio violence ensues on the second side. Although nothing completely alien to the events depicted above.
As I return to this review a few weeks after initially beginning the first draft, it occurs to me that the living room experience of a CQ recording probably does not carry the impact of the live show. I mean, how could it? Cast your nets via Google or YouTube and you'll see what I mean. This is truly performance art in the highest sense. With that said, I still believe this to be a valuable audio document meriting both exposure and acclaim. I just wonder how listening to ?Revival of the Wretch? following a contemporaneous performance tainted my perspective. A weird caveat, I know. So the numerical rating above hopefully (honestly) reflects the wax, not the image. 8/10 -- Brandon Miller (7 November, 2007)