Two smooth, sanded rectangles of recycled wood are strung through holes to secure a black, hand-stamped, cassette amongst a lettuce of green splattered paper. Once again Winebox have maintained their unmatched skill in delivering jaw-droppingly constructed rarities, encasing out-there music from creative and warped British minds. Harappian Night Recordings received much praise after releasing ‘The Glorious Gongs of Hainuwele’ on Bo’ Weavil. Since then I have enjoyed the breadth of creativity with sounds appearing on Ikuisuus and now Winebox. The last release from HNR’s Sayed Kamran Ali took me by surprise as it incorporated a seemingly more hasty approach, and an aesthetic that was rooted in primitive rock and punk, (as well as the improvised Asian spiced sounds that signature his sound). This latest effort expands some of those ideas, but injects some western lo-fi tinges that one could mistake as being the grime-laden garage of a band like the Hospitals.
The opening side splutters with a messy blues that soon submerges in swamped aquatics, bowing and warping the sounds. Vocals crawl in unrecognisable tongues from some underwater radio. Impatience drives the tones to coarser yet clearer modes of tape hiss and Eastern tinged instrumentation. All is skilfully played over ramshackle percussion, not too dissimilar to the forest rambles of Chora. Silence is sudden and long until frightening scrapes intrude with blistered fingers. It twists like an unpredictable snake, coursing a sonic route akin to the delirious fire of Doyle’s alto. A singing bowl appears to hang beyond the sandy foreground. Tape interference and low quality microphone blows out vocals that arc and grunt in the style of Keiji Haino. This movement is pained and vomitous. Next up is a freekout acid-tinged guitar piece that recalls label-mates Infinite Light. This raucous explosion devastates and shakes the speakers in quaking ascensions. Tape warps return to a bizarrely manipulated Asian melody and vocal. Then in a blink droning, thumping fuzz and noise-rock blow out in the vein of the previously noted Hospitals. All fuzzes to near imperception. Wraithlike vocals drift in a Thom Yorke kind of fashion over minimal percussion. Then in sudden switches, proceedings enter back street India, then a fuzzy garage rock party in God-knows-where? There is a great exploration of the airwaves that has a beautifully restless nature. Think early Ariel Pink in its station-hopping compositional wonder.
Scraping strings blast a fresh flip-side into a call to arms. Once again Chora spring to mind, as towering tones and herd shaken percussion are embalmed in thick cloth. Strained vocals groan in avant-garde madness. Deep growls and distorted howls make uncomfortable listening. Field recordings, scrapes and bangs are met with streaming water. All is simply recorded and crudely assembled. The limited frequency gives a dream quality of something alien yet recognisable. A swelling noise swarms the pallet with violent vocals and squalling nonsense. A crazy beat blasts in uncontrollable techno amongst dirty noise. Then something sounding like the Blues Brothers meets Rusted Shut (noise-rock) blasts through bringing a welcome breath through the previous din. All is soon reduced to a quiet strangled looping gloop that carves a sand worm tunnel through the airwaves. Near distant melodies weave beyond the crackling sound. Higher tones ignite a fire-etched tapestry of Eastern-birthed improv. Various genres are regurgitated and then swallowed in succession to make way for a stomping tribal blast that throbs and twists with acid and hashish. Quiet Tibetan bowls gong for an ephemeral time before quick plucks and cymbal hits intervene. Guitar rings out as goat herders trample by. What sounds like a sped up back-street recording from some Asian outpost, sings in some crazed splurge. Back to throbbing rock we turn in some strange fuzzed up Satori, that sounds fucking awesome. This long piece sings until instant silence, terminating the strangest side of tape I’ve heard in a long, long time. 8/10 -- Peter Taylor (30 June, 2010)