Sunday, 22 August 2010

Disembraining Songs

Received a package last week from Toronto based genius / polymath William A. Davison. It contained 3 releases from his Disembraining Songs label.

Backstory: Early 2008 and Tamsin and I decided to spend a couple of weeks in Canada. Toronto as a HQ and a camping trip on Lake Ontario. I put a notice up on a couple of forum boards asking advice on secondhand vinyl/CD stores in Toronto and two folk replied. Andy Nolan (AKA Joshua Norton Cabal) and William A. Davison. On arrival Andy was busy, but William and his partner Sherri both offered to show me the sites of Toronto. Kensington Market, Queen St. West, Chinatown etc. We took in a couple of bars, even went to a show...and of course shopped in beautiful secondhand vinyl stores.

Before my Toronto trip the work of William was unknown to me. I had never heard of Songs Of The New Erotics, Gastric Female Reflex or Six Heads. I had heard of a couple of groups he had worked with in a live capacity though; Nurse With Wound and Phycus.
Whilst in Toronto I picked up a Gastric Female Reflex LP for a few dollars, secondhand vinyl over there was so cheap compared to shops in the UK. Let me state at this point - I could quite happily live in Toronto.
So. Last week William mailed me a batch of new releases. All three (CDr's by the way) are live recordings from improvised performances in three separate venues in Toronto. The M.Stactor project is William performing solo. "Thrombling" is taken from a performance at Ossington Space Port in 2009. I have no idea what Thrombling is, or even if it is possible to thromble. The sleeve lists"instruments" used. Motorless turntable, dictaphone, balloon mic, contact mic, spring board, cassette walkman, Boss RC-20 Loopstation. Intriguing stuff. The sound of thrombling is a kind of low key looped rumble. Very inviting. Very "industrial" in an old school sense - if that makes sense? Six Heads are a group project. "Snuffles" is a twenty or so minute piece recorded at "The Most Horrible Night Of Your Life", The Smiling Buddha Bar in 2009. The sound is very similar to the M.Stactor release, I played them straight after each other and it seemed seamless. Sounds rumble and creak and loop and build and satisfy the ears. Again, invocative of old "industrial / DIY" sounds from the early 1980's. Very clever stuff, which cannot be said for Magic Tits. Another group project featuring some but not all members of Six Heads. This 5 track 3" CDr was recorded live at Teranga in 2009. Magic Tits is an ensemble of cheap Casio + Yamaha keyboards., so there is that cheap tinny keyboard sound. The opening track "Insufficient Macaroni Anxiety" even has the obligatory "Greensleeves" playing on the rhythm box. It's not good - or at least does not work for me. Waltz + Bossa Nova rhythms over keyboard doodles. Interesting as a document, not as an entertaining release.
I will hunt down Six Heads and M.Stactor stuff in the future.
Besides the music projects William is involved in he is also an artist - most sleeves carry his artwork. Visit to find out more.

1: Myself, Sherri and William, Toronto 2008.
2: M.Stactor "Thrombling" sleeve.
3: M.Stactor live.
4: Six Heads "Snuffles" sleeve.
5: Magic Tits "Stit Cigam" sleeve.

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