Wednesday, 17 April 2013
I was having a conversation the other day, chatting about old bands / artists etc ... and after a few names I kept saying ... "bet they've reformed" ... "I bet they've reformed" (I am not going to mention names) and the answer each time was "yup" ... So when a package came through from Scotland's finest Sound Holes label with a tape by U Boat in it I wondered whether or not Woody Woodmansey had got his old band together and started off releasing ultra limited cassettes on obscure Scottish cassette labels just to test the waters. Unfortunately no ... The tape became an adventure in avant sound poetry, a genre of which up until a few days ago I believe I was a virgin. (Although I have a bad Wounded Knee CDR, and have seen Peter Um live ... does this count)?
The obscurely titled "The Snake Needs A Tatty Cage" is a C20 limited to 61 copies. A track a side. Side A is called "Snake". I think this is a live recording, as ever Sound Holes cassettes are void of information, or should I say private recording as I don't think there was an audience. The first few minutes are OK, with sparse gamelan style percussion, ringing bowls and Tibetan bells etc, but then a voice enters the mix ... at first trying to carry the resonance but soon drops into self-indulgent banter. No language (Unless it is in tongues). Strange play of the mouth. Nurse With Wound did this type of thing a lot better 30 odd years ago.
The second side is entitled "Trough". It has biscuit tin percussion and random snare. Aaargghhh...free jazz! It is ten minutes of awful. Almost childish....
It's good that Sound Holes give this avant sound poetry malarkey an outlet, but at the same time should they encourage such things??
Research tells me that U Boat is a duo made from Pascal Nichols of Part Wild Horses Mane On Both Sides and Ben Knight of Towering Breaker. I have heard (of) neither,but if they want a decent drummer, they should try and get Woody's number....
I like Sound Holes, they have released some classic tapes along the way. U Boat just isn't one of them.
1: U Boat cassette Sleeve.
2: U Boat cassette.
3: Inner Sleeve Artwork.