|SCARCELIGHT RECORDINGS > releases > SLR46|
Accelera Deck. Live Volume I. CDR (out of print)
digital reissue edition available from - - - LATHELIGHT LTD - - -
features two live sets; The first of which was recorded at Artswatch in Louisville, KY on November 17th, 2003 and is a blistering version of 'Dross' (from the Sunstrings ep). The second set was recorded at Silk City in Philadelphia, PA on September 23rd, 2003 and is unusually mellow compared to the Louisville set, and features some of the quieter material from Adeck's 2003 album 'Ipsissima Vox'
01. Artswatch - Louisville, KY. 11.17.2003
|: cover by Cataract Press
As sonically encompassing as Accelera Deck's Ipsissima Vox and Pop Polling are, they're dwarfed by the
103 minutes of 2003-05 live performances spread across these three discs. It's the most challenging
collection of AD material by Chris Jeely to date, with the fearless provocateur sculpting seething monoliths
of noise, offset by some carefully placed moments of relative quietude. Fans of Jeely's guitar work should
know that his six-string playing hardly dominates, with the material more heavily weighted towards pure
The overall mood is established in the first volume's fifteen-minute opener, a blistering, howling take on
“Dross” (from the Sunstrings EP) that, in its most aggressive moments, recalls the work of Florian Hecker
or Peter Rehberg. It's not wholly tumultuous, however, as less harrowing passages offer respite from the
sounds of machinery writhing in agonized death throes. At certain moments, the piece resembles the amplified
sound of mating rats, or what you'd hear if someone shoved a microphone up a pig's snout. The subsequent calm
after the storm draws upon Ipsissima Vox's quieter material with placid guitar strums carving a path through
less harsh electronic terrain.|
At forty-five minutes, disc two is the longest of the trio, with the opening set (recorded at The Black Cat in Washington, DC) the most savage. Jeely sculpts an annihilating cauldron of violent blasts and ruptures, though again relief arrives via calmer passages of industrial scurries and rumbles, with some country-tinged picking even appearing before feedback-drenched howl again darkens the mood. The second set evocatively conjures a peaceful outdoors setting before segueing into stuttering fields of sputter and splatter, the sum-total a similarly alien if less incinerating landscape than the opener.
The most conventionally 'listenable' and guitar-heavy of the three (the chiming guitar sound in an early section even hints at Tears for Fears' “Everybody Wants To Change the World”— coincidence, surely), the half-hour third volume begins with a stately unfurl of pealing guitars and then moves through a darker episode anchored by a dramatic four-note theme before returning to the same elegiac unfurl with which it began; there's even a drums-guitar hoedown of sorts, though the sound is so muddy the drums largely disappear into the blurry undertow.
Yes, the sets are challenging, intense, and exhausting and sometimes resemble music to slit your wrists by. Yet while they're fiercely experimental and uncompromising, they're also far from unmusical, even during their most extreme moments. My advice? Listen to all three in one sitting at the highest possible volume in order to achieve the most complete Accelera Deck experience.
Textura December 2005
*** this review concerns all 3 live volumes: (SLR46), (SLR47), (SLR48)
Chris Jeely starts off number one of a triple-disc set of live performances with two very contrary pieces, both reworks from recent Accelera Deck releases. Track one, disc one is “dross” from the “sunstrings EP” which is a chaotic hazardous piece of power noise gone glitch gone completely havoc and then wrecked on fossile rocks on an alpine stone slope. An impressive reminder on what used to make Japan Noise such a nice thing back then. And still is. The crispy fireplace gone fireblaze sounds that crunch their way through most of this track are full of strong impact and able to set your mind straight, or askew – whatever your viewpoint on what normal is might be. If you are listening to Accelera Deck, this viewpoint might change or already have changed radically so the time spent is worthwhile in any case.
Track two, disc one consists of material taken from “Ipsissima Vox” and is a more reduced, silent and mellow piece, though a lot of its reduction, silence and mellowness is owned to the piece it comes after. Actually, it constantly grows and grows ready to become a blazing drone of screeching noise, which never really happens because the track breaks off before the right moment in time comes for it to fully bloom. But the accelerating dynamic is clearly audible. This is mixed with minimal percussive elements and a playful usage of sickening high frequencies and seasoned with some protuberantic explosions of noise here and there. Both contain a certain degree of chaos and hectic disturbance that connects them. There is glimmer and blisters in both of them, though in one track it is terribly condensed and bursting into all directions, while on track two the sparks seem to wait for new energy or fusion to be released.
I am always amazed at the easy way Jeely seems to handle these masses of noise. He is not at all afraid to throw some awkward pieces into the mix, that bounce back and forth for a short time and then are gone again. Or rather dismissed and discarded if they don’t work. Since these are live recordings, it is also impressive to notice with how fine sensors and feeling Jeely arranges these pieces – even if they are boldly brash pieces of noise – and keeps them together for over 20 minutes or 30 minutes at the time. It is not pure improvisation I guess, but rather a reworking of – as said – already recorded material. Let’s call it eagerly rehearsed improvisation, because as everybody knows, things usually tend to work out quite different than during rehearsals.
There is no info where the motivation to release three discs in a row with Accelera Deck live material comes from – a harddisk rummage sale, start of an enormous bootleg series – and actually it is not really important. Scarcelight is Jeely’s own label and he can the heck do with it, whatever he likes. It is only because each of these discs has a separate catalogue number that I decided to do three separate reviews on them. Another reason would be that I wouldn’t ever be able to listen to all three of them in one consecutive sitting, due to restraints of time, concentrational ability and physical disability, so I’ll go at them one by one. That doesn’t imply that I will follow the numbers in any order, by the way. The final reason for doing three reviews is that I imagined I would like to see all three entries separately below each other forming a nice block of Accelera Deck reviews within the January review section. See, this is my webzine and I the heck do with it whatever I likes. (Or what someone influential advises me to or hints at…)
The covers of these three discs are loosely slapped together collages just the way we used to do them back in the day when everybody had his own Xeroxed punkrock fanzine. Things definitely have changed that way, but it is good to see the spirit is still alive, if hidden down deep somewhere in some people’s soul. To find a label – other than Chris Jeely’s own label – to release this as a triple vinyl album are minimal, to say the least anyway. I would welcome such a release. I’d put it right to some of my other favourite live-records in multiple sets; such as would be the Springsteen 5er live box, Allman Brothers live at Fillmore East, The Band’s Rock of Ages and Nils Lofgren “Night after Night” – you bet I am joking? I’m not. I like bombastic explorations and versions of songs that go on for too long in live recordings. But that is a regular thing with experimental noise anyway, so I wouldn’t make the differentiation anyway.
Chris Jeely's Accelera Deck have been around for some years now, and has probably played
live on quite some occasions. So it eludes me why now three CDRs are released with live shows
from the recent years. Maybe an archival clean up? Maybe the first in a long series of all Accelera Deck
live recordings available? We don't know (yet). The CDr format is of course one of the better formats to
make these sort of recordings possible, especially when they have a punk approach to the cover, such as
these three. On all three we get a peak at the Accelera Deck gear, which includes two mixing consoles and
a large PC screen - not y'r local laptop freak. Although I have heard quite a bit of Accelera Deck, I am
not the man to speak in terms of song recognition. On all three CDs, Accelera Deck play songs from
their albums, like from the most recent 'Pop Polling' on 'Live Volume III' and 'Ipsissima Vox' on
the first two. In some of the sets he plays (on the first two there are two different live recordings,
so these discs contain five different concerts) either with quite noise related material, such as the
first set on 'Live Volume II', or with pleasantly softer material, such as the second set of the first
volume. It's less beat oriented than some of his previous work that was released on vinyl, but the
experimental/glitch tag suits him better, I think. Promoters of concerts should get the third
volume from the series since this reflects his recent live sound (and putting up a concert from
Accelera Deck seems to me a most enjoyable and probably highly surprising thing).