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Accelera Deck. Live Volume II. CDR (out of print)
digital reissue edition available from - - - LATHELIGHT LTD - - -
Like Volume I, this release also features two live sets. Both were recorded at The Black Cat in Washington, DC. Set one dates from September 22nd, 2003 (the day before the Silk City gig, from Volume I), is mega-LOUD and focuses on the noisier material from Adeck's 2003 album 'Ipsissima Vox', + a rare track from 'Fire Maps' (a little known split CD w/ Slinger, released in 2002). Set two was recorded on March 22nd, 2004 and was the last show of the 3 week 'Desktop Rock' tour (w/ Evol and Satellite Grooves), since alot of the same material had been played night after night that month this set was selected because it focused on playing alot of unreleased material.
01. The Black Cat - Washington, DC. 09.22.2003
|: 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)
I have never been a friend of those high frequencies. Once while listening to John Zorn’s Kristallnacht it made me sick in the stomach and my eyes started to water. Chris Jeely obviously likes to use these in a live setting, because I don’t recall them being so predominantly on his recorded work. So I am glad when the heavy, bassridden white noise sets in with a motion that I can’t help but think of a wild beast mauling its prey. That goes on for quite some time and then the track suddenly breaks in half. What follows is an array of various, unrelated noise pieces of different sentiment, some playfully chaotic and some dense and distorted, arranged in no – to me at least – apparent reason. Glitchy noises are followed by a droning guitar are followed by some thundering, highly distorted video game blasts, are followed by tiny specks of bleeps are followed by a ghostly yet pleasing sound of nightly wind and ever so on. This manoeuvre has two effects on me: one part of me is eagerly anticipating what might come next or – in repeated listenings – what will come when, and one part of me wants to dig out some old recordy by Tony Joe White or Townes Van Zandt to get earth on its tongue and grits in its belly. Or how about a little silence? Just closing your eyes, looking inward and trying not to listen to anything?
The second track doesn’t let up in chaos and its non-structure structure. Jeely combines various kinds of interference sounds from volatile chirping to crazily floating and swirling crunches and hums, with various kinds of other stuff in between. In the middle there are even some soothing, slow atmospheres, which are, of course, shortly broken down by some more beeping and crashing. Like taking a walk through a mirror house, every glance brings something new and unsuspected, though the surprise does tend to wear off with time. Maybe Jeely felt the same way, that’s why he once again breaks the part down after half, to settle for some ambient humming sounds that layer over each other in the background. Like putting the kids to sleep after they have been restless for a long afternoon, this kind of silence is brooding and soothing at the same time. It doesn’t hold for a long time, though. But the noise is more solid and droning than before, and growing growing growing. Towards the end we have drifted off into sleep and find ourselves walking through an animated jungle with all the animals screaming and a little light music playing in the background.
Part two of the Live Volume Series starts out as the more demanding of all three current parts, and both tracks prove this first impression right. Maybe the audience in Washington, DC is stronger than elsewhere and able to digest a hard punch. Who knows, with the government on one side and violent drug crime on the other side, the results of such a show might come out differently than anywhere else. Anyway, now you might have gotten an impression why Jeely called these records live VOLUME instead of live recordings or anything like that. Because Volume in both meanings – as in size and loudness – has major importance here. After all, only with headphones or on justifiedly high volume, depending on how much you respect the people around you, will the full range of sounds and their dynamics be experienced. There is so much variety within the ebb and flow as well as the various bit parts and sound specks in here, that you might lose some of them on the way. The number of interwoven layers nevertheless is quite low, usually about two, at times three. When your mind starts to interfere doing hallucinatory loops and virtual add-ons the number might rise to four or five, but please remember, those are all in your head and not on the record.
It is hard to pin down noise tracks as eloquent and varied as these in just a few tiny words like above and really do them justice. The problem is as old as music criticism itself (or any other kind of criticism of art), how does this mediocre journalistic form (dare not call it literary, that would be too strongly against my own convictions) live up to what it describes. Experimental music and avant-garde music leaves the writer even more helpless than other styles of music, maybe that’s why writing about this genre is more rewarding than others. Most people, I guess, wouldn’t care either way, 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).