Your Flesh Magazine

Issue #21

The third consecutive issue of Your Flesh which would feature any of my writing; frankly, I had become too busy with other aspects of the magazine to do much writing. Also, by this time I had established sort of a reputation as the resident weirdo on the staff, mostly due to the fact that I leaned towards the more eclectic offerings of the music world at large. Post-Cage-ian industrialism? I’m your man. Neo-baroque atonal drone? Right here. This was the new rock to me, and rock was the new theatre. Yet, few people still used the word “art”.

And really, why would they? This was a period in which record labels which had staved off commercialism for the privelege of being “independent”, eventually succumbed to the greater influence of “indie” rock. The mechanized clang of industrial rhythms became more syncopated as they ambled towards the dance floor, and yesterday’s embittered punks—who were, after all, the embittered hippies of the previous era— now re-dressed themselves in the emperor’s new uniform of “grunge”. Before things were going to get any better, it seemed, they were going to have get a whole lot worse.

Jellyfish Kiss
Animal Rites LP
What’s in a name? Depends on which side of it you’re attached; in the case of Jellyfish Kiss, it’s a gesture of tenderness bestowed upon a dying planet almost too weary to notice. Our loss, if we don’t take it for what it is, more to the point if we simply can’t take it. This lot has no bones to pick – bare is more like it. A close follow-up to last year’s Plank, Animal Rites stretches the reckless abandon they so virtuously established into a vortex of mayhem and wishful thinking. They face facts – “Dead” trails off as the Rock & Roll “King” himself waxes prolific on struggle and systems analysis [who would know better?]; “Regular Folk” and “Big Talk” each drive their respective point home with a ten-ton mallet. Odd, how as the, vision becomes more complex, the meshed textures of snakelike Eastern motifs and nerve-bending electric psychosis become more soothing and friendly, as though they know just what you’re thinking – and offer their condolences. The vocabulary they command is akin to having just snapped out of a coma you’ve comfortably spent your life within, only to find things seem the same now that you’re in a conscious state. Maybe alienation is a luxury too easily afforded by artists who dwell on the fringe these days; the real trick – one this bunch seems to have a heartfelt grip on – is staying in touch. Perhaps as the closing lines to “Zero Tolerance” echo wearily, they truly “think about it all [the time]” – two missions accomplished in one fell swoop. How many of you reading this can top that? [Shimmy Disc]

Phil Milstein
Tapeworm: SFX LP
One of the inner weavings of defunct Boston-based unit Uzi, further unraveled here for the benefit and bemusement of all, whether you were a fan or not. Sound effects buff / tape manipulator Milstein has unleashed a full LP of his own found-sound montages originally intended for use in Uzi’s dense and soporific musings, and the resultant din is if anything, ironic. Musical? Depends on your definitions, I suppose. Interesting? Yes, but if you consider that many of the sounds used in these recordings are nuances of everyday life simply overlayered and subjected to arbitrary whims of technology, an amazing reserve of objectivity is in order for a project such as this – the fact that it becomes quite listenable in places notwithstanding. The ethicality of “cut-ups”, “found” art et al, has long plagued me as with modern innovations such as sampling, simply because we already hear information in just this manner – as a series of textures, not one sound at a time. Layered sound is a natural process our inner ear applies to our environment, so to release a collection of what are essentially “backing” tracks seems somewhat out of context. On the other hand, this may simply be yet another case of the wrong choice of medium for the job at hand. Since an album such as this represents at best both the process of searching for an idea, as well as an incomplete work, the actual uses for the LP are infinite, but what goes around comes around, y’all. [50 Skidillion Watts]

Pale Saints
Half-Life EP
A difficult entry in the newest wave of post-modem easy listening, though quite enjoyable in its’ own right. Androgynous vocalizing skitters delicately across the surface of densely layered organic textures, imprecise in its content but whole in terms of a “soundscape”. Mad swirls of distorted guitar gurglings open in the space of a sudden breath to emit lightning-like flashes of interwoven sonic fury and neo-surrealist beauty without compromising so much as a heartbeat. Obscure through their inability to be pigeonholed as merely “ethereal”, yet avoiding the stumbling blocks of dime-a-dozen thrash-ability, Pale Saints are an entity that exists solely within their own privileged terrain of nightmare and desire. Music such as this doesn’t reach out and grab you, you let yourself go and fall into it’s sway, which in itself is a personal delight, not subject to the squawking of the hordes. [4AD]

Terminal Cheesecake
Angels In Pigtails LP
This should further satiate the ever-growing contingent who dwell on the fine line between naked truth and obsession. Those whose biggest shock is life itself need no introduction to this excruciatingly-detailed music , those who fear death will most likely be terrified by its’ stark demeanor. Why this dichotomy exists is itself a mystery, being no more than a gauging system for two inevitable landmarks in the spectrum of our existence. Terminal Cheesecake know this much, or they would not be capable of producing such an actualized state of somnambulate pleasure; combining elements of delight and disgust in an intelligent manner that is no more exploitative than it is entertaining. Maybe it’s the sheer psychological impact that scares some folks the way it do – this is loud to be sure, but only as much as the density demands of available frequencies, certainly not pushing the point on any level. Angels… is also a lot more intense than last year’s V.C.L., if only because it delves deeper into realms of undiscovered fascination – shock for its’ own value surfaces in any number of accessible guises; in almost every set of circumstances the point becomes obvious. For every extreme the group utilizes in their music there is an opposite attraction of equal measure, for every texture a simple foundation, within every tense moment an understated serenity. Zither and acoustic guitar are as prominent in some of these songs/tracks as the dense layering of sparse yet thunderous percussion and hypnotic booming bass sway. Electric guitars are used almost as fusing elements, creating inner environments through a wash of distortion and luring sensual solos. This LP is a good example of a number of styles in which post-industrial composition can be more fully realized; more often than not filling an oft-overlooked niche in a standard rock-based genre that has no further excuse for ignorance. [Pathological]

© J.Free / Your Flesh; 1991; 2022

Here are a bunch of reviews I contributed to Your Flesh:

Your Flesh #19 Your Flesh #20 Your Flesh #21 Your Flesh #22