VS 10 (2012)
20 minute double sided cassette
Track Listing Cassette
Side A – Let The Body Attend (for Angus Maclise)
Side B – The Diamond Life
(for Henry Flynt)
“Approach the room directly with seed phrases and unfold. Each of these pieces stems from an extemporisation around a clump of words, deployed and imbued with all loving respect for previous saints of freedom. Each uncovers its own logic and is foolish, moment to moment to moment. Some combing at home made them neater, and Evie is the genie in the lamp. Love.”
The tape by Bolide member and Wire contributor Daniel Spicer has two side-long pieces dedicated to Angus Maclise and Henry Flint. And while there are indeed some similarities to the vibe emitted by this doughty pair (both of whom were associated with the Velvet Underground’s rockism for brief periods), what I’m most reminded of is the more stripped-down sound of the later Good Missionairies . Mark Perry’s (more or less) post-ATV outfit used some of the same hippy/ritual/rant approaches with similarly fine results. Byron Coley in The Wire
What we have here is a rare opportunity for the reviewer to be the reviewed. Daniel Spicer is a broadcaster, musician, and writer for Wire magazine, if not the best music mag (I think it probably is the best), then certainly the most consistently well-written. Spicer’s entry in the “Voice Studies” series (put out by My Dance the Skull – see my previous reviews of Jaap Blonk’s and Janek Schafer’s contributions) is music for the adventurous listener, not just an adventurous listener. “Let the Body Attend (for Angus MacLise)” is the title of Side A and as you might expect from the dedication, it is a percussion rattling ode to original Velvet Underground member and musician/poet/crazy person Angus MacLise. Spicer yelps the title phrase along with other Gertrude Stein-esque circular verbiage while Evie Spicer (Daniel plays too) beats the hell out of some percussion instruments. This piece is about ten minutes long and quite entrancing. It’s definitely an appropriate ode to one extremely idiosyncratic musician. Side B is called “The Diamond Life (for Henry Flynt)” and, like the A side, it is a specific tribute to a music maker who is as out there as they come, Henry Flynt. This piece consists solely of the title phrase, freakout Ornette violin crushing by Spicer and a gaggle of friends making assorted sounds in and around the furious bow & string action. This is wild energy music and something to be excited about. The piece on the A side was good, but “The Diamond Life” is great. CRAZY LISTENING. I would hunt this tape down just to listen to the B side. Daniel Spicer’s knowledge of left field music obviously contributes to the success of this cassette. Musicians like MacLise and Flynt are not widely known names, but anyone familiar with the avant-garde would know them. Bravo! Jeff Daily in Cassette Gods
The tenth instalment in My Dance The Skull’s fertile ‘Voice Studies’ series sees Daniel Spicer – perhaps best known for his written work in Wire magazine – turn his hand to rapid-fire percussion and seemingly improvised couplets based around the idea of an autonomous mind.
‘Let the body attend to the things of the body/The mind will take care of itself’ is the quavered refrain that opens ‘Let The Body Attend (for Angus MacLise)’ before a clatter of drums and bells raises the tempo and the couplets become more jumbled: ‘Let the body attend to the things of the body/The mind is a page/Let the body attend to the things of the body/The rivers are flowing upstream!’ and so on… becoming more and more random as the track progresses. As with all ‘Voice Studies’ tapes, this is resolutely artistic. Its (hopefully) tongue-in-cheek stab at New Age gibberish parading as self-help mantra is amusing but not necessarily the kind of thing you’ll be playing on a daily basis. Female whispers undercut proceedings, repeating Spicer’s proclamations before the track ends with a gong.
Side B, ‘The Diamond Life (for Henry Flynt)’, is no less obtuse. Here Spicer speaks in tongues over a frantically scraped violin as a variety of acolytes (including Dylan Nyoukis) are brought in to help out, shouting in the background and holding conversations amongst themselves in a foreign language. I prefer this track, if only for its descent into flat-out madness towards the end. Steve Dewhurst in Foxy Digitalis