schimpfluch-gruppe & masonna - arschloch-onna

CD, 1997, Japan Overseas, Japan.   Available




‘Does anybody remember laughter?’ This pithy line from Led Zeppelin’s concert movie THE SONG REMAINS THE SAME seems to have extra resonance when one puts it in context of this collaboration between ol’ iron tonsils Maso Yamazaki (generally dba Masonna) and the Swiss hack n’ slash kung-fu teen idols Runzelstirn & Gurglestock. The first thing you hear on this 41 minute disc is giggling and outright laughter - when was the last time a noise disc laughed? And harsh noise this is - those of you who know these names will no doubt know that both groups have a well-deserved reputation for high-speed editing and fast changes, the difference being the Masonna’s cut-ups tend to be a non-stop blare, while the average R & G record will see the chaps tirelessly (and inventively) reworking the same pieces of sound - a dog barking, the sound of a fist punching, a hacking cough, a shout – always just a nanosecond before or after you expect it, but generally splashing around in a large pool of silence. It should then come as no surprise that when this disc takes off into noisy waters, it’s truly hellish in the best sense… fierce and relentless, hyper-precise (as long as we’re playing super editor super-gruppes, why not add Andy Bolus (aka Evil Moisture) to the line-up, eh?), a thousand changes where most would expect ⋆. ‘I was under an illusion as if was watching the opera or the musical,’ says N. Hayami (in the bilingual liner notes) of the live performances that this disc was edited from. Sonically, in a world where the average noise fan doesn’t mind listening to a 70-minute CD that may have only one or two really huge change-ups in sound, a record like this must truly sound like a trash-compacted Ring Cycle. Constant bursts of Maso studio noise and gargling are also broken up with hyperquick (like .3 second) bursts of the patented Runzelstirn sounds: the punch, the bark, the groan… if you’ve heard a R & G CD, you’ll see ‘em comin’ a mile away. What is somewhat surprising is the amount of humor that runs through all this. A very long oscillator noise that slowly winds up two or three octaves is ended with a quick punch, while fragments of Maso’s trademark yowl are interspersed with R & G mainman Rudolv’s belches and gagging noises. New initiates might be hard pressed to get any ‘jokes’ out of this Space Mountain with a bent track and no attendant recording, but they are there. Also there, and here, and all around, are untreated bits of the live aktions (The ‘Shimpfluch-Gruppe’ credit on the CD cover refers to the Vienna-style Aktionist elements of’s group, which includes Dave Phillips, former member of some group called Fear of God, who are apparently not the American Fear of God, so say he in interviews) (tmu: He’s from the hardcore FOG from either Germany or Italy, or maybe Switzerland, i forget which, not to be confused with the metal band led by now-deceased singer Dawn Crosby who recorded one of DEAD ANGEL’s all-time favorite albums, WITHIN THE VEIL) that provided much of the record’s raw material. Again, laughter is the unifying element. This time it’s the audience laughing. The performance seems to involve a lot of yelling and ‘accidentally’ breaking things, maybe knocking on a door, I don’t know. I’ve heard spaghetti is liberally used/slurped/spat, and the cover shows their distinctly Hermann Nitsch-like piles of rotten fish run through with microphone cords and equally rotting electronics. Everyone remembers Nitsch’s piles of rotting meat and shrill atonal orchestra music that went on for WEEKS at a time during his Aktions in Vienna, but less people remember that much of his work was not only about the ugliness about life, but about really having a good laugh at the expense of our bodies. In that way, Schimpfluch-Gruppe are well-balanced with those essential performance nutrients. It’s funny, it’s ugly, it frequently ‘gets on you’ if you’re in the front rows. While already a few years old, I’ve not heard much in the supposedly fast-evolving noise music scene that has even acknowledged a recording like this, let alone expand on it. Noisers like Pain Jerk and Kazumoto Endo are indeed finding new ways to make the pedals fly faster and farther, but sometimes it takes the editor’s splice, a pound of spaghetti, a few gaps in the sound (all loud all the time; good idea, they’ll never expect that) and a good knock-knock joke or two to move you past ha-ha funny and into sending ‘em out on a stretcher.

(Christopher M. Sienko,