TO LIVE AND SHAVE IN L.A. as group monikers go, this one is a fucking classic (VITAMIN B12 and THIS HEAT also come to mind as a favourites, along with dozens of new zealand groups of the eighties and nineties - WRECK SMALL SPEAKERS ON EXPENSIVE STEREOS, SANDOZ LAB TECHNICIANS...etc. etc.) and has been stored in my mental rolodex under 'something i MUST investigate further at a later date' for many years now. i have skimmed the surface with downloads aquired from my friend and taste-maker dale, but never really given the sounds enough time to penetrate my less than patient neurons - although i have spent time researching other bands and have noticed TOM SMITH's name (TLASILA founder and constant) appearing in print many times, leading me to the conclusion that i again, MUST hunt down some of this group's releases (burnt cdr's just don't cut it do they?) to satisfy my curiousity. fast forward to this morning - having a record store DEFINITELY has it's positives, as i can and do, take home cd's to listen to whenever i feel the urge...every fuckin' day! 'horoscopo: sanatorio de moliere' is the cd of discussion here, and this morning, something 'clicked' in my brain, and i found myself in awe of the sounds presented to me - i was now finally ready to inhale TLASILA and i was excited. as i sit here listening to this cd again, i find myself puzzled, because i'm not getting the same feeling that i did at 7am - leading me to the belief that i SHOULD have started writing about it THEN...seize the moment of inspiration, but fuck it, i will persevere. sampling is obviously an important tool of mr. smith and company - on this release joined by RAT BASTARD (LAUNDRY ROOM SQUELCHERS), ANDREW WILKES-KRIER (ANDREW W.K. and many, many other conceptual actions, such as BEAST PEOPLE), DON FLEMING, MARK MORGAN (SIGHTINGS), and other humans that i'm not that familiar with, apart from THURSTON MOORE, bringin' that DAD VIBE (another great tasmanian band with a ripper name, led by DAISY BUCHANAN) no doubt - and unlike plunderphonic excursions or the high-brow avant garde, their use of stolen source materials is not garish, or hidden for that matter, it is simply a jumping-off point for these pieces, sometimes looped for emphasis, but always infused with a certain mystery AND immediacy...soul, if you will. one could describe TLASILA as 'noise', but that would be a cop-out - this music is fully formed, difficult, minimalist/maximalist, and beautiful also. voices sometimes call out of the synthetic chaos, and sometimes swamp it too, but the emphasis is on micro-second loops of feedback-derived repetition...allowing the other elements such as digital blocks of unidentified sound to form the foreground or background, and lead the listener to take notice of the details - the space BETWEEN notes and sounds, the narrative that inevitably shows itself within each track, the more one is exposed to it. i've listened to 'horoscopo: sanatorio de moliere' twice now as i have been writing/typing this text, and it is making itself more clear and known to me with every second that passes - i don't wish myself to be sitting on my floor at 7am anymore, as the moaning voices, piano snippets, drum fills and decayed blocks make much more sense and are now a part of my brain, adding information instead of subtracting it...this being the trip that TO LIVE AND SHAVE IN L.A. has forced me to take part in - to disorientate and then calm, and for this i am thankful.
LOTUS. sometime in the late nineties, i downloaded a recording of a radio show based out of providence, rhode island that featured a live set by a local two-piece named JAPANESE KARAOKE AFTERLIFE EXPERIMENT - kind of like LIGHTNING BOLT with synthesisers and a sampler, instead of bass guitar with an octave pedal. whilst said live performance was pretty cool, the real gem of this radio broadcast was the members of JKAE playing tracks by their favourite groups, many of which were part of the scene they inhabited - a sort of micro-extension of the whole FORT THUNDER group of artists and musicians (or at least that is what it appeared to be, to my unknowing eyes and ears at the time), lots of LOAD records-related bands were aired, but my focus was on this ONE group, known only as the LOTUS. i laughed out loud when first greeted with their sounds - rave samples replayed at normal speed then slowed down, juxtaposed with breaks and inane vocals, completely fucking annoying...but for some reason i continued to listen to it, repeatedly rewinding the cassette that dale had dubbed for me direct from the computer (backwards, i know - but it made sense at the time, we couldn't be fucked buying cdr's) and being reminded of the trance stations i used to listen to in '92, when i first moved to baulkham hills from victoria. this music turned me on to labels such as BREATHMINT, who released shitloads of cassettes, vinyl, cd's and cdr's by artists with names such as U CAN UNLEARN GUITAR, WHAT'S YR DAMAGE?, COCK E.S.P. and literally, HUNDREDS of other bands/solo acts that had fuckin' rad names and made music that appealed to very few. of course, the label and the artists didn't care - they were too busy creating their own culture and performing in people's kitchens and basements. when we started our shop, we traded a ridiculous amount of music with lucas abela for a favour, and we're still discovering cd's of interest to us, to this day - music we didn't even know that we had. a lot of this stuff was aquired by him whilst touring the world as JUSTICE YELDHAM, meeting fuck-knows-who and doing fuck-knows-what, inbetween destroying himself with pieces of glass he found somewhere near the venue he was performing at that day or night - and for all these reasons and more, we all owe him and swerve a great deal of thanks and good-will...cheers fells! amongst the countless cd's and cdr's passed on to us, was 'version 2.0' by LOTUS - many years after my initial introduction to their music via download, we were reunited, and i was stoked. i fucking hate breakcore for the most part (PASSENGER OF SHIT and DRILLBIT aside) and was worried that said cd would be a one-dimensional piece of shit. WRONG. mixing power electronics, eastern drum loops, breaks, the WORST (read: best) elements of dance music and vocals that, upon reflection, seem to be taking the piss out of THE LOCUST - the LOTUS are an epiphany for me. their pastiche of all the WRONG sounds, makes all the RIGHT moves and i'm crankin' this shit right now - for the fifth time today. this band of two humans in faux-WHITEHOUSE attire are long since defunct, but a visit to the BREATHMINT website informs of several other releases for me to track down and no less than twenty-six (!) gigs to download. maybe this internet thing IS worth all these fuckin' hassles?