While tapes are a very important part of underground culture even in the modern scheme of things, these runs of one hundred copies are often sold out before the potential listener even learns about the project in question’s existence. This is unfortunately no exception to that rule as “We Call it Prayer” is now long gone from the stock over at Cae-sur-a. The good news is that this duo of musicians continued their rather prolific 2011 and that some of those releases should still be available. The bad news is that 2012 has seen a steep decline in release speed, so far offering up only one cassette from Acid Casualty Productions entitled “Punctually, he Arrived”.
York Factory Complaint found a humble beginning in 2009 with a simple CD-R release entitled “Trouille’s Mannequins” on the increasingly important Period Tapes, a label whom have offered up a selection of fine eccentric music from the likes of Breyer P-Orridge, Tor Lundvall, and Dream into Dust side project A Murder of Angels. Needless to say, they came into existence in very good company, and it’s no surprise given the presence of Ryan Martin as one half of the duo performing on this cassette as he’s a co-owner of one of the more important (and popular) boutique labels releasing music on this side of the Atlantic in Dais Records. Of course, the other half of the duo is just as important to the sound found here in one Michael Berdan whom is also currently one half of Veins (with Mark McCoy of Charles Bronson/Youth Attack Records) and had for some time contributed his vocal efforts to both the hardcore project Drunkdriver and Whip and the Body with Jeremy Villalobos (also of Drunkdriver and the long-forgotten noisy hardcore trio Wives). While those two are the only artists present on this tape, they’ve been known to use the talents of Theresa Smith (on “Sentiment”, “Will & Testament”, “Sufferings” and “York Factory Complaint”) and Michael Yeniro (on “Sentiment” and “Sufferings”). This doesn’t even begin to address the line-up found on “Live Document ’09 – ’10″ which contained live assistance from the aforementioned and infamous Genesis Breyer P-Orridge as well as the Cae-sur-a label owner himself, Cory E. Card.
Thus, on paper, this project already impresses before the tape even clicks to begin its two rounds of loud, visceral expression, and the tape certainly doesn’t disappoint in that respect. “Homeward Bound (at Last)” opens as a harsh noise wall of sound that completely obscures most character behind the track with the exception of extremely subtle looping electronic oscillations and static abrasiveness. Eventually the track calms to a more approachable distorted ruckus, still chaotic in form but pulled back from noise into a dreary, nearly ethereal doomy drone. It’s akin to being sucked into a vacuum in space directly following a violent explosion, but given the subject matter of the tape the meaning likely coincides with a personal journey inward for the artists, or as the track title implies, some sort of achieved deliverance. This audibly sensible moment is short-lived, however, as unintelligible distorted vocals eventually scream out, heralding the coming wall of noise once more, somehow less harsh this time with flanging sound and a less subtle vocal performance lurking in the veil of evolving static. This harshness slowly dies out in favor of a three-tone guitar drone procession that cuts into a short, hollow drone before fading out completely. While the rest of the track was excellent, something just seems out of place with this ending. It may have been the extremely lo-fi production, but it came off as distracting and ingenuine while the rest were deadly serious and emotional.
Track two starts out much like the first in a blast of noise, but this time containing a ton of low-end and a very definitive though, again, inaudible power electronics-style vocal presence. These vocal efforts appear disoriented and wayward, wandering in a perpetual darkness, but in this absence of confident delivery lies the tie to the track title in “Uncertainty Principle” — the idea that, when boiled down to everyday life outside of its specific application in quantum mechanics, the more you know about an aspect of something, the less you know about another part of it. Plugged into the given theme for the record, this represents the frustration of clawing towards spiritual understanding only to be made more uncertain; where answers exist, only questions are born. This track is void of the segments that made up track one, instead opting for a more traditional approach to power electronics with the noted flux of noise and vocals, with the exception being a descent into a heavy, full-range all out attack of sound that grows uncompromised and absolutely buries the vocalist, who in turns screams brutal fucking gore to come back into existence for a few brief moments before once again succumbing to the turbulent, if not outright destructive bedlam. Eventually winding down, “Uncertainty Principle” focuses on an ending that is strictly noise with a droning edge that, inevitably, fades to static, then nothing.
It’s no wonder that this project has gotten the attention that they have thus far, affording them the chance to release a good deal of their output through great tape labels like Period Tapes, House of Alchemy, Robert & Leopold, and now Cae-sur-a. Despite the one questionable moment towards the end of Side A, this tape is exceptional, especially in the vocal performance on “Uncertainty Principle”. Again, this one is gone unfortunately, but check out the other labels mentioned for further York Factory Complain releases and Cae-sur-a for more unique fragments from the post-industrial underground community.
Side A: Homeward Bound (at Last)
Side B: Uncertainty Principle