RU-486 has been one of the most visible proponents of power electronics in the American South for many years now. This thirty minute cassette tape presents three live performances that show RU at a pivotal stage of transformation from a harsh power electronics sound with industrial leanings toward a leaner and more composed sound. The three live performances are all chaotic and amorphous, but with an organic classic industrial (as in, “Industrial Records”) warmth that gives form to the barrage of sound within. The first performance on here is from a recent show opening for Relay For Death in Houston… the quality of all of the recordings is sort of condenser-mic level, but it gives it the aforementioned “TG-like” feel (similar to their “Second Annual Report”). If I am not mistaken, all of these recordings are taken from various videos taken of these shows that have been posted to Youtube. The first performance is the longest on this tape, harrowing and creepy. One drawback is that members of the audience become louder than the actual sound of the performance at one point due to the positioning of the recorder, but it also sort of adds a “you are there” charm. If you played it really loud with your eyes closed, poured some Pabst Blue Ribbon on the ground, maybe lit up a couple of cigarettes and put them around the room for atmosphere, it would be like you are a blind person at an RU-486 performance. At the end of the track, you can hear Sean Matzus (thewhitehorse, Last Rape, Black Leather Jesus) saying “Welcome to Texas” clearly, and that really made me smile. Sounds like a fun gig.
Set number two here is from a performance in RU-486′s former hometown of Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Although perhaps wasted on the illiterate and subhuman dwellers of this horrible state, RU-486 played some blistering sets during his time there, and this is a great example of that. In fact, to tell truth, this is probably one of my favorite RU tracks that I have heard, making me wish I had been at this show. Track opens with a Satanic-sounding sample and some really cool Industrial/synthesizer sounds… it must have sounded really awesome in person! Once again, however, the muddy feel gives a warmth to the sound that makes for interesting (if opaque) listening. A dark and heavy performance with an almost cosmic/ethereal quality, like power electronics made by a German Industrial druid. The vocals come through the clearest on this track, much more so than either of the other live recordings on this cassette, and it makes for the most impactful track on this release.
Danvers State gives a nice presentation in a fold-out j-card that has fitting artwork for this release, a black and white fuzzy photo of a bunch of army guys around a big gun (or tank? photo is blurry, hard to tell). The last track on here is from RU-486′s performance at the No Silence No Sleep festival in Dallas, Texas. It happened at a big warehouse right outside of town run by a bunch of gas huffing hippies, and was put on by the great folks from the harsh noise group Ascites. I watched this set as it unfolded while standing on a haystack… I am not very tall, and it was difficult to see the melee that was ensuing as very large men were running around and slamming into both RU and each other throughout the set. Most of the event is delayed out feedback and screams, a pretty visceral event and you can certainly tell that something angry and somewhat evil is happening. There are many instances of RU’s trademark King Diamond-inspired high pitched scream. A good performance, and a recording that does a decent job of capturing the mania. This is a good tape, probably not a ton of these made, so if you are a fan of RU-486 (and don’t have both the internet and a tape dubber) you should track a copy down.
01 Live At Super Happy Fun Land, Houston, TX 01/01/12
02 Live At The Tavern, Hattiesburg, MS 04/22/11
03 Live At No Silence No Sleep, Dallas, TX 03/13/10