I’ll start by stating that If I look at an album cover and it features creepy, crude collages of smiling girls (with no eyes), I immediately like it, so this review might be a bit biased.
You’ve been warned!
Velcro Bismol is a collaboration between Chicago’s Arvo Zylo and Michigan’s Dental Work (one of the many aliases of Placenta Recordings‘ mastermind Jay Paul Watson). To realize the album that was to become Velcro Bismol, and in true old-school mail collaboration style, Dental Work sent a bunch of raw noises to Mr. Zylo, who then proceeded to adjust, distort, cut, paste, manipulate, and compost it into seven tracks. This approach obviously hasn’t been entirely successful in the past, but I still like it, mainly because it reminds me of badly printed ’90’s Japanese/American noise tapes.
As soon as the laser hits the plastic, the speakers burst out layers upon layers of crunchy static, mangled pop music samples, and a shower of pedal effects in dubious working condition. It’s a very dynamic take on harsh noise that I always enjoy, and the addition of extreme plunder phonics makes it even more fresh than usual.
The entire CD-R alternates between heavy, rich, and absurdly loud harsh noise tracks like the aforementioned opener, ‘Rehab Artist’, and more laid-back, deranged, and hypnotic loop-centered ventures into old-school industrial cut-up music. And indeed, what Arvo Zylo seems to be best at is finding the right chunks of sound to loop and exploit ad nauseam, while celebrating what seems to be a genuine passion for old Nurse with Wound and NON records.
I’m aware of a at least one lock-groove-only record (if you don’t know what lock grooves are, they’re basically super short tracks cut into vinyl so the needle keeps on playing them in a loop until you manually move it away; also, try using Google, you troglodyte) that Zylo is involved in: the monolithic Trunculence compilation, featuring an impressive fifty lock grooves on a 7″ inch record. So yes, it’s safe to say he’s an expert in the field. Disquieting and decayed dark ambient drones, bass-heavy dub echoes, and lightning-fast explosions of Japanese-style spastic noise made Velcro Bismol a fun experience for my jaded ears, even after a few repeated listens.
Maybe a couple of the loop-based tracks drag on for some minutes too long, and sometimes it feels like the noisiest sound sources used weren’t the best to start with, but the interesting and dynamic composition more than make up for both ‘problems’. In fact, I’d like to listen to more harsh noise plunder phonics like this! Velcro Bismol will satisfy any fan of harsh noise and it will be utter torture for everybody else, just like it should be. Nicely done, gentlemen!
01) Rehab Artist
02) The Hall of (Coke) Mirrors
03) Dental Unemployment
04) Casual Water Buckle
05) Velcro Bismol
07) The Confectioner