A4 Dog In Red
A5 Lovely Detritus
B1 Teeth /Chest
B2 Reverse Engineering
B4 Effectively Destructive
B5 Display and Analysis
A shivering pulsing buzz gradually builds the tension and is joined by Kevin Laird on a lowly malcontent synthesizer and repurposed scrap metal assemblage before lining up a date to sit behind something and drink in the thought-war battlefields with Michael Wood’s neuromantic vocals in Seduction, the opening track of Primary Colors’ first release Feral Scriptures on minimal synthpunk tape label Hardscrabble Amateurs, (home to sold out releases from Sister Fucker, I Am The Liquor and U.S. Girls amongst others.) Although Primary Colors hail from three hours away in Oakland and Feral Scriptures was released just over a year ago, I was in the dark about them until catching their live show this summer in Philadelphia along with LA’s mutant wave insanity group B-R-A-N-E-S, Philadelphia experimental romantics Hot Guts, and the always entrancing Void Vision in the basement of an old industrial building undergoing renovation.
The sweltering atmosphere in this subterranean space was toxic to the point of people in the dense crowd wearing dust masks to keep from breathing in the mold raining down from the exposed beamwork overhead, but I was captivated by Primary Colors’ minimal dance style madness and commanding stage presence that I held through the consuming claustrophobia of contagion to walk away from the performance with a heavy feeling of ritual cleansing. The idea even wound its way into my head that perhaps someone had scattered diamaceous earth to be kicked up while people danced in order to combat the fungal invasion of the century old theater of neglect.
I can recapture bits of that ablutionary feeling while listening to the recorded material, tracks like the verse anthem ‘Lovely Detritus’ or the slinky dark electro ‘Effectively Destructive’ carry the quality of utter familiarity, as if I have been listening to the pressing low end synthlines and disaffected vocals for years, subtly being directed in their outsider viewpoints until I have come to keep and share them as my own. I love the intimacy that seems to come customary with these limited tape releases for me.
Primary Colors channel their industrial heritage well, using crunchy analog synths and reconstructed remnants of the mechanical age to garrotte their audience from behind and lead them through the wild dance party fearlessly into the new wastelands. Teeth/Chest takes the stripped and leering minimal synth style to its death disco extremity, with nearly abstract vocals writhing through a tritone palette of incomprehensible emotions and harsh doomsday destructokit programming racketeering in the deconstructed metal shop for the business of locking in on the past as a strategy for managing the future. I have the image of a small chest or jewelry box filled with teeth. ‘These things bite, we can’t just throw them away,’ Primary Colors confide in side my head.
Despite the high caliber live performance, and great tape, one thing has bothered me since being introduced to Primary Colors that actually has little to do with the band outside of temporal conjunction that I finally have the proper space to write out the pent up anxiety in. While at the show this summer, I was forced to flee Void Vision’s sterling performance by overwhelming cognitive dissonance in order to avoid psychic and interpersonal conflict by a man who thought it acceptable to bring a puppy into an environment where the music was so loud the ceiling was shaking. Due to this mans prominent position in the neighborhood and mine as an outsider all I could do at the time was leave. After the show was over and the adorable puppy worked it’s advertising magic, my ritual cleansing magick was coldly stained.
Despite my personal issues, I have to say Primary Colors are excellent performers, see them live if you get the chance, and in addition to Feral Scriptures, look for their new tape Fading Collapse, available now from Sanity Muffin.