Record Review: Stic Basin III

stic basin III cover art
Shriekback | UK | CD-R | 2022

Stic Basin: III – UK – CD-R [2022]

  1. We Don’t Cover The Planes That Land
  2. Locally Unwanted Land Use (LULU)
  3. Moonlamp
  4. Plum 23
  5. It All Turns Out To Be A Dream
  6. Gas Curtain
  7. Whitmer
  8. The Law You Won’t Be Told
  9. Purton Hulk
  10. Frogactualfrog
  11. Heavy Bead

In a shocking move of daring simultaneous maneuvers with the Shriekback mothership, Barry Andrews’ Stic Basin solo electronica project has a third album ready for ears at the exact same time as “1000 Books,” which we talked about yesterday. It was a little over a year ago when the second Stic Basin album manifested, but this new one is a very different affair.

“We Don’t Cover The Planes That Land” was all foreboding drones before the Arabic scale synths and breakbeats fostered a minor key anxiety attack. The approach here was one of kitchen-sing density that would ultimately be abandoned as the album was primarily about exploring anxious states of mind in the most minimal and subtle ways possible.

As “Locally Unwanted Land Use [LULU]” clearly demonstrated. The minimal, almost biological sound of the cut was barely defined as an almost random series of minimal loops created an interference pattern that was so loose that it sounded arrhythmic. “Moonlamp” was naught but a delicate fluttering of heartbreak courtesy of pulse gating over the nested loops.

“Plum 23″‘ was of two minds. Evoking nightbird song of random waves jousting with electric piano loops. The first strongly rhythmic song her since the first was “It All Turns Out To Be A Dream.” Its first half a gentle polyrhythm with an ululating African melody snaking through it. Then it transitioned into something more squelchy and chaotic.

The loops in “Gas Curtain” had an waveform profile that suggested that they might have been played backwards as the electric piano soloed over the top of it. Attempting to ease the mind simultaneously hearing those anxious loops at the core of the song.

“The Law You Won’t Be Told” features expansive, sustained atmospheres undermined by the noise gated loops breaking up the song’s rather strong melodic flow. Leading to a feeling of stasis and paralysis; only changing at the song’s climax as a final burst of energy struggled and finally broke free.

A third song featured a strong rhythm in “Frogactualfrog.” Insect trills propelled this one which almost attained an African kalimba sound that featured the only vocoded vocals discernible within the album. While the album as a whole was a minimal exercise, this one had the feel of a dub. Which is minimalism of a different kind. The dissonant climax spoke to the inevitability of entropy.

The “Heavy Bead” the album concluded with was perhaps one of perspiration. The long, repetitive loops spoke of finality and dread. The point where development slows and then begins backsliding into stasis. With just a tiny dollop of hope for a better day or at least a way of possibly maintaining dignity for a little while longer.

This was quite a different kettle of fish as compared to the Stick Basin II album of just over a year ago. The latter seemed to be a Prog Opus® next to “Stic Basin III!” If anything, it seemed to be a spiritual kindred to the meditation of frailty and acceptance that was “1000 Books.” One where the song structures themselves have decayed not unlike society and nature. But without the lyrical compassion the abstraction here can get downright blood chilling. This one was not the album to play in the wee small hours of the morning when alone. Mr. Andrews himself has described this one in the Shriekback download store as “withered and querulous” and he’s not pulling any punches.

The CD-R is £7.00 in the Shriekback webstore [buy/sample it here] and it comes with a DL [full WAV files] for the disc-free amongst you. Or you can get just the DL for the same price. Your choice. Or there is also a lucre-saving bundle for purchasers of “1000 Books, ” the new Shriekback opus. Both discs for just £16.00 at the button below.

post-punk monk buy button

Shriekback | UK | 3 x CD-R | 2022

Shriekback: 3 NYC Shows ’83-’85 – UK – 3 x CD-R – [2022]

Disc 1: Danceteria 1/27-28?/1983

  1. Building Up A New Home
  2. Big Sharp Teeth
  3. Considerable
  4. Hand On My Heart
  5. Health And Knowledge And Wealth And Power
  6. Feelers
  7. Mothloop
  8. A Kind Of Fascination
  9. White Out
  10. Suck
  11. My Spine [Is The Bassline]

Disc 2: Peppermint Lounge 5/15/1983

  1. Sexthinkone
  2. Sway
  3. Brink of Collapse
  4. Grapes Into Lettuce
  5. Considerable
  6. Mothloop
  7. A Kind Of Fascination
  8. Despite Dense Weed
  9. My Spine [Is The Bassline]
  10. Lined Up

Disc 3: The Ritz 9/19/1985

  1. Malaria
  2. Everything That Rises Must Converge
  3. Fish Below the Ice
  4. Health And Knowledge And Wealth And Power
  5. Faded Flowers
  6. Mothloop
  7. Nemesis
  8. My Spine [Is the Bassline]
  9. White Out
  10. Suck
  11. Lined Up

And because good things come in threes, the third new Shriekback CD to be released last week is itself a triple CD! The NYC sets were originally a pledge perk for the crowdsourcing of the last Shriekback album [now successfully behind them] and now the set is available on CD-R for anyone who wants to hear three bootleg quality [but commensurately spirited] live sets from the city that never sleeps. The three discs will set you back £12.00 but are also in a bundle with the new album “1000 Books” for the bargainous price of £20.00. At the same button below.

post-punk monk buy button

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3 Responses to Record Review: Stic Basin III

  1. slur says:

    It would have been handy if this was announced a little earlier – I got the 1000 Books CD as fundraiser and can buy those now seperate with full postage & taxes again if I wish – contrary to the not fundraising buyers who can jump at the bundles. Also the NY Set was announced as a higher reward but is now generally available which is marketing wise a little messy.
    Oh and the first live disk date is very dubious b.t.w., I find it hard to believe they played ‘white out’, ‘suck’, ‘healt & knowledge & wealth & power’ already live in January 1983.

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      slur – I bought the album as a fundraiser. I’m down with paying more during the recording phase. It is admittedly messy making what was a crowdsource fundraiser premium [NYC] available ex post facto but I wonder if they made a batch of a hundred then had it undersell during the campaign? If you have 80 sets left over then, yeah, you’d be crazy not to sell it later on. Given that they crowdsourced the album minus “golden ticket/in-person events” I’m down with anything they ended up doing.

      I wish I could have bought into the NYC set during fundraising, but that was too rich for my blood. Since I have non-boot Shriekback albums from the 80s, I might live without them, though the interest is sort of there. I did buy the “Live @ The Orange” boot-quality album since it was a very different Shriekback that outing and I was intensely curious.

      Have also seen chatter online about the provenance of disc 1/NYC. There’s a lot I can’t remember from nearly 40 years ago. Who is the “archivist” in the band? There’s usually one person who knows it all and has all the ephemera. Was it Dave Allen?

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    • JT says:

      Why not “Suck”? That one was on “Jam Science” and they did others from that album at this show. But yes, “Health And Knowledge” seems a bit early, but you never know, artists often road test embryonic songs that don’t get recorded for quite a while.

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