Terminals


(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions )

Uncoffined , 6/10
Touch , 7.5/10
Little Things , 6.5/10
Flies Inside The Sun: An Audience Of Others , 6.5/10
Rain: Sediment , 6.5/10
Rain: Sycamore , 5.5/10
Flies Inside The Sun: Flies Inside The Sun , 7/10
Flies Inside The Sun: Cactus Sky , 6/10
Flies Inside The Sun: Le Mal D'Archive , 6.5/10
Pieters, Stapleton & Russell: Last Glass, 6/10
Pieters, Stapleton & Russell: Sex/ Machine
Sleep: Enfolded in Luxury , 6/10
Sleep: Ghostwriting , 6/10
Flies Inside The Sun: Burning Glass (2004), 6/10
Brian Crook: Bathysphere , 6.5/10
Brian Crook: Bible Black (2002), 4/10
Renderers:Trail Of Tears , 5/10
Renderers:Bigger Than Texas , 4/10
Renderers: The Surface Of Jupiter , 5/10
Renderers: A Dream Of The Sea , 5/10
Renderers: Ghosts of our Vegas Life (2006), 5/10
Anti-clockwise: Artificial Light (2006), 5.5/10
Links:

New Zealand-based Terminals, featuring Stephen Cogle on vocals, Ross Humphries on guitar (ex Clean), Peter Staplenton on drums, John Chrisstoffels on bass and Mick Eldorado on Farfisa, founded from the ashes of the Victor Dimisich Band and the Scorched Earth Policy, opened the doors of New Zealand to the kind of garage-rock that had been afflicting Australia for decades. Stapleton, in particular, had already recorded two fantastic EPs with Scorched Earth Policy (that also featured guitarist Brian Crook), Dust To Dust (1984) and Going Through A Hole In Back Of Your Head (1985), later collected on Keep Away From the Wires (Medication, 2000), had helped out Bruce Russell in his avantgarde project A Handful Of Dust and would soon form Dadamah with Roy Montgomery.

The EP Disconnect (Flying Nun, 1987) and the album Uncoffined (Flying Nun, 1990), including Cul de Sac, later collected on Cul-de-Sac (Flying Nun, 1992), were barely echoes of the violence of their live performances. Singles such as Witchdoctors (Feel Good All Over), Do The Void (Xpressway), Deadly Tango (Xpressway), Medusa (Roof Bolt) were more representative. They continued a progression that led them towards ever more creative and outrageous arrangements.

In the meantime Brian Crook had formed Max Block, that only released the mini-album Max Block (1986), and the Renderers. who had penned the albums Trail Of Tears (Flying Nun, 1990), a collection of sad country ballads (including I Heard The Devil Calling Me), and the transitional and amateurish Bigger Than Texas (Flying Nun, 1991),

I neozelandesi Terminals, forti di Stephen Cogle al canto, Ross Humphries alla chitarra (ex Clean), Peter Staplenton alla batteria John Chrisstoffels al basso e Mick Eldorado all'organo Farfisa, sorti sulle ceneri dei Victor Dimisich Band e dei Scorched Earth Policy, aprirono le porte della Nuova Zelanda al garage-rock che da decenni dilagava in Australia. Stapleton, in particolare, aveva registrato due EP da capogiro con gli Scorched Earth Policy, Dust To Dust (1984) e Going Through A Hole In Back Of Your Head (1985) poi raccolti su Keep Away From the Wires (Medication, 2000), aveva aiutato Bruce Russell con il suo progetto d'avanguardia A Handful Of Dust e avrebbe formato i Dadamah con Roy Montgomery.

L'EP Disconnect (Flying Nun, 1987) e l'album Uncoffined (Flying Nun, 1990), con Cul de Sac, poi raccolti su Cul-de-Sac (Flying Nun, 1992), lasciavano soltanto in parte intuire la violenza delle loro esibizioni dal vivo.
Tracks: A1 No 1:56 A2 Love, Hate, Revenge 2:33 A3 Uncoffined 3:54 A4 Before It Rains 2:17 A5 Cockroaches 2:39 A6 All Their Lies 4:28 B1 Frozen Car 3:38 B2 Gasoline 2:10 B3 Hungary Joe 2:35 B4 Castaway 3:42 B5 Mothlight 3:04 B6 Lolita 2:12

Meglio fecero singoli come Witchdoctors (Feel Good All Over), Do The Void (Xpressway), Deadly Tango (Xpressway), Medusa (Roof Bolt). La loro era di fatto una progressione verso arrangiamenti sempre piu` creativi e oltraggiosi.

La chitarra di Brian Crook, che era stato i leader dei Max Block e dei Renderers, pubblicando gli album Trail Of Tears (Flying Nun, 1990), una raccolta di meste ballate country & western (fra cui la leggendaria I Heard The Devil Calling Me), e Bigger Than Texas (Flying Nun, 1991), rese ancor piu` caotico e demenziale quel sound.

Renderers' guitarist Brian Crook made the sound of the Terminals even more aggressive and anarchic. Touch (Raffmond, 1992) is a demonic and cacophonous work, particularly in the (horrible) vocal parts (Stephen Cogle and Brian Crook) and in the (dissonant) keyboards parts (Mick Eldorado). Furthermore, the drummer (Peter Stapleton) has progressed to a living orgy of tribalism in the vein of Maureen Tucker (Velvet Underground). Basket Case soars like a vintage Jefferson Airplane anthem, a model referred to also in the exotic suspense of Mr Clean and reinforced by the martial and operatic Deadly Tango. Suicide has the dejected tone of gothic punk but a frantic pulse. Something Dark is even more menacing and desperate, with a guitar-drums workout that evokes the most evanescent "cosmic" of the Velvet Underground. The tragic peak is In And Out Of My Mind, a psychodrama set to wavering organ drones, loud guitar staccatos and rollicking rhythm. Wyoming borders on manic Cramps-ian voodoobilly. Amnesia unleashes an emphatic and apocalyptic organ-driven dirge a` la Doors. Things get even more morbid with the tense, nightmarish Middle-Eastern dance of That Thing Upstairs Is Not My Mother, somewhere in between the Rolling Stones' Paint It Black and Pere Ubu's Modern Dance. The lenghty threnody Twilight Environment summarizes their aesthetic in a hypnotic parade of distortion, lazy strumming, and chaotic drumming.

Little Things (Raffmond, 1994 - Last Visible Dog, 2009), instead, marks a return to their original garage-rock style with Black Creek, Quicksand, Coasts of The Shrunken, Ministry Of Lies, Medication, Mekong Delta Blues.
Tracks: 1. Coasts Of The Shrunken 3:20 2. Mekong Delta Blues 4:40 3. Medication 4:43 4. Hide Yourself Away 4:34 5. Black Creek 5:46 6. Quicksand 6:17 7. Little Things 2:40 8. Ministry Of Lies 4:48 9. Messianic 6:49

Touch (Raffmond, 1992) e` un album indemoniato e cacofonico, soprattutto nelle (orride) parti vocali e nelle (dissonanti) parti di tastiere. Il batterista, inoltre, e` diventato un'orgia vivente di tribalismo demoniaco alla Maureen Tucker (Velvet Underground).

Little Things (Raffmond, 1994) ritorna invece al garage-rock degli esordi con Black Creek, Quicksand, Coasts of The Shrunken, Ministry Of Lies, Medication, Mekong Delta Blues.

Kim Pieters, bassist and singer (and abstract painter), and drummer Peter Stapleton recruited the Terminals' guitarist Brian Crook and second guitarist Danny Butt, and in 1993 Flies Inside The Sun was born from the ashes of Dadamah. Their improvisational spaced-out music relied on feedback, guitar noise and synth cacophony. A few of their songs (Absent And Erotic Lives, Sleepwalk, Icarus) were unreleased Dadamah songs. Compared with Dadamah, the album An Audience Of Others (Kranky, 1995), a work of imposing psychedelia, merged Pere Ubu and Dead C with a more uncompromising attitude. The delirious Mothers Kiss sounded like an extremely loose Jim Morrison-ian nightmare. The Man With No Arms picked the most free-form and cosmic elements of early Pink Floyd. The longer Absent and Erotic Lives is an avantgarde concerto of abstract instrumental noise. Icarus The 15-minute Sleepwalk is the epic centerpiece. Tribal drums duel with cosmic distortions for about three minutes. Then the music collapses into a black hole and only towards the end returns to the same kind of hell.

Peter Stapleton (drums, synth, radio), Kim Pieters (bass, organ, drums, vocals) and Danny Butt (guitar, amplifier, synth) reunited in late 1994 as Rain and recorded Sediment (Metonymic, 1996), an even more abstract and anarchic work that focuses on synthesizers instead of guitars, from the mayhem of Dragonfly to the harrowing drones of Lost Angel Memory, from the spare percussive landscape of Radii to the dense metaphysics of Secrets Of A Rented Island, from the disjointed improvisation of Violet Stains Red to the calm and almost Tibetan tinkling of Corridor. The 13-minute The Blindfold Test opens with slow-burning guitar noises, then turns into a ghostly parade of dissonances, then delves into free-jazz jamming, then into a hellish fresco of drilling sounds. Rain's second album, Sycamore (1998), was less radical (Pieters plays only on two pieces).

While not as extreme as the Rain album, subsequent works by Flies Inside The Sun (FITS) have continued to juxtapose loose vocals and free-form improvisation. Flies Inside The Sun (Metonymic, 1996), recorded by the quartet of Pieters, Butt, Stapleton and Crook, is the classic. In Casanovas the tribal percussive pattern and a rumbling distortion increase in loudness while Pieters' wailing recedes. The guitar's spastic strumming duels with synth noises and wandering bass lines in Living in the Real World. Quiet drumming underlines the subtle guitar-bass exchanges of She Passes By. But these are mere appetizers compared with the centerpiece, the 21-minute Detour, abstract sound-painting at its best: long instrumental drones, ethereal dissonances, spare percussion. Masterful drumming and sound effects create a flow that seems to combine Pink Floyd's A Saucerful Of Secrets and a coitus interruptus. A monster distortion leads a gargantuan group improvisation which in turn leads to a massive geometric riffing pattern.

Pieters, in the meantime, was active in the all-female improvisational trio Doramaar that released Copula (1995) and Terra Incognita (1996).

Cactus Sky (Metonymic, 2000) salvaged FITS tapes (recordings from 1996-99) that were lost in a fire and features a trio of Brian Crook (guitar, organ, synth), Peter Stapleton (drums, shortwave radio) and Danny Butt (guitar, synth, computer). The work as a whole is not cohesive, but the nine-minute excursion into electronic music and musique concrete of The Black Ship, the ghostly ambient music of In The Shadow Of Mysterious Succulents (a naive childish hymn against a fibrillating background of undecipheral sounds), the electronic nebula exploding into supernova of Green Hear Ted Orange, the pure sound exploration of The Birth Of Sand And Gravel and Plateau (the beginning and the closing pieces), and even the more conventional Velvet Underground-ian orgasm of A Spy In Your Love rank among their most successful pieces. The standout is the ten-minute crescendo of Farenheit, an electro-acoustic work that rocks out while imploding into scary abrasive drones.

The same trio is featured on Le Mal D'Archive (Metonymic, 2001), that collects four lengthy (and mainly electronic) suites from 1999 which abide by the dogmas of the previous FITS albums: dissonant, disjointed music halfway between free-jazz improvisation a` la Art Ensemble of Chicago, psychedelic freak-outs a` la Red Krayola, and atonal chamber music.

Stapleton also formed a free-noise "supergroup" featuring himself on percussion, Kim Pieters on bass/keyboards and Bruce Russell on guitar (Dead C). The three released Last Glass (Corpus Hermeticum, 1994), comprising six instrumental improvisations (Viper's Window runs the gamut from extremely cacophonous free-jazz to extremely dilated acid-rock, and all punctuated by propulsive percussions, Auto Violet Reco fuses all of them in one long riff-oriented sonic massacre, while the dissonant chamber music of Last Glass, the wild guitar meditations of Valerian and the tribal frenzy of Stoney Verities attempt to coin a new kind of ambient music); Sex/Machine (Metonymic, 1999), recorded between 1996 and 1998. and the single Cold Sweat (Ecstatic Yod, 2002).

Stapleton and Pieters also launched the project Sleep with Enfolded in Luxury (Metonymic, 1999) and Ghostwriting (Metonymic, 2001), more conventional works in a progressive/pyschedelic-rock vein.

Brian Crook recorded his first solo album, Bathysphere (Metonymic, 1999), surprisingly mellow and ecstatic a` la Tim Buckley, and helped his wife Mayrose Crook record the third and fourth Renderers albums, The Surface Of Jupiter (Ajax, 1997), that includes Carnival of Souls, and A Dream Of The Sea (Siltbreeze, 1999), both anchored to a gloomy form of roots-rock. It would take several years before Mayrose and Brian Crook recorded another Renderers' album, Ghosts of our Vegas Life (2006).

Flies Inside The Sun returned with Burning Glass (Metonymic, 2004), which collects pieces recorded between 2000 and 2003. The music is still highly experimental, bordering on electro-acoustic research and dilated cosmic free-jazz (Dust And Equation). Burning Glass is one gigantic wave of wavering noise. Nightwatch of the Mirror is one long buzzing sound, modulated to become a high-speed Helios Creed-style guitar freak-out. Sunblinded Eye is a chamber concerto for bells, bass drones and casual instrumental sounds. The album boasts the best production value of Pieters' and Stapleton's career.

Btwxt / Bdvld (Celebrate Psi Pheomenon, 2004) is Pieters' collaboration with Birchville Cat Motel's Kneale and Sandoz Lab Technicians' Kirk.

Brian Crook followed his first solo Bathysphere with Bible Black (2002), a much more traditional work, and then with the totally different Artificial Light (2006), credited to Anti-clockwise, an electronic and psychedelic pastiche.

Submarine (Last Visible Dog, 2008), credited to the Renderizors, collects unreleased Renderers material of 2000-01, a collaboration Sandoz Lab Technicians.

Stapleton's project Eye released Black Ice (2005) and Meridian (2006).

The Renderers finally returned with Monsters And Miasmas (Last Visible Dog, 2009), that includes the nine-minute Harvesting The Sea, influenced by post-rock as much as by their usual idols, and the more straightforward A Rocket Into Nothing (Ba Da Bing, 2011).

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