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The Flying Luttenbachers

Terror Iridescence (LP)

Label: God Records

Format: LP

Genre: Experimental

Preorder: Shipping from August 5th 2022

€28.90
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Terror Iridescence” is the 4th full length release by the latter-day, New York City based reincarnation of the seminal Punk Jazz/No Wave/Brutal Prog unit The Flying Luttenbachers, and the 17th album since 1992. After all of this, longtime fans tend to expect notable creative twists to be pulled by the band with each release, and this one will not disappoint. This time around, our heroes have issued forth a boldly abstract haunted-house salvo of dizzying surrealism, loaded with exceptionally bizarre sonic tangents. After 2021’s blistering and compositionally dense “Negative Infinity”, FLs leader Weasel Walter decided to take another tack altogether: Instead of making another rehearsal intensive album of tightly scripted action, “Terror Iridescence” was improvised completely on the spot at Colin Marston’s Menegroth studio in Queens, New York on one day in October 2021. The individual instruments were mic’d up and then, with very little discussion, the ominous 20 –minute long “Meredyth Herold” (named after the obscure actress whose utterly jawdropping and singular performance in the 1990 perverto-noir flick “Singapore Sling” mirrors the morbid chaos of the piece) began to unfold.

The main concept was to perform in reference to a click track heard only in the headphones, while Mr. Walter molded the structure in real time, cuing each player in or out and giving pointed suggestions. Once it came down to the mixing phase, it was apparent that this click track was actually an integral part of the composition and had to be included in the final mix, whereas the original idea was to mute it completely. As such, this water torture presence is a major element of continuity -an infinitely rising and falling pulse which sometimes dominates, sometimes recedes, but always reminds us of the inevitable. Beginning with a fuzz-laden bass guitar drone by Tim Dahl, the orchestration strategically morphs and deliberately ebbs and flows in a series of dramatic peaks as various elements are cued in and out. It should be noted that the drum kit and saxophone (played by Sam Ospovat and Matt Nelson, respectively) were both processed live with electronic effects in real-time by the players. What you hear on the record is often a blend of their acoustic sounds and electronic manglings, resulting in a wider, more layered density and tonal palette. It definitely sounds like there’s more than five people playing on this thing, as a result. We assure there isn’t. The guitars on the album were performed by both Weasel Walter and Katie Battistoni, reprising the caustic double-headed skronk assault heard previously on “Negative Infinity”. Is this the Luttenbachers’ DOOM album? Maybe.

“Terror Iridescence” is shocking, spacious, linear, dark, sensual and unhurried, all the while maintaining the band’s signature intensity and devotion to stark modernism. Come to think of it, this thing just might evoke the overt deconstruction of 1997’s “Gods of Chaos” (released on Skin Graft) to some fans – this sure ain’t no “rock” record--It’s a cryptic transmission from another dimension. Track two of two, another 20 minute whopper named in tribute to the recently and tragically departed iconoclast, peer, supporter, and close friend of the band, “Tom Smith” begins in a ritualistic, percolating, insectoid sonic jungle landscape punctuated by varied sonic events and aural wraiths. At one point, an onslaught of shattering glass disturbs any possible hypnosis achieved during the introduction. The entire piece is more episodic overall than the preceding track and contains many sections that contrast distinctively with each other. ‘Round about 6 minutes in, a rowdy tutti fanfare of held asymmetrical tone row blasts (alluded to at the very end of “Meredyth Herold”, but blown fully wide open on “Tom Smith”) kicks everything up into a noxious assault cloud, bolstered by volcanic free drumming by Weasel Walter. After several repetitions of this dramatic series of ordered pitches (the closest this record ever gets to a traditional chord progression), a long series of jump cut sequences takes place, allowing the musicians to show off their distinctive and diverse skill sets in various groupings. There are fright-inducing guitar and saxophone solos, pounding drums, macabre electronics, and more. A very deliberate and extreme tension is maintained, but not in a clichéd “free jazz” idiom. The angular, disruptive forms created spontaneously here are brand new, yet obviously belched forth from the good ship Flying Luttenbacher.

By the end, the “Terror Iridescence” tone row reappears in different forms and orders, reiterating the material for the sake of subliminal coherence. Often in The Flying Luttenbachers music, the listener may not see the exact logic in what happens, but trust us – it’s there. One might feel it more than comprehend it, and that’s okay. It is guaranteed that the next phase of the band will be something altogether different, but for now, let this bloodcurdling puzzle piece raise the hairs on your neck and make you want to pull the covers over your head. This here record is a good, old-fashioned horror movie in sound. They’re coming to get you, Baaaa-barahhhhhh!!!! 

Details
Cat. number: GOD 69
Year: 2022
Notes:
Recorded on October 16, 2021 at Menegroth, Queens, NY Titles published by Sedition Dog Music (BMI)

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