Graham Repulski: Re-Arranged At Hotel Strange/Contaminated Man/Boy Lung 3 tape box (Shorter Recordings, 2016)August 20, 2016 at 8:21 pm | Posted in Reviews | 1 Comment
The Philadelphia-based electric worrier is back with a triple cassette box of blown-out fragmentary noise-freak-pop. As with everything he does, there’s an unmistakable Guided By Voices influence, but it goes beyond mere worship. Many of the tracks push the treble and static far into the red, often burying the vocals behind walls of impenetrable fuzz. Most of the tracks are incredibly short, sometimes barely even resembling an entire verse or chorus, and even if some of them just sound like brief half-thoughts caught on tape, they’re not all cut from the same cloth. There’s different levels of coherence, different combinations of tunefulness and noise, different states of development. Taken as a whole, though, it all flows into a strange, delicious mess. Deformed power-pop anthems sit beside backwards drum experiments and it all sounds bizarre and incredible. These 3 albums are basically all EP length and could probably fit on one tape just fine, but the fact that he separates them out into three distinct works shows that there’s more of a purpose to what he’s doing than just hemorrhaging out as many songs as possible. It’s hard to really determine a specific theme between each tape but they seem to have some sort of common thread. Contaminated Man is easily one of the most out-there recordings Repulski’s ever released, filled with lots of short sound experiments (one track just seems to be a faucet dripping) along with the other-dimension pop hits. “Instrumental Scott Lucas” starts out fairly strummy before ending up a torrential storm of multi-tracked, sometimes reversed gliding riffs. “The Next Great Cake” ends the tape, starting out calmly before erupting into a dramatic, drunken sing-along. Re-Arranged At Hotel Strange is a brief burst of shorted-out energy, with only one song (the ultra-catchy cardboard box thud “Dick Kicker”) exceeding 2 minutes. Boy Lung has the highest track count (16) but almost all of them are around a minute or less. It has some more sentimental moments as well as some moments of true bugged-out weirdness, such as the tape collage “Radio Surgery Hour”. “Wolfington’s War Memorabilia, Pt. I” has some sort of heart-on-sleeve ’80s radio rock melody smothered in cruddy, bashed-out drumming. This is an immense collection of strange music/sounds, and easily one of Graham’s best to date.