v/a: Modus Vivendi: A Benefit Compilation for Chris Phinney (NO PART OF IT, 2021)

February 22, 2021 at 10:33 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

v/a: Modus Vivendi: A Benefit Compilation for Chris Phinney

The second benefit album NO PART OF IT has released in the past few months, the proceeds of Modus Vivendi go to longtime experimental musician and home taper Chris Phinney (Harsh Reality Music, Mental Anguish), who was left wheelchair-bound after an auto accident in late 2019 (see the Bandcamp link for more details). The collection features material recorded over the course of several decades by artists Phinney has worked before, as well as newer noise/experimental artists continuing in the spirit of the ’80s tape underground. Content Nullity (now known as Mollusk King) begins the set with a bracing, powerful piece called “Grief”, which has a familiar cinematic loop doused in distortion and surrounded by swarming tones that seem like brief snatches of voices calling out, then layered thousands of times. Far from being just a noise comp, the album features haunted drift-rock from Theatre of Ice and the more detached, atmospheric Plastic Crimewave as well as a 2002 demo by Gitane Demone, formerly of Christian Death. Ethereal wave pioneers Attrition also make an appearance, in addition to other dark and heavenly sounds by Temple Ov Saturn. Chicago industrial/gospel/performance art legends ONO provide the clanky, hair-raising highlight “Miss Rita/Popeye’s Sister”, and even more frightening are mid-album scare-the-crap-outs by Dieter Müh and risaripa. Tape scene veteran PBK contributes a furnace-blasting track of his own as well as a piece from the Minóy archives. Aaron Dilloway’s typically amazing piece possibly spins chicken clucks into head-warping tape loops. An edit of a collaboration between Phinney and label founder Arvo Zylo is one of the more aggressive noise pieces here, but also feels stark and chilling in a way. An excerpt of Gas Mask Horse’s Halloween 2019 performance on freeform station WZRD properly brings the heebie-jeebies with howling wolves, ominous bubbling, and bursts of rusty noise, as well as distorted cackling. Finally, it all ends with a brief bit of slide whistle whimsy by the inimitable Little Fyodor.

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