gang wizard - "robert 11/98 and other hits"
rock scuzz from a mysterious california duo/trio. sixty minutes of guitar, keyboard, and drum damage. free improv garage sound, akin to the dead c.
"candidates for seperation"
"intro to side b"
"Yowling and surly California improv." That's how this band was described in the catalog for Tape Mountain, which is a tapes-and-cdr's label run by one Jake Anderson. Mr. Anderson records music as Celesteville (see below...), and in fact plays in Gang Wizard on this tape. So, when he says "yowling and surly improv," he should know, and after listening to this tape several times in the week or two after Chris "Unread Records CEO" Fischer mailed it to me, I still think that phrase is an excellent way to describe it, along with a phrase of my own, which goes "hammering, confounding, harsh, droning, honking, boiling/bubbling/simmering, not-necessarily-a-good-time-but-still-rather-compulsively-engaging."
If I'm not mistaken, Mike Landucci, who runs the Blackbean & Placenta label, is the founder and/or leader and/or most constant member of Gang Wizard. Another notable member, for all I know on this release only (I have a Gang Wizard/Ashtray Navigations split 7-inch that I don't think he's on), is David "Hertz-Lion" Cotner, who plays on 3 or 4 of the tracks here. Another notable member (plays on more than one track) is Brian MacDonald, but probably only to those who, like me, are subscribed to the Drone-On email discussion group, for/on which Brian is one of the more engaging regular posters.
AND THE MUSIC: Surling and yowly indeed! In The Wire magazine, David Keenan wondered why "there isn't a Dead C tribute group in every small suburban town the world over." Well, Gang Wizard seem to be the Mission Hills, CA chapter, especially invoking some of the C's more frenzied and harrowed moments. It's that strong bad-acid kinda stuff, which might work best at a low volume unless you want to terrify everyone within earshot. Not that it's all lingly and suryow though -- it can take a while, but the musicians often forage their way into more spacey and subdued atmospheres.
Also like the Dead C, Gang Wizard sprinkle abstract songs here and there among their free-form jams. They don't do it as often as the Dead C did on say, Trapdoor Fucking Exit, but more often than the Dead C does now. In fact, the vocals on "Crazy Persuasion" are almost goofy in that L.A. underground poetry-punk kinda way (and the song also sounds like free-rock-with-occasional-vocals contemporaries 360 Sound of Des Moines, IA). The album starts with an actual series of strummed guitar chords, and you can even tell between the major chords and the minor chords. The next song, "Candidates for Seperation" also features some chords and a singer who actually sings the title. Also, on the 'verses' there's this great sharp feedback tone that rings throughout, louder than the vocals, for that Modern Dance effect. The song also features some great garage-rock organ playing. It's the kind of stuff that really glues all the far-flung space-noise improv on this tape together. I've been listening to it a lot. - blastitude