Controlled Bleeding – Body Samples C70 (Obsolete Units)

by mrdpetri

ImageControlled Bleeding is a project founded in 1978 by central member Paul Lemos. Originally the group played a sort of progressive instrumental music that, as described at the Controlled Bleeding website, sounded like “a collision between The Ramones and Mahavishnu Orchestra.” I have known Controlled Bleeding as mostly a sort of industrial-noise-electronic-ambient shape-shifting project, having released a number of recordings on labels such as Dossier, Ladd-Frith, Staalplaat, Sub Rosa, Soleilmoon, Wax Trax, Hospital Productions, and Cleopatra, which indicates somewhat of a variety of style coverage by the group. They also released a number of items on cassette in the 80’s, which had led me to a false conclusion that they were an extinct 80’s cassette-culture-oriented power-electronics/noise/surrealist group (to me, on the recordings I’m familiar with, being at times in Nurse With Wound territory). I found later that they are still alive and that they are a versatile experimental audio-art project that has released a smorgasbord of exciting audio weirdness over the last 30+ years. I find this to be a very interesting project and I expect to be digging more deeply into their varied catalog as finances allow. 

On the present release, Body Samples, a lot of what is heard is recorded through a distorted microphone, emphasizing much violent SLAMMING ON METAL OBJECTS, and sometimes joined by violent yelling. Such sounds are sampled and looped, scrap-yarded in heaps of other vicious sound, crumbly and scalding hot with distorto-scum. Then there are odd bits of strange electronic dreaminess thinly coated with an ooze of all-natural surrealist flavoring. Abstractly junky noised-up flea circus tunes with sinister undertones, utilizing the distinctive tactic of recording sounds, guitars, and voices at a slower speed than the intended playback speed. This idiosyncratic method is heard as well on another Controlled Bleeding album I enjoy called Curd. Wonderful weirdness is attained by this trick in conjunction with the many other aesthetic and elemental choices. Controlled Bleeding meld home taper collage stylings with harshest industrial noise and nocturnally-vibed surrealist puppet show instrumentals. Guitar and bass lines are played simply but with a unique sophistication, and at times the aforementioned speeding-up trick is probably not really what is happening; the guitar player (Lemos? – no guitar is listed in the jacket – only bass) is really playing that fast, and it’s pretty impressive, yet it’s unpretentious. Drum sticks are heard knocking out rhythms beneath rapid-boil pools of translucent gray-green-red channel overload cacophony. Microphone feedback projectile barfed from moldy amplifiers amorphously spasms and strobes. This tape falls into my long ago invented (inspired by Headless Ballerinas Underwater’s “The Devil’s Car”) category; Music that could actually cause my grandmother’s construction of reality to disintegrate, or -to reference HBU again- “Breakdown In Reality Part 4”. It’s violently harsh and bizarre with metaphysical hints, which jars not only the immediate visceral realities of the average ear’s predilection for non-horrific sorts of sounds, but digs deeper through the wise usage of dynamics, pacing, and diversity of sounds/tonality to achieve deeper psychological levels.

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