Review by Kent Manthie
Well, we just got a whole new batch of experimental “noise” CDs and it takes a really special breed to be able to stomach the brave new noise.
The first disc I pulled out of the package I received was an eponymous album by the magnate of mayhem, Stirner. From the beginning, aka, cut one, it explodes right out of the gate for the first minute or so of the first song. Then, on the next 3 songs, each a different “Talk Show” (#1, #2, #3…) it glides into more of an atmospheric icescape that is a lot more easy to stomach than the trashy talk shows on television! The first is “Talk Show #1: We the People”, wherein one has to use their imaginations to figure out the meaning of the title – my interpretation is a sardonic mirror held up to the American People who sit home, en masse and watch these obnoxious talk shows: Jerry Springer, Maury, Montel Williams, and the like ( to tell the truth, it’s been so long since I’ve been forced to sit in front of someone’s TV who was watching this shit that I really don’t know any other talk show hosts (or shows) that are on currently, but I’m sure they’re just as atrocious and worthless as the ones from the not-too-distant past, like RIcki Lake, Sally Jessy Raphael (god, she was an annoying train wreck and I’m glad she’s gone: good riddance!) Anyway, this dissonance is the perfect way to portray the disgusting freak shows that they are. “Talk Show #2: Profit” is pretty self-evident: it’s a big “fuck you” to the TV shows that put this garbage on the air. Profit is a big motive, something that goes hand in glove with ratings. So, if the “unwashed masses” in the tenements, trailer parks, TVs watched by idiot children home “sick” from school, etc. are watching this nonsense, then it’s only going to encourage them to keep airing the stuff. Then, “Talk Show #3: Gossip” is another self-evident name – Americans just LOVE gossip; they love to talk shit about their co-workers, so-called friends, schoolmates, etc. They just can’t get enough. It comes down to the maxim that we hate our friends who become successful – “it should’ve been ME” we say to ourselves, while, at the same time congratulating the person for his or her promotion, winning big at the casino or even – and especially! – winning the lottery! There are two more “Talk Show” songs, but, in between the other ones there are a few other ditties slipped in. One is a song that starts off with this ominous erratic noise behind which sounds like a knife being sharpened. But, unlike a lot of previous Stirner creations, all of a sudden there’s a beat that pumps things up a little, bringing things to life. “Talk Show #4: Looking Back” has a discordant atmosphere that’s playing over what sounds like generic voices, ones whose words you can’t make out, but it’s obvious there’s a few people talking, sounding reminiscent of a talk show. It’s too bad that the name “Looking Back” isn’t making a point that these ugly, freak shows are a thing of the past, since they are still part of the daytime television wasteland that exists on network television. That is one reason I pretty much stay away from TV and if I do watch TV, I watch interesting stuff like C-SPAN but now that I’m not living alone anymore, I’ve been “introduced” to a couple of halfway decent TV shows like Law & Order: Criminal Intent, which, unfortunately is over with, as a series – they wrapped up the series before it could get stale. But, what’s cool is that they still air reruns of it on USA, the network that was airing the then-new episodes every Sunday. But I digress…”Talk Show #5: Tu Dinner” (?) (The script on the CD sleeve was somewhat hard to decipher, but I think that’s what it read…) was in the same vein as “Talk Show #4… – it had these disembodied voices, rambling on in indecipherable babble, not unlike the average talk show – where they parade out the dregs of humanity and have them make fools of themselves on nationally syndicated TV, while the audience (both in the studio and at home) laugh and laugh and laugh at these idiots’ so-called “problems”.
In between “Talk Show #4…” and “Talk Show #5…” exists “Soap Queen Society”, wherein a cacophony of voices and atmospheric noise exist in a symbiotic groove.
Anyway, what I like a lot about this Stirner CD is that it’s got more structure to it – it’s not just one long torture freak-out, even though there’s plenty of that too, but they add a few beats to it as well as sampled voices and even a kind of concept to it.
The last cut, “Chasing Spirits” starts off with a female voice that flatly goes on about something and then metallic sparks fly and there are also so many overdubbed sounds, synthetic ruminations and something more compelling as well as a good way to end the CD.
My take on Stirner is that it shows a growth and more intricate uses of “sounds” – found, manufactured or otherwise. I’d hate for Stirner to ever mellow out and become “accessible” – that would be anathema to his raison d’etre. -KM