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Laddio Bolocko - Live and Unreleased 1997-2000 (2015)

17-12-2015, 20:31
Music | Jazz | Rock

Title: Live and Unreleased 1997-2000
Year Of Release: 2015
Label: No Quarter
Genre: Noise Rock, Jazz, Post-Rock
Quality: 320 Kbps
Total Time: 113:17 min
Total Size: 260 MB


01. 43 Minutes Of... 23:40
02. Utility Cassette Recordings 09:49
03. Catskills #3 01:25
04. Afrostructure pt. I 07:05
05. Afrostructure pt. II 04:55
06. Catskills #5 02:13
07. Cacophony (Catskills #2) 01:43
08. Realm of Ideas cs. 07:24
09. Wind Up / Demise 00:48
10. Improvisation 02:44
11. Columbia St. Dub 00:58
12. How About This For My Hair? Part A 06:56
13. How About This For My Hair? Part B 09:50
14. Intro / Soundcheck (Live in Slovenia) 01:44
15. Gary Coleman (Live in Slovenia) 02:23
16. As If By Remote (Live in Slovenia) 09:25
17. Beatrice The Coyote (Live in Slovenia) 09:27
18. Improvisation (Live in Slovenia) 05:01
19. Encore (Live in Slovenia) 05:47

Formed in 1996 and over and done within four years, Laddio Bolocko was the strangest, most slept-on New York band of its time. They had some precedent in far-out outfits like Faust and This Heat, who used studio technology, isolation, and willful primitivism to push their music to into extreme places. And, because they blended '70s experimentalism with elements of American underground punk music, they had distant cousins in post-rock groups, like Tortoise and Trans Am (with whom they toured). Their vibe was very different, though. Tortoise was serene and vibey. Trans Am had a sense of humor. Laddio plowed down a different path altogether -- following common influences toward dark psychedelia and the occult.
Live and Unreleased collects odds and ends pulled from Laddio Bolocko's archives, including rehearsal tapes, concert recordings, and a DVD's worth of grainy concert footage. These are hardly throwaways or fans-only ephemera, though. The set—which spans two CDs or three LPs—adds depth and dimension to the group's unfairly thin catalog, allowing a peek into the communal jamming and weeded-out home studio experimentation that drove the band's creative process.
Liner notes by Oneida drummer Kid Millions give insight into the quartet's brief, grubby existence. After relocating to Brooklyn from southern Illinois during the mid '90s, drummer Blake Fleming, guitarist Drew St. Ivany, and bassist Ben Armstrong found a low-rent practice/living space in then-blighted Dumbo that offered no shower, but allowed no-complaints all-hours music-making.
The 20-minute "43 Minutes of (Excerpt)" is drawn from this time and captures the trio finding its stylistic footing. They trance out big-time here, with Armstrong and St. Ivany plugging away at car alarm-style riffs on bass and keyboard while Fleming goes wild on the kit. The tape marked the emergence of an idea that would drive the band's later work—mainly, the skewing of the senses through high-volume repetition—and also possibly helped to win over saxophonist Marcus DeGrazia, who engineered the session and who would join the band full-time shortly thereafter.
Looking for a change in scene, Laddio later decamped to an abandoned ski lodge in upstate New York. This period accounts for the collection's darker, more abstract material— where the band moved off the grid and completely into its own territory. Tracks like "Catskills # 3" and "Catskills #5" are full of alien melodies, haunting found sounds, and phantom piano tones. The music has an eerie energy to it, as if it wasn't so much being consciously written as channeled into existence. It's as if the quartet slipped down some strange Lovecraftian wormhole -- not so much in these sense that the music evokes horror, but that the band's druggy transcendence brings only disquiet and distance. After plotting out the material for their second record, In Real Time, Laddio ended its stay in the countryside and returned to Dumbo, where they landed in an even filthier crash pad. Not long after, the group called it quits. Armstrong and St. Ivany would go on to form the excellent trio, the Psychic Paramount while Fleming would do a few off-and-on stints in the Mars Volta and perform in the band Electric Turn to Me, along with DeGrazia.
Awesome as they were, it's hard to say that Laddio Bolocko has spawned many imitators. They were just too obscure. Millions' band, Oneida, embraced similar ideas and sounds, but the drummer admits that during Laddio's lifetime, even he had never heard of the band. But it would be hard to replicate the quartet's magic, anyway.
Laddio toured extensively throughout its existence and the live recordings included here—six songs taped during a performance in Slovenia—provide the some of the set's most compelling material. On stage, the band's strange and diverse ideas gel together perfectly. The songs are otherworldly, but visceral. The quartet performs with intensity and shared purpose that seems somehow paranormal, nudging out of their regular songs into unknown territory, searching out an ecstatic state.

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