BLAST FROM THE ARSE – 1982: Fetus Productions/The Gordons
Originally printed in IT magazine, April 1982:
This oddity, out of the blue, is heady, heavy stuff. It’s the sort of album that occasionally springs up from nowhere and really turns your head around.
No band details. Just a strange monochrome graphic on the cover. White label. It begins with a resounding THUMP and grating. The first “song” is totally hypnotic and textural in a not dissimilar way to that seminal German group Faust. Then it’s straight into free-form avant noise. Violins sawing away with a background of earth-shaking bass thumps. A mantra-like voice reciting over synthesized sounds. Distorted, treated voices. The side finishes with weird voices in the runout groove. The second side has conventional and strange moments. One track is a series of fright-evoking scream-type sounds. Truly exploratory stuff.
What a surprise to find that this brilliant, Sydney-recorded album is by three ex-Features (they being the near-legendary NZ raw nerve anti-rock band) Jed Town, Karl van Bergen and James Parker, plus Sarah Ward and Mike Brookfield. And word has it they’ll be touring NZ at some stage. Can’t wait!
This record stuns. GARY STEEL
[Note: I presume the ‘James Parker’ mentioned was in fact James Pinker! Sorry!]
The Gordons – The Gordons (Flying Nun)
This album came out at the tail-end of 1981. It’s hardly had a mention. Pity, because it’s one of the best albums to come out of this country.
You’ve probably read the live reviews of The Gordons, if you haven’t actually witnessed the phenomenon for yourself. Vinyl could never quite do justice to the sheer noise and the twisted harmonics that come out of that noise. Nevertheless, this longplayer is a fair representation of this extreme, original three-piece from Christchurch.
The songs that their fans will know are not to be found here. New material is the menu, and the material is given plenty of room to move, unlike the quick short bursts of songs the fans know.
Initially it’s a disappointment, but worth some effort. The Gordons are just as noisy here, but they employ a subtlety to go with it that’s all new. ‘Spik And Span’ is in the old style, but longer. The changes are evident soon though; vocals that aren’t shouted on ‘Right On Time’, a real mood created with a classic riff on ‘Growing Up’; the crashing helter-skelter sadness of ‘Laughing Now’.
The Gordons are hard on the ears. But if you’re up to it they’re playing some of the most individual, innovative music around. There is no way you can describe The Gordons’ music adequately, and that in itself is some sort of qualification. GARY STEEL