Test 10” flexidisc (Artifacts, 1979)
When the subject of conversation
wanders toward the 77 punk explosion's biggest impact, the notion that
“anyone can do it” seems to top the list. However, the idea that “anyone
can do it” is an incomplete. Punk’s full revelation was (and sometimes
still is) “anyone can do anything.”
This isn’t anything
new. From time to time, music undergoes a revolution and, for a while,
the world is safe for the weirdoes making noise in their closets to come
out. Early rock’n roll provided such a license, so did early electronic
music and free jazz and psych and krautrock and hip hop. As time goes on,
rules fall into place and music becomes formula but, like the moments after
a revolution when hopes are high and restrictions few, the short years
following 1977 opened rock’n roll up to a whole host of freaks.
In Washington, DC,
a group named Bomis Prendin exposed a mix of electronic experimentalism
and primitive punk. Odd recordings, overdriven bass and guitar, and a reliance
on anything but drums for percussion is what goes on here. The cover art
tips the band’s interest in Dada, something also apparent in the semi-collage-like
nature of their songs. Some of the tunes remind me of Vileness Fats-era
Residents and would fit nicely on one of those early 80s punk comps like
Keats Rides a Harley or Chunks.
The songs tend to deal in
quasi-revolutionary cynicism, a punk intellectual look at the post-Vietnam
world. On two cuts the band appropriates the poems and/or statements of
Paul Gehman and Key Ring Torch.
I mentioned the packaging
and, while the record is good, the packaging really stands out. Bomis Prendin
decided to press their record in an unusual format: a 10” flexidisc. In
fact, I did not know that they made flexi’s as a 10” until I found this
record. The band packaged the flexi in a handmade, hard stock, silk-screened
gatefold sleeve, something that must have taken much labor to do.
Right now, among underground
record collectors, Brit DIY punk is the hot item. Punk-as-fuck American
stuff is also hot. However, for some reason, American DIY art punk is ignored.
Stupid, because many of these recordings are just as good if not better
than those from the UK..
While I doubt this
Bomis Prendin 10” shows up too often (there were only 2000 made), I do
suggest picking it up if you come across it. Especially if people trying
to pursue a musical vision outside the mainstream is your thing.