12.1.12

ANGUS MACLISE : Trance (1987)

Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Apocryphal or not, legend has it that Angus MacLise, original drummer with The Velvet Underground, reacted to confirmation of the band's first paid live date by angrily quitting - "You mean we start when they tell us & we finish when they tell us? I can't work that way." His brief tenure in the formative V.U. aside, MacLise was also a published poet, bookshop owner, underground film maker, calligrapher, Occultist, Fluxus-affiliated artist, & nomad. As a member of both The Theatre Of Eternal Music & the original Dream Syndicate (alongside Tony Conrad, Terry Riley, John Cale, & founder La Monte Young), MacLise's drug induced, stream of consciousness improvisations ultimately inspired the music of contemporary fringe outfits such as Sunburned Hand Of The Man, Tower Recordings & No-Neck Blues Band, whose open ended/free form performances continue to baffle audiences 30+ years after his untimely death, in Nepal, from tuberculosis . All that remains of MacLise's pioneering multimedia performances are a few reels of grainy, disintegrated sound recordings, since bequeathed to the Yale Collection Of American Literature by his widow, & fellow traveller, Hetty. Fortuitously, their crude quality somehow enhances their mind-boggling cabalistic awesomeness.

Growing interest in MacLise's clandestine oeuvre has, in recent years, resulted in a brace of fascinating archival releases from Table Of The Elements, Siltbreeze, Quakebasket & other similarly broadminded, zero budget imprints. However, the 1st label to release any of his work was Fierce Records, a long defunct Welsh bootleg emporium, allegedly masterminded by the bassist in Zodiac Mindwarp & The Love Reaction (!), & generally better known for it's abundance of nose thumbing Pooh Sticks flexis. Fierce issued "Trance" in 1987 in a meagre edition of 100 single-sided 7"s. A short low-fi tape recording of a mid-60's sine tone experiment, "Trance" was packaged pop art-style (n.b. irony alert) with an "Angus" chocolate bar, a selection of Khatmandu prayers, a "Far Out" badge, an incense cone, & a mail order list of spurious MacLise-related ephemera. Though the choice of inserts was characteristically arch (their most notorious bootleg, The Jesus & Mary Chain's "Riot" EP, included a free syringe & a torn scrap of plaid shirt!), Fierce's intentions were undoubtedly sincere, "Trance" playing an important catalytic role in the subsequent reevaluation of MacLise's life & work.

n.b. For a far more astute overview of MacLise's life & works than I could ever muster, take a look at this excellent article.

No comments:

Post a Comment