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X__X - Albert Ayler’s Ghosts Live at the Yellow Ghetto LP (colour vinyl)

Smog Veil

X__X - Albert Ayler’s Ghosts Live at the Yellow Ghetto LP (colour vinyl)

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Includes d/l code.
Blue vinyl.
Liner notes by Byron Coley. 
Highly recommended. 

X___X was formed by John D Morton (Electric Eels) in Cleveland, Ohio in 1978. The New York Times recently featured the band explaining "back in the early 1970s, with only the Stooges and the Velvet Underground as role models, [Morton] and his colleagues turned their youthful alienation into a brazenly experimental, loudly confrontational and proudly antisocial roar that forged a new and distinct style.” Jon Savage described this record as “mean sounds that make your feet move." This 8-song release represents the band's first new recordings in more than 30 years. 

Not only Morton had a wider contribution to stretching the punk genre’s limits. Drummer Anton Fier went on to play with Pere Ubu. His rhythms all over X Sticky Fingers X vary and mutate, and on a song like ‘No Non cs’ find him causing the two-note riff that lasts the whole length of the tune to take completely different forms – it starts off a simple thugged-up thrash but later flails wildly skittering in and out of time pulling it all over the place. ‘A.’ does indeed sound like the cyclone alluded to in the Ektro Records bio, with a rapidly whirling circular bass line driving the chaos as John D Morton screeches and crunches like a motorcycle careering into a ditch. A couple of tracks show up their nihilist prankster ethos: ‘Rattler’ and ‘No No’, barely two minutes between them especially. ‘No No’ is basically the title shouted over the synchronised two-hit clatter of the rest of the band. The ultimate No Wave manifesto, if such a thing could exist? Elsewhere, ‘Moorish Weirdo’ ends with what sounds like the line, ‘It’s like sleeping with Idi Amin, Dada.’ This absurdist streak was not just an on-stage pose however, the band were apparently notorious for brawling, provoking their audiences and each other, and generally seeking conflict at every opportunity. Morton again: “I did send death threats to artists I didn't like and suicide notes to other people, like my mom.”

Despite the band’s nihilistic stance, they reckoned that musically they were way ahead of their peers, whether in Cleveland or in the thriving downtown New York scene: “We fully expected to be a mammoth success on the level of Roxy Music, the Stooges or the Dolls.” Sadly, of course, this never happened, but thanks to Finnish psych heroes Circle’s Ektro Records, a fascinating document from one of No Wave’s unknowns can now receive deserved attention.

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