Factrix Reviews- "California Babylon", "Live at Target" [archive]

Factrix | Album Reviews


Review by "Freedom from Reviews":

FACTRIX / CAZAZZA - 'California Babylon' (LP) / Subterranean Records / 1981

This record is the document of the ecstatic performative collision of the
entities Monte Cazazza (a long time industrial guy- an American soul mate
of Throbbing Gristle) and Factrix (a California outfit fond of unconventional
and modified instruments, wierded-out drum machines and searing guitar
feedback, compatriots of Nervous Gender et al.). According to the record
sleeve “All songs recorded live at Ed Mock Dance Studio, SF 6-6-81”
Except for two songs recorded live at Berkeley Square 12-12-80. And from
the looks of the video stills on the front and back of the record it was one
hell of a show.

Just so you have an Idea of what we’re dealing with, here is a list of the
instruments involved: “gitarre”, tapes, treatments, “radiogitarre”, vocals,
“amputated bass”, “monochord”, electric violin, “chemicals”, flutes,
“glaxobass”, and “found percussion”. I don’t know what the fuck a
glaxobass is, but I can tell you that whatever it is it sounds awesome.
And I don’t mean “awesome” in that California slang kind of way
(like, dude, “awesome glasses!”) but rather in the traditional sense of the
word (Awe: An overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, fear etc.,
produced by that which is grand, sublime, extremely powerful, or the like).
A logic exists to the songs, that is to say, a structure, deconstructed and
improvised to be sure, but recognizable. Maybe if you played The Ex’s
Aural Guerrilla through the mouth of one of those machines that crushes
cars at the junkyard this is what it would sound like.

This recording has a crushing urgency fettered to its shredding, tear-assing
feedback, and seesaw bass lines. The vocals have that disheveled sort of
half-caring diction to them, like the singer is too filled up with the moment
to concentrate on phrasing or delivery, it makes the shouted, barely
discernable lyrics all that more raw, almost unintentional, like yells form
nightmare taunted sleeper. This record sounds, NOW, the moment has
arrived, it sounds like the end of the century, like what everyone imagined
would happen when y2k finally arrived and citizens started looting off-line
banks and cutting down telephone poles for firewood, except this was
1980, and things were already pretty fierce. Think about expanding your
current dictionary of sounds out beyond, and into the infinite range. There
are vibrations of that kind of infinity here, of possibilities being explored,
new sounds getting kisses full of broken teeth and bloody lips. Is someone
smacking the microphone against the stage repeatedly? Because that’s what
that "thump-thump-thump" sounds like.

I wish I was there.

- LH

(LP) Subterranean Records, 1980


"..FACTRIX delivers the two best cuts on the album right off-- 'Night to Forget' is, if you have to draw comparisons, Black Sabbath-meets-PiL. Wonderful dirge guitar that isn't the familiar experimental jerk-off groans through a blasted mental nocturne. Likewise 'Subterfuge'..."

1 comment:

kaplan said...

Great to talk about those records but why don't you put them on mp3 down here ? no one will complain.