OMEGAVILLE - (COLOURED VINYL)
In the near-twenty year period of Rocket Recordings’ existence, its ethos has expanded in untold directions, yet always with the destruction of boundaries and the expansion of consciousness high on the agenda. Nonetheless, the original spirit of the label remains a universe that revolves around the twin planets of Fuzz and Wah - the mind-frying six-string duality that warps sound spectrums and overheats speaker cones in pursuit of reckless sensory overload.
What’s more, few guitarists have been richer exponents of just these two ingredients than Paul Allen, who not only appeared on the very first Rocket 7” of 1998 with The Heads, but who also fronts Anthroprophh, an outfit who take both garage-bound filth and wayward, abstract artistry to zones beyond comprehension. ‘Omegaville’ - the third release on Rocket for his power trio alongside bassist Gareth Turner (who appeared on the other side of said debut Rocket 7” with his then-band Lilydamwhite) and drummer Jesse Webb - lives up to its name in driving just such demented predilections into head-spinning chaos. A feverish tirade of maximalism battling with a no-holds-barred approach to structure, ‘Omegaville’ finds equal space for everything-on-11 riffage of a distinctly Stoogian/stygian stripe, bracing musique concrete, Butthole Surfers-esque bedlam, Chrome-style sci-fi noise-pop, surreal British humour, and what sounds essentially like a ‘60s NASA HQ going up in flames.
Structured by Allen’s admission akin to Can’s ‘Tago Mago’ as a double album which places the more conventional tracks at its start and the more explicitly experimental and outré adventures on the second disc, this is a cliff-edge into sanity-risking overload which has much in common with the glory days of 1971 - the Nurse-With-Wound-list realm of record-collector gold where heavy rock, nascent prog and wilfully art-damaged netherscapes thrived - a harmonious and thrilling marriage between transgressive over-amplification and the avant-garde. “With a double LP you can usually get away with some form of experimentation on the second disc and ‘Tago Mago’ is a prime example” notes Allen “‘Echo’ by AR Vs Machines (Achim Reichel) being another example, with its zonked-out a cappella ending. It was nice to cover all aspects of what the band are all about, It kind of happened by accident really. I’m amazed we had that much material”
At the forefront of much of this, however, is Allen’s guitar playing itself, globally renowned amongst freaks and connoisseurs alike from his contributions to The Heads. Taking Hendrix and Asheton-esque shapes and warping them beyond recognition into new paradigms, he also cites guitarists like Michael Karoli “with this spindly thin fuzz sound and use of the whammy”, early-‘70s Robert Fripp, Giles Buchan of Human Beast, Fred Frith and Geinrich of Guru Guru (“with his love of sonic mulch”) as influences, yet this ear-splitting treble-heavy scree and these heavenly FX-driven cacophonies could be the work of no-one else but this particular six-string iconoclast, who drives his trademark sound beyond anything he’s previously attempted in any incarnation.
Who’s to say exactly where Anthroprophh move on from this guileless aural endtime mission. ‘Omegaville’ - in the tradition of most great out-rock and psych-noise - feels very much like a foot placed firmly on the accelerator in search of dimensions unknown - a liminal zone where fuzz and wah transcend space and time.