The second volume of Soul Jazz’ “New York Noise” comes out this week, and if anything promises to be even better than the first. I’m intrigued by the inclusion of UT, a band that rose out of the ashes of Robin Crutchfield’s Dark Day [Nina Canal was in Dark Day briefly, but there was really no overlap with the two groups], got picked up by the label that introduced Sonic Youth to the world, Blast First!, and then disappeared in 1989 or thereabouts. UT’s music wasn’t quite as concise and declarative as its name, but it reveled in pitting the primitive with the sensual. The constant tug-of-war became a sonic texture in and of itself, pitting low-end assaults with tape loops, hums, and fierce drumming against coolly sexy vocals.
UT survived the move from NYC to the UK but finally imploded after the release of the Steve Albini-produced Griller. Founding member Jacqui Ham went on to form Dial, which released one album that I know of, infraction [Cede]. It’s a haphazard affair at best, but for moments at a time it owns the room. This track, “Little Eye,” is incredibly heavy with dread, almost unlistenably so. But it’s Ham’s howled, mewling, almost inarticulate vocals that pull the track out of the gutter. The effect is quite haunting —it grows on you, transmuting from sludgy noise to something keening and oddly delicate. The more you listen to it the more compelling it becomes,
I wonder if Jacqui is still making music? If she is, the internet isn’t telling.*
*There’s a new Dial record due for release very shortly [late Summer 2006]…
Dial, “Little Eye” [right-click-save-as, s’il vous plaît]
The Dial album is available from Forced Exposure.