This is a special-edition of My New Fascination which is directed at the wonderful guy who owns Bunkerpop. It will contain one of two reviews, one of the re-issued version of Coïtus Int. first release “Dead Excitement E.P.” but also of Null And Void and their brand new release of material recorded in between 1981-1982 titled “Possibilities (Discoverable Thoughts)“, which will be featured in Special Ed. 2. In this edition, I’ll go through the Null And Void release. You should support Bunkerpop by venturing over to his website and ordering these two gems, which will aid the label-owner in his quest of seeking out and preserving old gems.
Null And Void – Possibilities (Discoverable Thoughts)
Surely, one of Americas best kept secrets. Null And Void were an avant-garde experimental outfit, which incorporated new wave and synth-pop into their clever disguise. There’s a lot to say about these fellows, but one thing they surely didn’t lack was originality. I haven’t really heard anything like it, to be honest. There are very few bands or artists that I could compare this with. Their first release could very much be fitted into the more quirky and minimalistic sphere of synth-pop, with some overt new-wave elements to accompany it. But things changed rapidly and they started to transgress into even more obscure territory. Bunkerpop has released a batch of tracks released by them in between 1981 and 1982, which made itself on to a black vinyl. Their first song is titled “Bach Variation” and is one of Bach’s sonatas quickly turned into a whirlwind of different odd sounds making their way through the sound-scape, a lot of humanly noises and suddenly; there’s a rattle of ambiance tearing it apart. It sounds like you’ve left your gramophone playing this wonderful piece of art by Bach. But everything else seems out of place, like there’s a burning sensation, everyone’s left the village and it’s the one thing you find when you enter it. It fades out in the same manner that it faded in, into oblivion with rattling noises and powerfully executed ambient.
Up next is the song “Japanese Forest“, which is also featured on their second release from 1982. Synthesizers in companionship with a clinking piano, accompanies a humanly voice as he recants some words. Everything is very down tempo, feeling like you’re a part of it, almost down to earth. There’s a classical feeling attached to it, it’s very emotional and the senses spark another light in the fire. As the hissing and under produced sound-scape quickly waltzes along with the tune of the tale. I don’t think I’ve ever been so out of touch with reality as I am, when hearing this song. There’s something about it that makes you want to leave this world for something better. But it quickly changes and reaches around, into a more sinister and uncompromising tale as it fades out into the dark. As you continue to listen, the next chanson is “When I Fell Down“, which feels a little bit closer at home. It feels like the band is playing beneath water or in a train station. It’s a really short one also, which is uncompromising and change the boundaries between the regular synth-pop and the more hissing noise-filled meal you’re being delivered. Certainly, it feels like it was recorded on a really old cassette-tape that has been running for a long time. At the same time, it’s captivating and it feels like it quickly pops its own bubble to deliver a sense of reality and how it can be in your everyday life. The stale, concrete and focused vision of the obnoxious side of reality you’d never even consider more than for a day. If this is over, then it should be.
Because we’re moving to the fourth track “Einstein’s Theory Of Relativity, No. 2“, which as short as it may be, delivers a concoction of post-punk violence upon experimentalism. You really never seem to know where you have them, as in the next second they could be spiking your eyes out. It is freakishly delicate, but I don’t know if I would consider it to be good. Damn, this is a hard piece to evaluate. The same under produced sound-scape makes its way into your brain and your organs, delivering you to surgery. Imagine having an acidic trip all the way to the doctor’s. Being forced through concrete walls as your trip never seems to end. Probably one of the shorter seances aimed at getting you unfocused as you were in grave need to be focused some tracks back. Shit, this is really getting a hold of me, but I don’t know why. Even when you’re not fond of the bizarre approach, it absolutely makes you think outside the box and re-arrange the stuff you have inside. Pack your bags, we’re moving out of the bag. Which is probably for the best, since the next song is “Out New Life“, which in itself should be an indication on what’s going to happen. The more quirky side of Null And Void is re situated into a more picturesque landscape with some cringe-worthy madness strapped onto their backs. It feels like you’re in a crappy British sitcom, turned into an absolute danger zone for unoriginal nonsense being spewed out of the pop-factory. Breathe in and breathe out, every time you change the position of the song, it either turns to the more quirky side of things, for a second.
Just to finally burst out into bubbles and shoot out the experimentalist endeavor they’re so keen on delivering. You know everything in one second, to be dismayed at the fact that you’re as confused as it sounds, in the next second. Or, if you for just a minute changed your mind and decided that you’ve invited aliens to your show and tell them they’ve won a thousand martian dollars. Quickly bringing your mind to Egypt, with the Egyptian scale of riffing. Everything is very confusing, but stabilizes in the final moment and makes you want to listen to it one more time. However, we’re on the last song on the A-Side now, which means that time’s almost up. The song is titled “The Motorcycle Song” and is a really nice vibrant mix of post-punk and synthesizer whistling. With that, I mean that the synthesizer almost sounds like down tuned whistling. Things are really quiet for some time, just to accelerate into an emotional cocktail of dark baselines licking your forehead, to riffing that nearly could be mistaken for an up-beat and happy song for a moment. A lot of 70’s feelings are being re-modulated into their familiar 80’s homestead. Really, a fuckin’ great ending to such a bomb of concrete misery that the sheer satisfaction of hearing a crazed out synth in the end makes up for what was lost in the shape of tears running down your own tear canal. They’ve nailed it completely.
When the first side ended in silence, the B-side is making its way in. The first song on this side is “The Philosophy Song“. With a strange luminescent sound, which runs through the stream of light, calling me home. Reminding me a lot of the first song on the first side of this record, but instead it comes with a galloping horde of post-punk strength. Fearful ambient and martial synth-pop weirdness, reminding a lot about the likes of 70’s original pop-rock sound. Featured in between two walls of pressure, linking the bubbling sound-scape to the feature of an almost long gone under produced wonder. Take the 50’s or 60’s sound quality and mix it in between a flanger, pressure it between the experimentalist vein and cook it slowly. Makes you wonder a lot about the title of the song, as it produces a lot of questions returning to existentialism, as it changes outfit regularly between the regular post-punk and pop-rock outfit to something a lot more in the synthesized category.
There is a spoon, but at the same time there is none. Shrouded beneath is a subliminal hint here and there, which would be harder to decipher. More overt however, are the differences that are being matched, drifting side to side and changing into one another. Which quickly forms into the song “Aubrey Beardsley“, which is really a continuation, but adds more of an space-rock and almost Bowie reference to it all. It’s hard to recognize where the line is drawn, since the songs change so quickly between each other. It’s a really sinister mix of sound manipulation that goes through the tunnel and it mixes itself with the song “A Party Filled With Thieves“, heeding to the minimalistic sound that it also is supposed to support and enhance. There is so much going on right now that I can’t really disseminate the different way points. I think this side is a lot messier than the front side and the experimentalism is really too much at times but really original. Even though I don’t understand the structure and the fact that the songs go into each other, it’s hard to understand the point. Somewhere I might’ve dropped it, which is reasonable when you’re so full of it that you’ve basically began to doubt yourself.
Somewhere along the line, I think the song “A Dream Wah! Part 1” is making itself noticed. At least, that’s what I think. Everything from the quirkiness, to the minimalism, to the post-punk and the various genres being mixed into each other produced a wonderfully analog-sounding march of ambient landscape. It felt like everything was melted together and that the planet was anew. Everything slowly comes back to sanity, after we’ve crash-landed in and out of ourselves. This was much more than a trip, it was a trip that would bring out the originality and the structure of what is (or could be told to be) Null And Void. Subliminal signals are being transmitted, as the song tries to stumble into its own sound-scape again. Regaining strength, slowly, with a post-punk background tweaking the cables. As you hear the lyrics, they come clear: “…you felt lightheaded”, the second I hear those lyrics I begin to think of the experience I described above these sentences. There are not many more words that can be said, but after the end of this track, next one called “A Dream Wah! Part 2” makes me wonder if they’re going with the dream sequencer for this one. Maybe the theories I put forward are right, this was just a dream, a passage into the times of our lives. A big part of it is the weird synth-wave being blended together with the more classic rock elements, or should I say pop? I don’t know. There are a lot of things happening at the same time, and we’re making it to the end by now. Words can only say as much.
The last song “A Dream Wah! Part 3” comes on and I’m prepared for the worst. It sounds like the beginning of the A-Side, clearly marking the end of everything. It’s as if you’ve been reborn two times and here comes a third. Rumbling like a volcano, quitting with a piano and sealing the whole deal. Emotionally, this has been a weird trip and pretty uncomfortable in some places. What I don’t get is why label-managers decided to shun this piece of art. One of the most absurd things I’ve heard in a while. These guys had real talent and they didn’t want to give out this material. I don’t know what’s wrong with them, because this is one of the more unorthodox experiences that I’ve had in a while. In terms of originality, it’s one of the most innovative things I’ve heard for a good while. Here’s something for everybody, but I guess that some people simply don’t care about the value of this.
It’s a must have and I suggest you head on over to Bunkerpop and buy it.