I read an incredibly short and (in my opinion) unfair review of Slack Babbath Plays Peep Durple the other day, so I figured I would say a few things about it.
From what I can tell, Sugar Pills Bone is part of a music collective (?) based out of Arizona. Slack Babbath Plays Peep Durple is, as far as I know, their debut album—available on cassette via the epic noise label Orb Tapes out of Pennsylvania, and digitally on a Bandcamp site mostly dedicated to another group called The Crinkles. It’s very possible—especially after listening to the other albums on the Crinkles BC site — that the different groups are all comprised of the same sound artists. Who knows.
Admittedly, the album is difficult to describe. To me, the listening experience is something like being blindfolded and thrown into some bizarro dark web Santa Claus’ bottomless bag of broken music boxes. Or, perhaps, it sounds as if Fred Frith and The Books got together in hopes of producing something that would challenge their already limited audiences.
There’s a perpetual duality that exists throughout the album — a coexistence of plunderphonics and live performance (guitars, banjos, chants, etc). At one point in “Sucking On Clean Shoes”, for instance, some nameless big band number drones on beneath a flurry of looped percussion noise and guitar noodling. It sounds unpleasant when written out like this. However, as we all know, words alone cannot do music justice. This section, along with the entire bulk of these garbled compostions, works in ways that many works of abstract noise music simply do not.
Why? It works mainly because there is nothing lazy about any of the tracks. There is a daunting amount of differing sounds that bang around inside of the speakers as the album plays out. Being someone who largely uses samples as means of composition, I can attest to the fact that it’s quite a time consuming affair finding samples that work together to create a unified piece. I honestly can’t imagine the amount of work Sugar Pills Bone put into their audio plundering. And though improvisation was (I assume) essential to their creation, the mixing process that occurred after the fact is what holds them all together. Everything is masterfully layered — the right sounds shining through/fading away whenever necessary.
Ultimately, when this mess of sounds is chopped, mixed and fried in what the artist has dubbed “Buttersound”, the end result is a miraculously digestible dish of artful sensory overload. At the time of writing this, there is only ONE copy left on the Orb Tapes Bandcamp site. If you’re looking to supplement your tape collection with something that will baffle your fellow sound-spelunking brethren on some otherwise quiet night, I’d suggest purchasing it.