Music may well be the food of love, but sweating over the begrimed cooker of a mixing desk during its preparation can, very occasionally, fatigue even the most seasoned musical culinarian. Not often though.
It is indeed that very labour of love which is responsible for things having been quieter than usual on the SBB front of late, as Tom and I, waist-deep in our respective warble-waters, have not had the chance to write a single word for what can only be described, in modern parlance, as ‘bare time’.
Today though, my own waters at least are slightly calmer, and whilst listening to Pere Ubu earlier I was reminded of a Skankworthy specimen with which to break the silence.
With their bricolage of musique concrète, garage and asymmetrical new wave constantly evolving into bolder and stranger shapes, it makes sense that Pere Ubu were drawn to the haunting echoes of dub fairly early in their distinguished career. As the title would suggest, this sensibility is most present on their stupendous Dub Housing LP, so called, apparently, because the reverberations around the Baltimore housing complex the band occupied during its creation reminded them of tape delay. Sounds almost too good to be true…
Despite the peppering of dub in Pere Ubu’s work however, the more manifest example of its influence lies in a track by short-lived Ubu offshoot Home and Garden (assembled by Scott Krauss and Tony Maimone upon their departure from the nice Pere in 1981), and it’s this choppy little number I’m bringing to the fore today.
A giddy, echo-drenched maelstrom of metronomic drum and guitar soundscapes falling somewhere between early Killing Joke and Rhys Chatham, (Please) Fix My Horn (My Brakes Don’t Work) pulses like an angry avant-dub vein in post-punk’s fevered temple. Especially odd for a track of its nature is the apparent absence of bass, though the rest of the instrumentation barrels along at such a velocity that you’d hardly even notice.
Home and Garden had sold up and moved on by the time their sole album, History & Geography, was released in 1984, though they’ve since reformed following the CD reissue of this unsung art wave nugget, and from what I hear they’re still just as potent as they were ‘back in the day’, as I believe it is known.
Get yer lugs round this ‘un…
And from Dub Housing…