Wack Attack

Resipiscent brings the noise

When Chicago-based performance group the Ritualistic School of Errors made its West Coast debut at Edinburgh Castle recently, it was quite the spectacle. Fronted by artist Gregory Jacobsen, the troupe of strangely clad, masked freaks careened through a circus of off-kilter music, spasmodic dancing, and bizarre behavior, with one member liberally smearing his face with spaghetti.

The occasion was the release party for the Ritualistic School of Errors CD/DVD on Resipiscent; packaged with a book of Jacobsen's unsettling art, it's one of seven new releases on the label. Others include CDs by local noise outfits Earwicker, Tarantism, and Critical Monkey, all of which turned in mind-melting sets that evening.

Resipiscent (meaning returning to one's senses) was founded last year by Austin transplant James Decker and longtime local Thomas Day, lead member of Hans Grusel's Krankenkabinet. The indie has spurt forth 19 unusual-sounding, innovatively designed recordings thus far. First release Quarry Tonesby Oakland trumpeter Liz Allbee features exquisite compositions and comes in a variety of containers handmade by the artist. Quaak Muttar from Bay Area stalwart Bran (...) Pos is encased in a fully functional miniature pinball game, and features 50 bewildering tracks, most of which are only a few seconds in length.

Other Resipiscent offerings include the electronic-blizzard solo work of Comets on Fire Echoplex-meister Noel Von Harmonson and a 3-inch CD of mesmerizing clangor pounded out on bongs and bent silverware by the Pacific Northwest's mysterious At Jennie Richie. Seven East and West Coast noisemakers collaborate as duos on Mutual Hallucinations Vol. 1, with the kaleidoscopic first track being a sort of sonic exquisite corpse as each musician takes a two-minute turn. The entire album's a heady trip, and a convenient introduction to both the label and several members of its roster.

But the best place to start an exploration of Resipiscent's offerings is the double-disc String of Artifacts compilation (co-released with Oakland's Fish Pies label), which features 35 artists and serves as a good state-of-the-noise primer. Hearing it, one realizes how dynamic the genre is these days, and not just a wall of din.

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