Welcome back to Rocket's irregular blog feature 'Multiple Exposure', where we ask various artists what their favourite pieces of 'repetitive' music are. This feature, we have the one and only Plastic Crimewave, otherwise known as Steve Kraków.
Steve is a Chicago-based illustrator and writer, musician and music historian. He is the editor of Drag City-published magazine Galactic Zoo Dossier, eponymous front man for Plastic Crimewave Sound which Rocket released the fabulous 'Flashing Open', founder of the Million Tongues Festival, and Vision Celestial Guitarkestra. He writes and illustrates the "Secret History of Chicago Music" comic in the Chicago Reader and co-hosts WGN-AM's Secret History of Chicago Music series. He runs Drag City imprint label, Galactic Zoo Disk. We welcome his thoughts on 'repetitive music'.
Multiple Exposure Vol: 2 – Plastic Crimewave
Toby Jug and Washboard Band - "Elastic Landlady" (off "Greasy Quiff" LP)
A bizarre Hendrix "parody" on an uber-rare UK private press consisting mostly of, you guessed it, jug-band jams. Whatever the case, this sprawling, seemingly PCP-addled track made it on the LP, and has some of the sickest/fried guitar tone outside of the Afflicted Man or Helios Creed--not for the faint of heart.
Tangerine Dream - Electronic Meditation (LP)
Their 1st and best LP--of course I like the one with loadsa freaked out guitars on it, which is like no other in their catalog. Key drones, backwards vox in German, and lethargic jams that cascade into frenzied "krautROK" at its finest.
Sound of Imker - "Train of Doomsday" (45)
Blasting Dutch biker rawk that lays the template for Motorhead, with grinding repetitive guitars, and a genius atonal one string solo--released in 1969, but reputedly recorded in 1968, which puts it far ahead in the "proto-everything" game.
Hapshash and the Coloured Coat Featuring the Human Host and the Heavy Metal Kids (LP)
Supposedly the key inspiration for Amon Duul 1, trudging fuzz-bass/gongs/moaning-groupie jams like "H.O.P.P.Y." by the celebrated poster artists certainly sound like pre-kraut communal jams with drugged orgies in full effect.
Metal Boys - Fugue For a Darkening Island (45)
This post-Metal Urbain project continues with the pissed-off Frenchie synthpunk vibes, but reaches a new level of ominous avant-space-out textures on this B-side. DARK!
International Harvester - Sov Gott Rose-Marie
My intro to the world of communal Swedish droneprog, influenced equally by Terry Riley and the Velvets. Genius stuff in the Parson Sound/Baby Grandmothers/Trad Gras Och Stenar axis, with the track "I Mourn You" particularly pulsating into repeating rapturous realms.
Chrome - New Age (45)
Seriously mesmerizing bad trip electro-psych, with garbled voices and sizzling guitars poking through an unrelenting drum machine rattle. Leaves a taste in your mouth like batteries.
Velvet Underground - The Nothing Song
This track makes the rounds on various '66 bootlegs, but is one of the best examples of their slowburn approach, where layers pour in like molasses of simplistic drums, nico groan, and ostrich guitar, like an emerging high.
Gong - Continental Circus Soundtrack (LP)
My fave album by these UK/French mystic hippies, which includes instrumental and Daevid-incanted vocal-versions of long cosmic jams which make excellent use of Allen's glissando guitar skills (nicked from Syd, of course).
Electric Sandwich - s/t (LP)
An underrated jazzy yet damaged "Kraut" gem, which contains some seemingly improvised jamz where fucked over-modulated wah-sweep guitars scramble in and out of a solid fusion/bongo foundation like a methed-out Jade Warrior.
Simply Saucer - "Illegal Bodies" (from "Cyborgs Revisited" LP)
70s Canadian psych-punk of the highest order, as this 10+ minute track attests to. Pounding, apocalyptic, extended freak and roll that gives the Pink Fairies and Stoogians a run for their money.
Pharoah Sanders - Black Unity (LP)
From the opening repeating notes of this sidelong voyage, one knows that an afrocentric journey of heaven and hell lies ahead, with heavy skronks lying in wait alongside blissed out chimes, bells and whistles.
Crime - "Raw Rumble" (off "Love Us or Hate Us.." bootleg LP)
The primal skree of my fave "punk band", who turn Link Wray riffage into a continuous bombardment of out-of-tune-guitar nuclear assault, pounding the simple chords into your noggin forever.
Butterfingers - "Bootleg" (track off s/t acetate)
Theorized to be from Texas, this group goes all over the place, but settles nicely into a bizarre Funkadelic homage here, with delayed shout-outs of "Bootleg" over a shuffling pseudo psych-funk galactic ramble.
Swell Maps - "Gunboats" (off "Last Exit to Marineville" LP)
One of my all-time favorite dreary dronerock tracks, with plodding tempo, moaning vox, bag-of-cats guitar yelp, and even a vacuum cleaner thrown in--like early Red Crayola on 'ludes.
Seventh Sons - "4 am at Frank's" (LP)
Mellow white boy raga that truly must have been recorded stoned-to-the-bone as the sun came up...Buzzy Linhart and his crew deliver 2 sidelong tracks of beautiful acoustic bliss on one of the most underrated ESP LPs.
Photo Oliver Morris