Lust Rollers is Mark Browne and Daniel J. Gregory, and they make a helluva free noise mess. Browne is an improviser and composer, whose work slips from stark free-form saxophone explorations to spontaneous, multi-layered musique concrete avalanches. Gregory runs Structured Disasters, a new tape label out of Aylesbury, as well as creating abstract soundscapes under his own name.
Together they create a scraping, heaving mass of sound that shifts nimbly from all-out noise assault through micro-crunches of free improv to mega-drone heaviness. This multi-headed focus probably shouldn’t work, but it does, the disparate outcrops of its archipelago glued together by the openness of the duo’s all-encompassing approach.
This tape, the third release on Structured Disasters, consists of two long form tracks. At first, the dense dissonance of these two pieces feels like the results of meticulously pieced together studio creations, full of jump cuts and surreal juxtapositions that on any other record would be the result of hours of fiddling around with editing software.
But, having seen Mark Browne at work, playing live with Crush!!! and his trio with Richard Sanderson and Daniel Thompson, I’m confident that there’s not much of that post-production faffing going on. I haven’t seen Lust Rollers in the flesh, but at other gigs, Browne has surrounded himself with instruments, objects and all kinds of junk, from which he produces a seemingly endless stream of sound. I like to imagine that it’s the sonic equivalent of sitting in a space station and watching an asteroid shower pass by, although that would underplay the sense of mischievous anarchy that Browne brings to anything he’s involved in.
Gregory fits into all this palaver seamlessly. I don’t really have any clue about who’s doing what on this tape, but I’d hypothesise that Gregory brings a snotty DIY noise-punk attitude to Browne’s post- jazz-free-improv aesthetic. It’s kind of like hearing two parallel streams of underground music come together into a silty torrent.
Side A’s The Unseemliness of the Impoverished starts off nicely, with a hissing bed of bowed cymbals and ferric rustles, metallic drones rising out of the undulating hubbub. It has a groovy, edgy ambience, Mick Jagger sharing a bathtub full of codeine with James Fox in a crumbling Notting Hill mansion block. But then, FUCK ME THAT’S SCARY, from nowhere several huge blasts of noise knock my eyeballs together and squidge my brain. It’s one of those pesky sudden shifts to which this duo are partial, which even after three or four listens retains a nauseous thrill. The ride gets a bit bumpier from then on, with snare drum boshes and ominous rattles slowly overtaken by massive oily slick of guitar power, an infinitely sustained power chord that seems to writhe and buckle even as it oozes out of my speakers. It goes on for bloody ages too, which is ace, kind of like a livelier Sunn O))) or those eternal feedback howls of Neil Young’s Arc.
The other side is titled The Insalubrity of the Rich, and it starts with a demented drum circle in which I’m pretty certain I can hear Browne’s trademark rubber chicken squeaks and squeezes, crying out in a mournful choir, as well as various snare paradiddles and motorised percussion patters. Fidgety stuff, and yes, there’s more lairiness as the duo try their best to annoy everyone listening with a dissonant mix of white noise and found sound, including porno flick audio, documentary voiceovers and crying baby samples.
(As an aside, in a recent interview the ex-Wolf Eyes member Aaron Dilloway mentioned that his solo shows used to include long sections of crying baby sounds. “Anyone who wasn’t a parent was completely freaked out,” he said. “But people with kids just thought it was funny.”)
More rewarding is the final half, where the shifty percussion rattles and hisses around the returned molten guitar fuzz. At certain points, it sounds like a bizarre re-imagining of a rock band jam session, which then gets warped even more by layers of machine gurgles that slather everything in a kind Fisher Price-gone-serial-killer juice. There’s even a mangled tonality to the duo’s proceedings, with a distorted stylophone cranking out some great Joe Meek vibes even as it’s wrapped in the monstrous embrace of that guitar heaviness.
By the end, however, those wood and plastic instruments have been melted by sheer volcanic force of the duo’s righteous jamming, leaving just a shapeless sludge of boiling effluent noise, a lake of sonic pollutant that only the bravest of Hazmat suited and booted clean-up squads would dare approach.