Neck Vs. Throat is a transatlantic death match between Hull-based gargle poet Yol and Cuidad Juarez’s very own avant-shredder Miguel Perez (The Skull Mask, La Mancha del Pecado, etc). Separately these artists are pretty feisty but together they represent a whole different bag of trouble. They achieve a kind of noise synergy in the recordings they have so far amassed, Perez’s whipcrack guitar stylings adding white-hot stabs to Yol’s crashed-out sound, while those fragmented Yol diatribes bring a polemic weight and direction to Perez’s frequently apocalyptic musings.
Vol 3 sees the duo accompanied by expert tape masher Posset (as well as improv percussion head Pascal Nichols for one track), who ladles a whole load of greasy rime over proceedings, the resultant gruel retaining its astringent bite even as its damp edges seep out in all directions. Within this slippery miasma Yol’s shards of poetic distress coagulate into hard lumps of disquiet, verbal powderkegs on the point of explosion. Having experienced the dark energy that is Yol several times now , both in performance and through recordings, the uneasy shock of his aesthetic has lessened somewhat. I no longer think he’s a man on the edge of a serious rupture with reality – instead I admire the way in which he dramatizes the everyday struggles of living the world, the paralysis of frustration and the difficulties of articulating those anxieties in language. Not so much the word made flesh as the word vomited from the guts of the unconscious in a series of regurgitant epiphanies. Here, tracks like Filthy Ley Lines are ciphers in the form of supernovae: YOU FILTHY LEY LINES LEADING TO SHOPPING CENTRE… LEADING TO BRICKS… he yowls, a ritual of self-abasement, the gastric blurt of his syllables and their accompanying non-linguistic belches, grunts and cries urged on by furious atonal strings and itchy-scratchy PVC squeaks of Perez and Posset in full flow. If sometimes the acid seems uncomfortably inwardly-focused (Cut Out The Stomach), elsewhere, the direction of travel is slightly clearer. Heritage Graffiti sets up a knock-kneed groove for Yol’s anti-construction creed, while in Expensive Taps he explains BUYING EXPENSIVE TAPS STOPS POLICE BRUTALITY, APPARENTLY… and cries out against the UNSPOKEN PROMISE OF THE SUNDAY SUPPLEMENT… as what seems like a thousand slurred voices moan and grizzle. Language is a weapon used for exclusion as much as emancipation, deployed by those who should know better – but here Yol turns that weapon back on those use it to shore up the myth of our consumer culture and hide its attendant inequalities. Nicely played, chaps.
Neck Vs. Throat Live was recorded at the Culver-organised Tusk Festival fringe (‘Dark Tusk’) back in October. Posset-less on this occasion, Perez and Yol still manage to rustle up an unholy racket. I think this event was the first time the duo had played together in the same room (previous Neck Vs. Throat recordings being assembled via email or file transfer), but Yol’s early eruption: WALKING INTO TOWN ON PAVEMENT OF SMOKE DAMAGED LUNGS is a signal that this ain’t gonna be an easy afternoon jam. There is, however, a vein of bleak surrealism in the texts featured, which lightens the mood somewhat. BADLY TUNED ORCHESTRA OF TATTOO GUNS he groans a bit later, before giving some attention to his panoply of clattery objects for a few minutes of aggressive scraping. Through all this, Perez wrenches jagged, asymmetric shapes from his acoustic guitar, the pared down format of this show an opportunity to cast his post-Bailey improv styles in a clearer light. There’s a great section at about nine minutes in, where Perez abandons the free improv intervals for a frantic strum, almost like a hyperspeed drum machine in its garbled, stuttering percussiveness, before laying down a series of flamenco-style flourishes that cut through his partner’s cacophony like a buzzsaw through a garbage heap. The set comes to an exhausted halt after about 15 minutes, but I don’t think anyone could argue with the intensity and aggression of the performance. Such anger. Such energy.