Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Controlled Bleeding - “Larva Lumps and Baby Bumps” 2xCD

Explosive new work from reformed experimental group

After some years of sporadic activity and the unexpected deaths of primary members Chris Moriarty and Joe Papa, this double-length album marks a serious return for Paul Lemos’ venerable noise-prog-jazz-ambient-dub behemoth. Through the years, Controlled Bleeding have provided a rather schizophrenic mix of genres, from outright power electronics to industrial dance to ambient to sacred music hybrids. Now, with new members, the band has found a focus on a wild out-jazz, prog-rock, post-rock madness that refuses to “fit” anywhere comfortably, but it sounds just amazing.

Opening with the frenzied prog-rock intensity of “Driving Through Darkness”, the album leans in for a darker, funky post-punk grind in “Carving Song”, which will more than please fans of “Filth”-era SWANS a bit. “Trawler’s Return” is a feverish jazz-thrash attack that careens headfirst into a Lemos guitar shredding, set to a pace that would please any classic punk rocker. “As Evening Fades” is a sweet and mellow ambient dub piece, leading into the 22-minute closer, “The Perks Of Being A Perv”, which ends the first album in a tour-de-force of pounding post-industrial rhythms lashed alongside Lemos’ maniacal guitar. Call this one more jazz-prog-thrash, every bit as intense as any metal could hope to be. The track evolves/devolves into pounding experimental improv noise, a sort of harkening back to the band's famous days as one of America's premier industrial noise groups.

The second disc is “The Bisi Sessions”, recorded live in the studio back in 2011 with legendary NYC producer Martin Bisi (known for his work with SWANS, Sonic Youth, Live Skull, and tons more). These 7 tracks (well, 8, as there's an unlisted bonus cut) are an ideal accompaniment alongside the initial “Larva Lumps” disc — weird, complex rhythms and genre-busting arrangements all centered around the remarkable guitar chops of Lemos himself. Approaching a kind of hyper speed-core on most cuts, Controlled Bleeding’s potent musical ramblings (all instrumental here aside from a rather pop-oriented "Trang's Song", with sweet vocals from longtime collaborator Trang) are both befuddling and somehow invigorating. 

Music doesn’t need to belong to any category or genre, and Paul Lemos and company have spent many years proving that great music comes, rightly, from far outside the mainstream. Cheers, Paul, and here’s to many more releases and reissues.