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Nat_Roe on 09/28/2009 at 08:00AM

New Additions: Classic Volcano The Bear Albums!


Service sans shirt and shoes.

I ran into this guy today who named his dog Adolphus, which is pretty weird and slightly offensive.  But Volcano The Bear's Aaron Moore is definitely weirder since the bear is a bizarre pet and Volcano is no kind of name for any animal.

I first heard about Volcano The Bear through an old issue of Bananafish, which already billed Volcano The Bear as a prolific, well established band.  At this point, Volcano the Bear is downright legendary, having collaborated and intermixed with dozens of other prominent avant gardists.  Their eclectic, bizarre soundscapes blended experimental with pop long before Animal Collective brought freaky ass folk music to the general public.

Often loosely tied in with the Weird New America movement (despite being from England...), Volcano The Bear exercizes musical sophistication and a vocabulary of extended techniques on par with much more pretentious avant gardists.  Their surreal, Jodorowskian moods made them prime candidates for collaborations with Nurse With Wound's Stephen Stapleton.  After VTB ringleader Aaron Moore came to WFMU for a live broadcast on Daniel Blumin's show last August, the FMA was able to fanagle a whole mess of mp3s from Volcano The Bear and its many sideprojects.  Click here to download a handful of classic Volcano The Bear albums and read below in this post for more information on each of the side projects featured on the FMA.

Alan Courtis is most known as a member of Reynols, whose bizarre conceptual music comes from the mind of Miguel Tomasin, who is handicapped (or freed, depending on how you look at it) by down syndrome.  The present duo proves Courtis' chops as a musician, sometimes evoking John McLaughlin's solos in Mahavishnu orchestra above spacy, jazz-fusion drum beats and wailing violin drones.  It's surprisingly accessible and compelling work from two of modern music's biggest freaks.  Although the feel of the record is very organic, it's actually the result of electronic correspondence from England To Buenos Aires, where Courtis resides.

Dragon or Emperor
A two piece with VTB's Aaron Moore and Stewart Brackley of Black Carrot, Dragon or Emperor occupies a similar terrain as Om, Sea of Tombs and other Sabbath/Melvins-lovin' stoner rockers.  The pentatonic bass jams fall don't lead the listener too far off the beaten trail, but what neither of the musicians are quite able to hide, however, are their weido art-rock backgrounds that are seeping in through the cracks.  Especially odd are the vocals channeled directly from Pere Ubu.  For some reason, people always compare this to Lightning Bolt, but I think that's way too approximate and indicative of the 2004 release date of this album.

Amolvacy is much closer to Volcano The Bear's work, although Aaron Moore had to travel all the way across the pond to New York City to make the project happen.  Beginning in 2005, Amolvacy also features Dave Nuss of No-Neck Blues Band and Laboratory Theatre Company's Sheila Donovan, whose beatnik poetry freakouts and wailings often lead the band of the rhythmic pounding of an uncountable amount of texturally varying instruments.

Songs Of Norway
Songs Of Norway finds the same duo of Dragon Or Emperor (along with one time member of Volcano The Bear, Nick Mott) venturing into much different territory.  Flubbing guitar solos which remind in particular of Mary Halvorson lead a free jazz vibe that seems much more capable of dynamic range than most free jazz ensembles.



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