Words: Dominic Valvona
Grey Guides ‘Beast Mask Supremacist’
Released through Crow Versus Crow, 21st October 2016
Feel that the true spirit of Halloween has been lost in the overload of candy-coated commercialism? Remember when it was the sole preserve of those who wished to dance with the daemonic and communicate with those beyond our world? Well as luck would have it, just in time for the witching hour, disturbing tape manipulators the Grey Guides have just released their latest harrowing transmissions from the gates of hell, Beast Mask Supremacist.
A hive of activity, the multidisciplinary label Crow Versus Crow label that plays host to Lynden St. John and Matt Hurricane Salt‘s miasma of séance summoning lost creatures from purgatory and caustic grey – not white – noise includes a community radio show, podcast and a limited edition press. Tuned into the Fortean Times this duo’s reification cacophony of subliminal and subconscious entities – messages from the damned and inter-dimensional – is a most unnerving soundtrack. Imbued in part by early Throbbing Gristle, Blood Stereo, and of course the archdeacon of strange macabre and strung-out visions, William Burroughs, Beast Mask Supremacist is an imaginary (we hope) field recording expedition beyond the ether. Whether they got out alive remains questionable; the found remnants sounding like a battle between complete immersion and total destruction.
Giving at least some abstract clue and steer the track titles offer a wild description of what the duo are wrestling with. ‘Millipede In A Doll’s House’ for example does sound to some degree like a maddening legion of killer scuttling arthropods swirling around in a vortex. And the poor souls consumed in the flames of ‘Just Burned Down A Care Home’ attempt to haunt their pyromaniac tormentor. ‘Van Hoogstraten’s Big Payback: Gorton Poltergeist Revisited’ is a strange one (even by the Grey Guides standards), counterpoints the notorious real estate magnate who was made most infamous in the early noughties, accused of paying for the murder of a business associate in the late 60s (though sentenced to a ten-year stretch, his conviction was overturned on appeal), and the famous Manchester poltergeist incident of the 90s, as featured on the ridiculous Ghosthunters series, to a scrabbling backing of tape fuckery and bestial violence. The only obvious signs of the process, before the obstructive veil of horror transforms each collage, is found on the bastardize twin cover moiety, ‘Yoo Doo Rite/Mr. Pharmacyst’. Lynden and Hurricane punning and riffing on both Can’s original Monster Movie free-rock Hendrix trip and the garage punk standard add a pinch of dark arts to their source material.
Following on from previous macabre rituals and drone led tape collages CDRs Back To Mucus and Songs for Gruppen Aleph-Aleph, the Grey Guides inaugural release on Crow Versus Crow is another limited edition paranormal mindfuck soundtrack of equal horror.
The professionally-dubbed cassette version of this release, available as a limited edition of 50 hand-numbered copies, comes with art work by the label, full-colour printed on an extended 4 panel J-card, housed in a clear plastic shell, but you will also be able to download it form bandcamp (see below).