Released in mid-December 2019, ORGANS is an improvisational experiment of sorts, a loose collective of musicians curated by Ian Pearce (Comply or Die, Minnows, Bad Dates etc.) to redress the situation of having passed through several bands that left no recorded footprint. Variously from Belfast, Dublin and Sheffield, Organs is a brave endeavour given the mystery mental block so many musicians have when it comes to self-initiation and proactivity, but it’s a reasonably safe assumption that these ranks were handpicked with this in mind – otherwise the idea is a disaster before a note is ever played.
This session was recorded in March 2019 at Start Together, Belfast in “One take, no overdubs, no rehearsals” – Like all blind artistic endeavours, equal parts talent, confidence, thick skin, bluff and delusion are required to produce results, the later being a particular necessity to banish naysaying and negatively pragmatic voices in heads as record mode is engaged.
The self-titled ORGANS is presented as one 73 minute piece broken into two lengthy sections of a jam session and initially somewhat of an indigestible prospect – any sane first thoughts scream “do I really have to listen to 73 minutes of guff made up on the spot?”…
Utilitarian titles are simply the track durations, serving every basic purpose they ever need to, but not quite infusing the overall presentation with the added intrigue of something oddly conceptual, willfully obscure or totally random.
34:03 slow-fades into existence with various flavours of psychedelic guitar, keyboard flourishes and miscellaneous jabberwocky set to a solid fixed backbeat and a big bass growl. This all gradually unfolds, working its way through progressive layers of riffed grooves and feedback, kaleidoscopic curls and decals of noise – a fine opening.
The first section comes to its natural conclusion just after the 13-minute mark. It seems like a logical place to splice proceedings and call it a track but for whatever reason, the intermittent feelers noodle around for the seed of whatever’s next, eventually breaking into something big, blunt and slow. There is much of auricular worth to absorb over this next 20 minute span (especially where less is more toward the track’s conclusion) but the dynamic eventually feels like a cycle of repetition in search of structure and is not quite the success of the first section – For whatever reason, certain ideas simply function well in free meander while others aren’t as workable straight off the coal face.
The distinct freeform in the first 4 minutes of 38:57 is particularly fruitful and could have been milked for twice its length. Everything soon finds itself sitting into a simple but effective dynamic and this sets the framework for much of the track, the later half of which finds a lot of space within the delivery and is undoubtedly more engaging for it.
Packaged in a suitably functional grey card envelope with an ambiguous graphic of 2 hands in water glued to the front, ORGANS is clearly the work of musicians with roots in a DIY/punk background (right down to the hand numbering and photocopy insert). The group has embraced what many would consider a haphazard approach to music and propagated some compelling results. Raw insofar as there are no fancy production frills and the recording is simply beaten into shape as a representation of this session, perhaps there’s a case to be made that if it can be created on the hoof then it can be produced/dubbed on the hoof as an extra dimension – Constant playing by all parties is not always the most striking element here.
And it will be interesting to see how this all works in front of a live audience. Apparently the group is commencing live activity in March 2020 – whether this will consist of a loose version of what is here or other material fabricated on the spot is anyone’s guess – but the idea of watching a band rehearse on stage will be divisive… curious to some and reprehensible to others.
ORGANS first experiment is often a worthy one, and while I don’t think that perfection was necessarily a high priority, a 73 minute director’s cut of recorded meander deemed worthy of release can always be whittled down into a concise and superior 45-50 minute listen.