catalog number: imprec104
release date: August 22, 2006
Swamp noise drone. Feedback is layered like mud on the carcass of song structure. Robert uses primitive cassette manipulation as well as digital processing to thicken the sound into a swamp. Think Credence Clearwater Revival without the one chord they knew. On three of the songs, Pete uses his analog reel-to-reel wall-of-sound processing apparatus. Longjaw Mudsuckers was inspired by a mid-eighties cassette where Merzbow mixed John Hudak’s nature sounds into a screaming mass of sonic debris. Robert recorded a stream after the huge New Year’s Day storm and Pete plugged it into his system, making it sound at times like a stream, an ocean, and robots whispering mechanical secrets.
This CD contains some of the first recordings of Tom Carter’s circuit bending. Individual attributes of Gabe Mindel’s guitar roar, Tom Carter’s ebow laptop whirl, and Horton’s clanky homemades merge into the mud stew. Driving the swirl are samples of boogie woogie piano, riffs from the session, and pounding drums of guests Michael Donnelly and Doug “Moonshine” Jin. The last number, SWEET, conjures the bar room sound of Kansas City, 1920, but recorded inside a thermonuclear reactor. The sounds created are so raw and tormented it’s hard to believe they were having a good time. Must have something to do with the times, the war and the general vacuity of that season’s holidays.
How did these recordings happen? During the torrential rains of December 2005, caused by global warming, Robert Horton invited Tom Carter, Gabe and Pete of the Yellow Swans, and Glenn Donaldson up the hill to his home in El Cerrito for food, drink, and music-making. As it turned out, Pete and Glenn couldn’t make it, so Gabe, Tom, and Robert vibrated the peaceful El Cerrito neighborhood to mud. We had beer, wine and much feedback. The turbulence of the sounds matched the late December weather. The following week when Pete came over to overdub his sounds, Robert had found an article on mudsuckers in the Berkeley Daily Planet. The headline was “Mudsuckers may be ugly, but they have value.” A band was born.
A mudsucker is a fish that’s mostly a mouth, which spends its whole life on one patch of mudflat. Scientists use these fish to monitor carcinogens, endocrine disrupters, and other toxic chemicals in coastal waters. The group’s name as well as some of the song titles were taken from this article. The second song, Here Come the Mud Dragons was a phrase spoken by three kids splashing in the mud in a local park. Another song Electric Sunflower, was named by Glenn Donaldson in an email explaining why he couldn’t be at the session.