steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Various Artists

"Swallowed By Machinery Volume 3" CD

Fort Hazel

Genres: diy, experimental pop, experimental

Fort Hazel
1400 Hill Rd.
Boise, ID 83702

Oct 28 - Nov 3 2002

Fort Hazel's Swallowed By Machinery compilations are home-produced, DIY song collections that always come in numbered editions, with each copy being crafted differently from the others. My copy came with magazine cut outs and neon orange tape glued to it. It's one of the few CD covers that I'm proud to show off to my friends.

The music, meanwhile, is recorded in a similar style, with an impeccable independent ethic and some of the most interesting melodies I've ever paid witness to. Perhaps the most recognizable band here is Deerhoof, who contribute a neat little mutated pop tune called "I Hear an Echo." It has a very jam-esque feeling, and is a surprisingly solid listen, despite its bizarre structure. Lowbelly also offer a wonderful piece, an instrumental strings composition with a bit of an Oriental influence - it certainly adds diversity. Then there's Zann, from Germany, who tear things up with a thrashy death metal track with some monster riffs, and Encompass and Stalemate, who contribute North American-bred freak metal.

But that's not the least of it. The Lights' "I'm a Dangerous Snake" is a neat, early-90s-esque indie rock track, and Fusaine's "Pferd Musik" is a similar, yet more pop-based effort. Plus there are the numerous electronic and experimental contributions, including ENE's bizarre "crawly wrongside", The Band From Bloody Elle's sound-art piece "Go Der," and the Department of Experimental Health's elektro-impaled "Bomb The USA."

And then, of course, there are the more straightforward tracks. G America's "World's Worst Kept Secret," for example, is an offbeat, yet restrained pop song with a great sound to it. It combines that offbeat DIY feel with the elements of normal pop songwriting - to great effect. And Tempus Fugit bring in the longest track (over seven minutes!) with "le trajet," an interesting piece filled with drones and noises.

So I didn't have the time to mention all of the seventeen wonderful bands on this album, sue me. But hopefully you'll snatch yourself a copy and listen to them yourself before all 1000 are sold. Hear me say it, folks: the Swallowed By Machinery series - especially this volume - is essential for all weirdo DIY fans out there.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 17 tracks; distributed by the label; released 2002]