. issue VIII : i .

by barathron

. artist : facialmess / mutwawa .
. album : the mutwawa mess-ups .
. year : 2013 .
. label : chaotic noise .
. grade : a .


A convoluted collaboration between Richmond’s Mutwawa and Tokyo’s Facialmess, The Mutwawa Mess-Ups is uncompromised experimental noise, transcendent and yet concretely foreign, displaced into a primal category of vigilance, inelegance, menace, and malcontent. Mutwawa defines their music as “dance floor sacrifices” — invoking that medieval Mesoamerican and Andean grand-civilization grandeur, prosperity and unearthly slaughter — and it’s the perfect comparison. They are a shamanistic guide along bone-white sacbeob to and through the tonotopic maps of plunge pools deep, marrow, fire pits and the stingray spines of the Andes. Facialmess’ ‘mess up’ of Mutwawa’s recordings is careful, inveigling and true — he wears Mutwawa’s skin in an act of dedication. “Lamashtu Pazuzu Overdose” contains sparse, stately clatters, shrieking walls, and quiquiztli human whistles that possess and impel. “Mayan Mutations Damage” is soft and preparatory, all feathery regalia, sisal, cinnabar, cotton and honey, stone cold as jaguar teeth and lithe as the fluttery slither of a feathered serpent. And “Necro Zulu Death Blow” is vivid mortuary ritualism, contested and weirdly content with its barrage of sound and ululating groans. Mess-Ups operates on levels both sunken and aloft; humid, green, opulent and overgrown, it’s a tantalizing, haunted album. Highly recommended.

by Brittany Tracy