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Gang Wizard - North Cali Spring 2005

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Artist: Gang Wizard

Album: North Cali Spring 2005

Label: Green Tape

Review date: Apr. 6, 2006

The anarcho-collective Gang Wizard have emitted a large and unwieldy catalog of audio chaos, with this CD-R the latest, documenting some live actions from last spring. The release offers four tracks, though one is simply an intro so there are three legit tracks, from 15to 22 minutes in length. Being live recordings, the sound quality is naturally variable, but for the most part it's adequate.

The exception is the first piece's 22 minutes of groan, squeal and scream recorded at the Hemlock in San Francisco. It's all so murky that there's not really much energy translated to the recording. It was likely more immediate and engaging in person, but it's honestly not much to listen to on CD-R: despite the apparent chaos, the sound inevitably fades into the background.

The second piece is a brief intro, leading into tracks three and four, both recorded live at the radio station KDVS in Davis, California. The first part is 19 minutes of feedback and shouting, formless yet possessed of some appreciable energy. The moments where things break down into quieter blab indicate that the sextet were listening to each other; it's not entirely a free-for-all. This piece has some pretty heavy nightmares, fraught with crunch, pummel and sizzle, but one of the best moments is about halfway through when an echoing vocal cries out over and over, chased by rattling percussion and humming noises.

The final track, part two of the KDVS live set, starts with a surprisingly calm guitar strum that grows into a slow, plodding stumble not unlike Sunburned Hand of the Man. It begins to build, but alas, I couldn't follow it any further. My copy cracked at some point on its way to me, but I must admit that the clicking and skipping of my CD player was not entirely out of place mixed with Gang Wizard's creeping sprawl. Once it refused to play any further, though, I just started again from the beginning.

By Mason Jones

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