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Ju Suk Reet Meate - Solo 78 / 79 aka Do Unseen Hands Make you Dumb?

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Artist: Ju Suk Reet Meate

Album: Solo 78 / 79 aka Do Unseen Hands Make you Dumb?

Label: De Stijl

Review date: Jul. 25, 2007

Privately pressed at the end of the '70s, Smegma member Ju Suk Reet Meate’s LP was lost to all but a handful of the early avant mash-up enthusiasts. The CD reissue will undoubtedly garner more listeners this time around, with a readymade audience of bedroom noise-oiks eager to absorb anything from the Smegma collective.

Much like an actual Smegma release, it's pointless to label this record in terms of any strict genre. John Olson’s NOISE CLIFFSNOTES (his term for liner notes) basically confirm this, opting to identify each of the elements/ingredients folded into the mix without necessarily classifying them. That said, Meate’s roots in bluesy rock and roll are more apparent here than on Smegma's recordings, and the early signs of plunderphonics are here, with passages stacked amidst vocal tape experiments and acoustic bass, kneaded together like a string of dough.

This style of loop and layer is mostly impressive in hindsight. This guy was doing it in the late '70s; today’s cassette loop and 4-track stoners aren’t reinventing jack. Solo 78 / 79 makes this style actually seem like a purposeful style as opposed to a hard drive garbage disposal. Meate’s also keeping it a lot cleaner than today's lo-fidelity experimenters; too much material these days comes in a standard dress code of murk and hiss. His interest in a sound world where not everything ends up in a mighty white noise freak-out is a message worth reissuing. While some of the sample material may sit a little on the dated side now, this was raw in '78-'79. Along with the rest of the Smegma collective's work, this record is yet another root of today's noise/free/drone sound, and proof that much of this crowd are merely freewheeling down well-worn paths.

By Scott McKeating

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