Posts Tagged ‘Hyperboredom (Vol 1)’

Christopher Nosnibor

2020 has been cack. That’s pretty much a fact. And here we are in December after nine months in varying degrees of lockdown around the globe, and many of us are really starting to feel it now. So what do we need to top off this annum of cack? More cack, of course, courtesy of the prime purveyors – and possibly the sole exponents – of cack-pop, Wevie Stonder.

Founded by Al Boorman in Brighton in 1993, along with Chris Umney, Richard Sothcott, Henry Sargeant, Wevie Stonder’s bio is a combination of tall tales and out-and-out oddness, which pretty much summarises everything they’ve done. Sargeant turned solo and split for Germany, where he’s now massive – or at least Vast – while Boorman operates a ‘music and sound design’ studio called Wevie as his mainline, with a catalogue of adverts and TV credits, spanning Comedy Central, Adidas, Netflix, and even Disney. Hunter S. Thompson said that when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro, and these guys demonstrate that it’s actually possible to go pro without ditching the weird. And make no mistake, they’re way weirder than most.

So this landed with me, and I don’t even know what the fuck it is. It’s a digital file. Is it an album? A podcast? Kinda. A FaceBook post on the Wevie Stonder page announced that ‘While some have been working on a vaccine, Al’s been working on an antidote to 2020 as a whole. To hear the results so far, tune in to the Skam Records live stream’. And so here we have an hour of wild experimentalism – with the emphasis firmly on the mental.

It starts off comparatively sedately with some wibbly synths and some narrative delivered in a prim English accent reminiscent of British 1950s children’s TV shows, but rapidly explodes into a brain-melting collage of all kinds of chaos. Despite the fact I’m personally more than well accustomed to all kinds of

A mere two minutes in, notes are sliding, gliding melting, a sonic equivalent of Dali’s brie-like clocks, before scratches and scrapes collide with mainstream trance and snippets of 80s disco chart hits are cut and spliced with vintage averts and clattering industrial beats. Carpet tile infomercials and grinding techno are glued at completely wrong angles. It’s disorientating, and the juxtaposition of the mundane and the strange creates an experience which is perfectly unheimlich, straddling as it does the familiar and the not-quite familiar just a step or two out of step with one another. It’s this proximity that creates such discomforting dissonance. You almost know where you are with it… but then there are elements which are just so wholly inexplicable.

You begin to feel woozy. You know, you get, that there is no lens into the mind of another person, especially not someone who thinks differently… but what the fuck is this? Suddenly Trout Mask Replica sounds coherent and linear. The thing about Hyperboredom (Vol 1) is just how quickly the scenes cut. It’s dizzying, and often, those cuts aren’t remotely subtle, but as clumsy as they come, calling to mind the primitive collaging of the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu on 1987 and Shag Times.

Daytime YV snippets and wonky jazz collide in a messy mashup. ‘If you get bored of your own boredom, you experience what we call hyperboredom’ a soporific voice explains with almost a yawn. I’m thinking I’m more likely to throw up than suffer from any shade of boredom listening to this.

Whether knowingly or not, Hyperboredom belongs to the cut-up lineage that can be traced back to William Burroughs’ tape experiments of the late 50s and early 60s, and while the anarchic yet quintessentially English leanings may owe more to the Bonzo Dog band, the overall formulation is explicitly around methods of collaging, and the way different source materials play off one another. And in listening to this hour-long cut ‘n’ splice oddity, it’s impossible not to pick out or otherwise listen out for familiar voices and clips, and these in turn trigger recollections and avenues of reminiscence and contemplation, or otherwise the satisfaction of saying to yourself ‘ah, yes, I remember that’ – or frustratingly – aagh, that sounds so familiar, but what is it?’

And ultimately, what is it? It’s everything all at once, and one to explore, however much it might make you dizzy. The forthcoming album looks likely to be a cracker.

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