Sunday, August 26
a long losing battle with eloquence and intimance/ once i was not: the music of dredd foole
"The terms used for experimental folk music in recent years-- "free folk," "psych folk," "freak folk"-- have been stretched so thin, they've lost a lot of their meaning. But one, "New Weird America," has held some water. That's because when David Keenan coined the phrase in the August 2003 issue of The Wire, he meant it less as a style than a region-- a specific collective of Northeastern artists centered around the Brattleboro Free Folk Festival in Vermont. Getting even more specific, Keenan noted that most of this group were influenced by one particular record: Dredd Foole's 1994 classic In Quest of Tense." - Marc Masters
Dredd Foole aka Dan Ireton has been making increasingly singular noises at the periphery of American music since the late 1960s. His recorded output starts with the furious punk energy of his early 80s band, Dredd Foole and the Din, who released two albums featuring members of Mission of Burma and Volcano Suns. Those records - fierce electric cathartic exorcisms driven along by Ireton's shouts, screams and gurgles - still stand out as extremes of the US post punk period, but the subsequent album, In Quest of Tense, released more than a decade later, is the one that Foole is most remembered for now. Never a big seller, but an album as dense in influence as it is in sound, Tense is a cloudy thicket of reverb, extended vocal techniques played for extended periods, long drifting and deeply emotional improvised song structures built from invisible and often inscrutable sources. It wasn't awfully like anything before it - if pushed you could cite the emotional cathartic explorations of Jandek, the vocal explorations of Tim Buckley or Simon Finn along with a lot of swirling psychedelic murk. At the time, it fell into something of a hole, but the people who picked up on it obviously kept it, because by the early 2000s Foole was one of the central figures of what has become know - as Masters cites above - as the New Weird America - a form combining explorations of sound that are decidedly experimental with elements of Americana and an outdoors/ ritualistic focus.
Posted by staticmansion at 4:35 AM