Having set the bar incredibly high with that Narwal LP (last copies available from us, bub), deepest dredger of the Dutch canalways, Jeroem Vermandere, brings us the second release on his Ongehoord imprint, a crucial document of mesmeric, ganja-steeped, outernational death-jazz and plaintive, plangent DIY shimmer.
Were it not for this very welcome 2018 intervention – the first in a projected trilogy of LPs showcasing the band’s work – Deadline Paranoia would’ve remained an all-legend, no-legacy concern: active in Amsterdam ’86-’88, their tape releases were entirely self-distributed, and their live reputation hinged on a few WHS (dub squat radio) sessions and one guerilla street-corner performance.
Culled from four of those borderline-mythical private press cassettes, everything but the drums on these tracks was home-recorded, and, freed from the time-pressure or prescriptive SANITY of a proper studio, the questing (and perpetually spannered) quartet were evidently able to explore their flipped-out vision to the hilt - and commit themselves fully to the none-more-important business of taking drugs to make music to take drugs to. Each member – with a rotating cast of eight or so guests - would handle four instruments each, among them bass, clarinet, radio, synthesizer, surna and organ, and play off and against post-industrial tape-loops culled from a collective kitty of field recordings and unheimlich drones of mysterious provenance. The results, a strange dreamlike blurring of textures and complex (but always intuitive, grooving) overlaid rhythms, are frequently stunning. Things like Normil Hawaiians, Leven Signs and Flaming Tunes are probably helpful signposts, in terms of dubwise/thrift-store inner flight, but 1/3 is generally a darker and more jaded-sounding (not to mention entirely instrumental) affair.
As the liner notes repeatedly assert, THC was as crucial to Deadline Paranoia as electricity - they would smoke themselves insensible for hours before even picking up their instruments, and I’m sure that isn’t the half of it. Mediocrity tends to be amplified by LOS DROGAS, but so too (up to a point) does genius: and Deadline Paranoia clearly had talent to burn, because far from succumbing to self-satisfied stoner whimsy or builder’s-bum jam-band bollocks, their music – despite its open-ended, patently tripped-out structure – has a controlled, minimalist, very CENTERED quality… alert, sensitive, and sharply focussed.
These mannen weren’t fucking around.