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6 September 2017

Ici La Bas (Black Noise)

A prized possession here, Ici La Bas would be normally filed under H for the Homosexuals, or maybe a bit deeper down in the Is for 'Les Incroyables' (credited as the producer), but I'm going with the Discogs.com hierarchy here – they have it as a self-titled release by the artist Ici La Bas (their only release, of course).  All six of these tracks appear on the indispensible first disc of the Homosexuals Astral Glamour compilation, though most are pushed towards the ass-end of the sequence. And this is a prime slice of the experimental side of these guys, with 'Regard Omission', 'Galore Galore' and 'Cause A Commotion' all experiments in reverbed guitars and other studio assemblages. I mean, it's all studio assemblages - 'Nippon Airways' is a dub song, getting away with it in the way that so many UK artists of the late 70s were able to do. The middle cuts from each side are the most coherent songs; I've listened to 'The Total Drop' so many times that it feels like a part of my own heartbeat, though it's a bouncy and bubblegummy entry for the Homosexuals canon and probably not one many others adores as much as I do. 'Flying' is a bit more on the jagged, sneering side of things but it's propelled with a beautiful momentum. In many ways, the genius of this broken collective only comes together when compiled as a larger body of work. Had I only this 12" to go from, I would find it occasionally brilliant and slightly frustrating, which is of course exactly what the Homosexuals were, but hardly anything to build a religion around. There's no 'Hearts in Exile' or 'False Sentiments' here, but knowing those cuts from the other releases it congeals into something magnificent, work that inspires not just in the mysterious nature of their public identity, but in the music itself, which is timeless and brilliant. Tiger makes it better.

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