Dylan Carlson is back! - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #126

Drcarlsonalbion sells his luddite membership.
With a cassette and a seven inch and a buncha CDRs I watched him burn personally, Earth’s Dylan Carlson is back to transcendent musical flamethrowers phased to ‘shock’ and pointed off the stage and out into the crowd, this time sans the ever-changing Earth cadre and going it alone on a comprehensive UK tour supported by Hackney Lass (in absentia) and Teta Colamonaco providing lyrics for his mesmerising post-Sabbath Assembly Restored to One fairysongs and Roro (Rojier Smal) on ethereal drum-shaman duty. They dropped into Edinburgh at the start of October to keep a basement full of freaks happy. Thankyou for coming to Edinburgh, thankyou, thankyou thankyou. And thank you Edinburgh for giving them such a loving send-off, Carlson especially was treated like a reverential all-purpose rock-god and had to pose for umpteen photos and give autographs behind the merch stand which is exactly the humoured quiet rock stardom we ought to celebrate. It was tight and personal and in a little back-street pub and short, nothing like the previous incantation at the Caves, vast inner monolith structures which lent the much more uptight Angels of Darkness Demons of Light Earth songs almost solar gravity. His new ensemble and first major non-Earth related biz-nez is an ensemble of underground high-talents preparing ethereal fairy songs, and by the guitar tone alone, let the papers read and the church bells sing, Dylan Carlson is back.

So much of appreciation for works of art, that symbiosis more than just appreciation where you vibe to the same tuning fork shake the record’s hipping you too, comes from encountering them at the right age, or mindset. Earth 2: Special Low Frequency Version is my fave Earth album because it’s a young man’s album. I suspect I’ll start to get even more into Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Skull-era Earth once I start to be as old as Dylan was when he put that together, or at least, get to the same place. With drcarlsonalbion and the Hackney Lass he’s back on more rhythmic turf. He’s playing folk songs much more than the electric Gregorian chanting purveyed by latterday Earth, and for that, I thrust upwards my thumb. He seems to be doing something he really loves too, so if nothing else, this is good for Dylan.

Knee Spasm, fuck your rights of way, this land is my land.
Evening of pissing rain and autumnal ruminations in the trench sub-basement attracts all the same creatures, crawling and scrabbling and mostly alone it has to be said (I see we, uh, meet again, hmmm) assemble for a two-act night. Opening is the spontaneous and sinuous do-wop duo of Knee Spasm; with double bass (how do you get that under your chin?/do you wish you’d taken up the harmonica?) and acapella rabble-rousing c/o staple vocal alt talent Wounded Knee in a stirring and joyous performance. Hyperpoliticised oldies (and newies) drift by effortlessly, and the assembled hordes, here for something a lot harder, go with Knee Spasm’s superb deeply rural sound and I’m promised more gigs are in the pipe (this was their first). Keep it tuned in, Edinburgh heads, for more do-wop nonsense and protest and jokes about double bass.
Slaying dragons, Dylan Carlson, Teta Colamonaco and Roro communing with the fairies.

The other half of drcarlsonalbion and the Hackney Lass is in absentia at this show, so Carlson sells his luddite membership card by summoning Hackney Lass from a laptop, along with field recordings and gives furious (by his standards, blistering) electric accompaniment with a finely honed guitar tone that is at once peaceful and abrasive. Within the space of a song I realise, Dylan is back, full badassedness has been attained. I’ve not been able to listen to old Earth without meditating that that sort of meditative genius, transcendent is beyond Dylan now, he’s moving in other directions, I thought. No sir-ee, he’s right on track and back to pulling the whole thing together and apart. The righteous champion emerging from the show, and the wraithlike apparition behind the microphone is Teta Colamonaco, she owns the stage so thoroughly and her presence is so entire that even the otherworldly percussion manifestations of Roro can’t compete. Her vocals are by turns beautiful and lilting with a fair-maiden innocence and fairytale power. The rock-inflected fairysongs and old historical musical curios dredged up from the murky mire of forgotten history hark back, including an electric gee-tar interpretation of a classical lute piece an a cover of Carlson’s personal favourite song (‘ever’). Every time I see Carlson, even when he’s with Earth and playing songs I don’t much care for, he always manages to shake the earth slightly on its axis; to rumble the place an lend a slightly skewed view of the world. Look askance. It imposes too a rhythm on your life, a Carlson show (as Earth or as anything else) which is not the rhythm I have in my life. In Carlson’s now more distinguished and knowledgeable world, time is taken. Carlson’s new cohort are definitely to be watched, and to be caught if you can grab them. Spare a piece of your time to follow up Leith political refusenik do-wop Knee Spasm too.
For all Carlson shit, head to his wordpress (go Blogger)
And head to Wounded Knee's bandcamp, where you'll get all his stuff.

Written under duress by Steven. Photos also under duress by Steven.

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