Controlled Bleeding – “Knees and Bones” – [Artoffact]
Controlled Bleeding, over 30 albums and nearly four decades, have explored an unbelievable variety of musical styles – from industrial dance to free jazz to dark ambient – but they started out making absolutely fucking devastating harsh noise. Knees and Bones, the band’s first full-length LP released in 1985 by Psychout Productions, is one of the defining records of the power electronics genre. This 2016 re-release (only 500 copies of the original were pressed) from Artoffact collects the original tracks, as well as extra material on to two tasty “swill-coloured” LPs.
The first LP holds the two sidelong tracks, “Knees” and “Bones,” (A/T1 and B/T2) from the original album. Founding member Paul Lemos is joined by Chris Moriarty and Joe Papa (a “three hundred pound scat singing eccentric”). Lemos is on guitar, bass and electronics, Papa and Moriarty are on percussion, everyone provides vocals. Not that you can really make out any of these individual sounds. As Lemos recalls, he hit record and started “smashing shit up, screaming my fucking lungs out.” Sounds of scrap metal, cement mixers, pneumatic drills add to the pummeling chaos. But we get moments of reprieve: creepy chattering, snippets of an aria, ambient lulls. By far the best interruption is when Paul’s roommate busts in bitching about their test the next day and “YOU DON’T GIVE A FLYING FUCK!!” (13 min into A/T1 and start of C1/T3) The obvious comparisons are to Lemos’ contemporaries (and friends) Whitehouse and Ramleh (W. Bennett and G. Mundy are credited in the notes), but what sets Controlled Bleeding apart is their hyper energy – like they just can’t sit still – that is as magnetic as it is terrifying.
The second LP contains bonus material. “Knees Power Mix” (C1/T3) an early, even louder take on “Knees,” “Dry Lung (excerpt)” (C2/T4) is another deafening work from 1985, “Swallowing Scrap Metal Pt. 5.5” (D1/T5) was originally released as the last track on the 1991 album Trial from Lemos and Moriarty’s Skin Chamber project. “Horsemeat Yak Trip,” (D2/T6) recorded in 2008, is a taste of the band’s later work as Breastfed Yak; it sounds like Captain Beefheart obscured by a massive wall of distortion and, well, noise.
Keep digging in our library – the outtakes for this record were collected and released in 1990 on an excellent CD called Plegm Bag Splattered, and Lemos compiled the Dry Lungs series, a definitive collection of work of industrial artists from this era.
FCC on A/T1 and C1/T3 (the roommate)