Stefan Jaworzyn - EP1 & EP2He's been missing for a long time (some 17 years or so) but for Stefan Jaworzyn it's been a busy year, for the former Skullflower, Ascension and Descension guitarist. His early bedroom experiments spent cajoling industrial noise from drum machines and synths from the early eighties have recently surfaced on vinyl as Drained of Connotation (on Blackest Ever Black) and CD on Eaten Away By Shadows (on Shock). His reappearance as a synth abuser can be explained away by his writing on the liner notes to Drained of Connotation where he recalls that the "memories of poking around at synths provided the impetus to start recording again".
The first results of these sessions have appeared as a series of long playing 33rpm 12-inches on his own revived Shock Records; the cult label (he operated with Savage Pencil) responsible for Skullflower's blistering Xaman album, as well as a bunch of one-off singles from Coil, Current 93, Nurse With Wound and Sol Invictus, interspersed with singles from Ramleh, Splintered, Cosmonauts Hail Satan and Cul De Sac, and a number of compilations with sporadic sojourns into free jazz with releases from Lol Coxhill, The Blue Humans and Jim Sauter & Don Dietrich & Thurston Moore before becoming home to Jaworzyn's subsequent musical excursions as guitarist in the free jazz noise outfits Ascension and Descension.
Stefan Jaworzyn's return to recording with these two EPs boasts some genuinely challenging and inventive material of analogue experimentation. 'The Fucker', on EP1, is a prime slice of dirty electronic beats. I've seen it referred to as industrial techno and while it's certainly not that it is a noisy fucker of a record. A barrage of rolling juggernaut beats are overlayen with a discordant mash-up of analogue squeaks, squiggles and squelches. Everything is turned-up to the annoyance level. There's really little progression in sound but I suspect that was never the intention. As Jaworzyn's squeezes out an array of unlikely sounds over dirty, brutal beats it acts more as an endurance test. Yet if those sequenced beats were to cut away to leave only the noise you could draw parallels with Jaworzyn's past atonal work. That said, those who have heard the early recordings found on Drained of Connotation and Eaten Away By Shadows could easily detect a lineage that stretches from those homemade recordings to his current 12-inch EPs. The instrumentation may have changed but the motive remains resolutely uncompromising. The flipside, 'Dr Smegmatic', however is an altogether more "restrained" offering. Fluttering, chiming bleeps are chopped-up over looped analogue thumps throwing up moments which sounds like bird calls rendered as rubbery chirps as if caught by a lobotomised Martin Denny trapped in WARP's recording studio. Jaworzyn's new recordings are supremely twisted cutting across genres with a sense of demented glee.
'Bilharzia', from EP2, bustles with analogue rumbles and lurching electronics. A wavering bass tone can be detected underneath, but the entire rhythm is given over to a repetitive click, reminiscent of a locked groove. It's the surface layers that make 'Bilharzia' so exhilarating though, as it passes over, picking up on harsh filters and processed treatments. There's a real feel of industrial greyness here, that's like a meeting of minds between the early crude experiments of Boyd Rice as NON with the abstract beats of techno. I love it. The flipside is just as remarkable. For a moment when I heard the warm, blissful sounds of the aptly titled 'Make A Joyful Sound' I thought I'd put on a record on by Spacemen 3 or Jesu or something. Just before I got up to check, monolithic pummelling rhythms kicked in and I knew it was probably the right one. With its layers of fizzing harmonious distortion 'Make A Joyful Sound' is probably the most, uh, melodic thing Stefan Jaworzyn has ever put his name to - or maybe he hasn't. None of these EP's carry his name only the Shock name, title and catalogue number. This is a great and unexpected sojourn into calmer realms for Jaworzyn, who is renowned musically for his hard-asssed outpourings. And personally he's the kind of guy, who really doesn't give a fuck what you think.
He quit Skullflower on the back of Xaxman when people were just waking up to their genius squall; was on the wrong end of a bitter tirade of vitriol from the oh-so open-minded Sonic Youth audience when Descension supported them in London many years ago. Jaworzyn is quite a complex stubborn character. He runs a label but doesn't care for promotion, hates the internet, despises vinyl but puts out his music on vinyl. He doesn't care though. I don't either. Over the past few months his early material has been unearthed and released, and on the back of it a whole bunch of vital new releases have materialised which just goes to prove that you can't keep a good man down. You can seek these out from online outlets but buying direct does pay dividends. For more information go to Shock Records on soundcloud or buy from Discogs