A Journal Of The Dark Arts
Artist: Ghetto Hexes.
Personnel: Gavin, Max
Label: self-released (bandcamp)
Release Date: 12.7.13
File Under: electro-soul//ghetto witchcraft
It is easy to get lost in an infinite sea of possibilities. It’s like standing in the center of a labyrinth, with 1,001 radial pathways; you stand, frozen in indecision. Recording yr first record can be like this, endlessly mixing, remixing, mastering, remastering, fucking with the arrangements, ad nauseam, until you are old and grizzled as a spruce tree, with nothing to show for it.
This is triply true in the world of electronic music. It is tempting to spend hours building custom drum racks, researching plug-ins, layering effects…what was designed to bolster our creativity instead becomes a prison. Eventually, you’ve got to break out. You’ve just got to act.
To counteract the overwhelming possibilities, Portland’s Ghetto Hexes, an avant-garde electro duo of Gavin Miller and Max (whose last name i do not know) decided to record a hasty debut, with live electronics laid straight to tape. This is how they put it:
These songs will soon be on an album. The idea was to try something electronically processed, free of a laptop or any thing that could/would be copy and pasted. Think of this as writing in pen.
I hope all you people that listen to this tape find someone else to git sticky and slippery with.
released 07 December 2013
We’re glad they did, as this is exactly the kind of thing we’re all about; rough-hewn, noisy electronic music, sweat- and trance-inducing in equal measure. Gavin Miller (at least i think it’s Gavin) plays the role of High Priest and Master Of Ceremonies, sexy soulful swagger that recalls Genesis P-Orridge, Prince & Alan Vega, over a skeletal substratum of dirty beats and distorted bass.
It’s tempting to get all philosophical about the future of electronic music, about the need for something tangible, something real to relate to and the elusive natural of that quality known as SOUL . These are topics we talk about often, and feel strongly about, but Bury My Heart//At Wounded Knee flies in the face of such stuffy academia. This music parties, it bleeds and rages. It sounds like knuckles torn on brick. It smells like sweat, chalk and electricity.
Tastemakers (more like tastefakers) will tell you that Witch House is dead and gone, and you are irrevocably backwards and square for liking such a trend. “That’s Over!” “That’s so over!” They would have you believe that we should all merrily march back to the shopping malls, to the Sam Goody’s and Mrs. Fields’, as we succumb to the inevitability that we all should be listening to hyperclean Pop music, that we all liked R. Kelly and Britney Spears all along, white teeth and white shirts have triumphed in the end, so get over yr adolescent rebellion and CoNfOrM.
Fuck. That. Shit.
This is our fucking revolution, and we are not going anywhere. This is music by mutants, for mutants, for the painfully skinny and possibly dangerous. Ghetto Hexes describe themselves as “three (although i only count two) impoverished magicians trying to make a living applying it to music.” What is magick, if not a war against rationality and common sense? We breed in the dark, because the dark is full of possibilities.
Culture has always been made in dingy basements and rundown cafes, by poor people entertaining themselves, dreaming of a better life, until the wealthy swoop along and buy it from us, and we can’t afford to go anymore. This is music for the faithful. Get thee to thy knees.
Full disclosure: Ghetto Hexes are some friends of ours (although more like acquaintances, distant cousins. Let’s call them new friends), but does that impair our ability to be critical? Hell no! Would we bullshit you?
Here’s the facts (as a matter of opinion):
Bury My Heart could be the soundtrack to a make-out session, but it is unsettling at times, also, like on the lengthy album opener “1/2 Measure”, which sounds like it could be an outtake from Bad Lieutenant.
This may be Ghetto Hexes first album, but it reeks of confidence and swagger. They’re brand new, just getting off the ground, playing small shows around Portland. This is the perfect time to introduce thyself, while it’s still close-knit and intimate.
Bury My Heart//At Wounded Knee is available as a pay-what-you-like download, and there’s a limited number of physical tapes, so act fast. It’s bound to become a collector’s item.