STRIBORG – Mysterious Semblance CD
I was given this by a friend a couple of days ago. I don’t believe I’ve ever written about Striborg in the pages of this blog, though I did rattle on about his music in the comments box over at Agony Shorthand a few months back in relation to Johan Kugelberg’s listing of Great Primitive Shit Music in Ugly Things magazine. I think my mentioning of Striborg was met with a stunned (or possibly bored) silence and the topic was quickly changed. Now I’ll discuss him (Striborg is one person: Sin Nanna!) in perhaps a little more depth.
Or maybe not… you can go here to a WFMU blog for a brief spiel on the man instead. Mysterious Semblance is his new album, and it’s a scorcher. Friends of mine will be surprised by that last comment, since I’m often heard deriding the music of Striborg as the most ridiculous, incompetent and musically absurd load of mess this country has spewed up in recent years, but given the current conservative musical climate of this land, I’ll also be the first person to applaud the sheer, unwielding strangeness of the man and his universe. After all, he is The King Of Tasmanian Black Metal. You know and I know that someone had to take that crown, but I’m glad it’s him.
More than anything, Striborg proves that the genre now known as “Black Metal” actually encompasses a myriad of musical styles, the term BM really denoting a certain aesthetic of the music as opposed to any kind of straightjacketed sound. Naturally, when it comes to BM, I like the weird shit, and that ol’ cat Sin Nanna is about as weird as you get. A one-man unit where Sin (do I call him that? Mr. Nanna?) plays all the instruments, or at least tries to (you really gotta hear the guy try to play drums, it’s a killer), I will now jump out on a limb and hail Striborg as the Hasil Adkins of Black Metal.
The guitar once again sounds more like a wall of radio static than a six-stringed instrument; the bass is a rarely plonked beast setting the mood when necessary; the eerie keyboards make some excellent, creepy and atmospheric sound scapes, much like Burzum’s earlier work; barely decipherable vocals come to and fro throughout, this time awashed in a cake of distortion; and most of all, those drums, man, the drums: imagine cardboard boxes being hit with chopsticks – in and out of time – and you’re thinking Striborg.
None other than Oren Ambarchi (yeah, that guy) hailed Striborg as “pure Australian genius” to myself about six months back. I didn’t believe him. Actually, I still don’t. Striborg is not genius or anywhere near it, but it’s real good stuff. More well-adjusted types (which means 99.999% of the population) would no doubt think such a statement to be laughable, especially if they heard the actual music of Striborg, and you know what? They’re probably right. This stuff is laughable and idiotic, but it’s also a lot of fun. Seriously, one of the “better” Australian albums I’ll hear this year. Striborg? File next to early Half Japanese and Meat Puppets, Shaggs, Thug, Amon Duul, etc. under the banner of Primitive Shit Music.
ENDNOTE: This story is apparently “confirmed” (I consider the source reliable): Sin Nanna, AKA Striborg, was seen in a certain book/CD store in the city last week. He revealed his identity to the manager, engaged in a pleasant conversation and then slipped forth the fact that he was in town, not to attend the What Is Music? Festival, but in fact to see The Goodies! What was he wearing? A Striborg t-shirt and corpsepaint. Yep, it’s the middle of the day in sunny Melbourne, and the guy was stalking the streets of the city donning a t-shirt of his own band and a full face of corpsepaint. If it’s true, I tip my hat.
Wanna buy some Striborg? Type in the name to Google (or Yahoo or whatever) and check the entries: for a backwoods-dwelling guy from the forests of Tasmania, he really gets his music out there. Uh, like those ad guys say, Watch This Space.