pumice s/t 10", doubt04

3 tracks: Fool fool fool moon / Head high tackle / The screaming heap – 20:10

France: €13 postpaid / Europe: €14.50 postpaid / World: €15.50 postpaid.

samples

Listen to an extract from Fool fool fool moon (MP3, 4:55)

info

Some time ago, I got a message from Stefan Neville about this record: "I been workin on some recording for you. some dumb punk slop and some tape loop soup and a pretty love song." I couldn't describe the record better. It's maybe the end of an era for Pumice with his 8 track pushed to its maximum limits and dying soon after these recordings were finished. So the result is maybe one of the noisier Pumice records to date... with a pretty love song. Recorded in june 2009 in Sandringham, Auckland, NZ. And mixed in january 2010 at Mainz.

Black vinyl packed in black paper silkscreened by Cotoreich, with 2 postcards. Artwork by Stefan Neville. Mastering by Aigle noir. Limited to 500 copies.

Il y a quelque temps, j'ai eu un email de Stefan Neville à propos de ce disque : "I been workin on some recording for you. some dumb punk slop and some tape loop soup and a pretty love song." Je ne pourrais pas décrire le disque d'une meilleure manière. Cet enregistrement marque sans doute la fin d'une période pour Pumice puisque son vieux 8-pistes après avoir été poussé à ses limites maximums a fini par rendre l'âme peu de temps après que ces morceaux ne soient terminés. Le résultat est un disque parmi les plus bruyant de sa discographie… avec une merveilleuse chanson d'amour. Enregistré en juin 2009 à Sandringham, Auckland, Nouvelle Zélande et mixé en janvier 2010 à Mainz.

Format 10 pouces ("25 cm") en vinyle noir dans du papier noir sérigraphie par Cotoreich avec 2 cartes postales. Artwork par Stefan Neville. Mastering par Aigle noir. Limité à 500 copies.

reviews

Vital Weekly

The french always seem to think that their language is a world language, and then they tend to forget to translate their press texts. Excuse my frans, but I can't read it. Pumice, I know, are from New Zealand and are a lo-fi noise rock band, or rock noise band. They open up with a heavy noise piece, followed by a strum along on guitar, which sounds also pretty distorted - but that might be the pressing of the record. On the other side there is just one long piece of drone rock and distorted voice, with some slow drums banging about. Nice, and indeed very much a product of kiwi land, but unfortunately not entirely my cup of tea. (FdW)

Forest Gospel

How can I do proper justice to the man, Stefan Neville, and his exceptionally illustrious back catalog under the Pumice guise? It’s been a pretty pitch-perfect ride thus far, I must admit (though, often the pitch has been bent, mangled, twisted, screwed, chopped, tossed and burnt to a fine crisp in the process). Under the Pumice moniker, I would go so far as to say that the Neville is the gold standard for lo-fi music – no one does it better. So, it is both a glorious and a bit depressing that on this most recent Pumice 10” are the last recordings Mr. Neville recorded on his kingly 8-track. That being said, this release puts the classic genius of Pumice on glorious display. Side one offers us on “Fool fool fool moon,” ten minutes of grueling, shloptastic, punk-drone muck at a disjointed, grin-inducingly-lethargic pace, Neville’s kiwi-mumble permeating ceiling of the cut. It's prime evidence of Neville’s ability stretch out and pepper a track like no one’s business. Side two opens with a pillow of deep, bellowing bass heaviness, distorted guitar theatrics and echoing vocals that seem to be seeping in from an adjoining apartment. A concise pop-lengthed slab of lo-fi noise grumble in advance of the “pretty love song;” the strummy, jangle petter; the high-aspring closer; “The Screaming Heap.” I have no doubts about Pumice continuing to produce blitzed out masterpieces in the future – it seems that’s all Neville is able to conjure – but still, as a swan song to Pumice’s 8-track, the device that has brought as so much wonder and grit these past few years, this Doubtful Sounds 10” is simply immaculate. -Thistle

Foxy Digitalis

Before hearing this nifty 10" EP, I was not familiar with the music of Pumice. New Zealander Stefan Neville has been releasing material under this guise for over ten years; I knew vaguely of his work through exposure to Sunken, his duo with Antony Milton, but any preconceived ideas I'd had of what he did on his own didn't prepare me for the mesmeric noise-pop of his new mini-album on Doubtful Sounds.

Disarmingly described by Neville in the EP's one-sheet as "dumb punk slop, some tape loop soup, and a pretty love song," the music here burns with great guitar tones, hazy distorted vocals, and a murky, blissful sense of melody. "Fool Fool Fool Moon" manages to evoke the gritty noise scuzz of the Dead C both in the guitar work and the muttered, distorted vocals. The lyrics are indecipherable but the gentle repetition of the vocal melody quickly hypnotizes, as a stumbling pulse moves the morass of blistering, droning guitars forward. It's a great tune as well as a great jam; a four-note keyboard riff signals a descent from the skyscraping earlier sections and the song gently collapses around yet another cool guitar part.

The b-side kicks off with "Head High Tackle," which initially comes off as more of a noise piece, complete with fractured riffing and crunching, primitive drumming. A drunken, wavering groove is established as bits of scorching guitar alternate in the right and left channels. The drums drop out and the tinny, lacerating guitar is left to battle with booming distorted bass. Finale "The Screaming Heap" is indeed pretty, replete with soaring voices soaked with plenty of reverb and anthemically-strummed acoustic guitar. What sounds like a harmonium enters in the song's second refrain, giving some tonal warmth to the scratchy guitar work. Despite the thin sound the song qualifies as a true epic—its deceptively complicated structure runs through several seamless parts as Neville's frantic strumming recalls Sir Richard Bishop or Sterling Morrison.

Sure, it's only three songs—but they're all pretty damn good. Neville manages to touch on elements of past songwriting traditions while infusing the music with the type of spontaneity and intensity associated with noise and improv. It's in an edition of 500, so there should be some left out there. As for myself, I need to check out more of Pumice's stuff. 9/10 -- Mike Griffin

Revue et Corrigée n˚85

Ou, pour ma part, l'occasion rêvée de découvrir PUMICE, le projet du néo-zélandais Stefan Neville. Un 25 cm plein de feedbacks, de titres enregistrés en analogique huit pistes, de boucles de guitares noise à l'envers, de batteries lointaines et lourdes à souhait, de voix au ralenti comme si on était pas à la bonne vitesse. Ça c'est pour les titres "Fool fool fool moon", ballade hantée à la façon Brainbombs ou Hair & Skin Trading Company, et "Head high" morceau le plus proche des ambiances de ses compatriotes Dead C. Le dernier titre lorgne sur la folk sombre de Roy Montgomery (un autre compatriote). Le tout dans un esprit lo-fi à bon escient non sans me déplaire. Pas loin d'être un des disques qui comptera, pour moi, en 2010. Son côté "facile d'accès" s'efface très vite, car à y creuser on trouve quelques trésors cachés de manipulations clairsemées, de larsens contrôlés et de drone dans les basses… Bref, un bon disque quoi. -- Cyrille LANOÊ

Scala Tympani

Pumice (en français : pierre ponce) fait tout l’inverse de ce que laisse imaginer son nom d’artiste : loin d’aplanir les callosités, il aurait plutôt tendance à en recouvrir la surface de tout ce qu’il touche. Et, effectivement, la musique de Stefan Neville (c’est son état civil) a la peau dure et des petits pâtés gris entre les orteils. Du grunge ? Pas vraiment, plutôt des chansons émaciées, attaquées par la rouille et qui rejettent en bloc toute idée de sophistication. Digne représentant de la scène lo-fi néo-zélandaise, Pumice aime les guitares désaccordées avec la pédale « delay » enfoncée au maximum, a une affection certaine pour les magnéto-cassettes bon marché et ne rechigne pas quand il faut jouer soi-même des percussions rudimentaires. Tout ça en même temps, à la manière d’un homme-orchestre qui donne tout ce qu’il a devant un public de cinq personnes au fond d’une cave humide. Trois titres, dont la durée totale n’excède guère les vingt minutes, composent ce mini-album. La face A, noyée sous la distorsion, est occupée par une ballade psychédélique qui n’est pas sans rappeler les tous premiers efforts de Royal Trux ou Smog à la fin des années 1980. Au rugby, un tacle à hauteur de la tête ce n’est pas très réglo ; le « Head High Tackle » ouvrant la face B n’est guère plus aimable avec sa guitare plombée qui s’inspire presque du thème de « Hey, Hey, My, My » de Neil Young, quelques octaves plus bas et pataugeant dans la boue. C’est enfin Lou Barlow (version Sentridoh) qui vient à l’esprit en écoutant « The Screaming Heap », complainte à fleur de peau avec une voix enfouie dans la distance et accompagnée de quelques cordes gratouillées sommairement. Indubitablement sincères, (faussement ?) naïfs, les bricolages de Pumice nous replongent dans quelques poussiéreux souvenirs mais n’en gardent pas moins une fraîcheur quasi-juvénile. ~ jcg

Dusted Magazine

Three more slices from the ever-expanding loaf that is Stefan Neville’s body of work. “Fool Fool Fool Moon” is the lengthy A-side, a trudge out of a single moaning chord into an overmodulated, rounded-off, expansive treatise on wordless love, worthy of the Xpressway stables were they not torn down 20 odd years ago. Of the two B-sides, “Head High Tackle” makes off with the nutzo award that seems to pop off on every one of this New Zealander’s efforts, a big junkyard slog of awkward, abutting tones which gives the impression of giant stone-based lifeforms moving in the early morning. Neville caps it off with a sweet acoustic strum-ballad called “The Screaming Heap” that simply soars off into that AM sky. Possibly the most canonical of the records Neville’s made thus far, in that it feels of a piece with the history written by the brothers Jefferies, Alastair Galbraith, Roy Montgomery, anyone in the Dead C., etc., instead of building off of their notions into something a bit more personal. You will hear no complaints from me about this activity, though; there are enough Pumice records that any change within them, even inwardly-facing ones, is worthwhile. 500 copies, two postcards and a beautiful, understated sleeve. (Doug Mosurock)

Blow Up #149, October 2010

È puro Pumice, quello che ritroviamo nel nuovo dieci pollici dato alle stampe dalla francese Doubtfulsounds. Comincia con una Fool Fool Fool Moon mostruosa, solo feedback e masse deformi che fanno tanto monumento horror all’8 tracce, e prosegue subito dopo con Head High Tackle, struggente folk song drogata da un mood depresso e da rimbombi e precipizi lisergici, forse una delle cose più “sentite” mai uscite dalla penna del neozelandese, pur nella sua scabra, addirittura autistica semplicità. Sul secondo lato, la lunga The Screaming Heap è un’elegia al rallentatore impantanata in un drone da cui emergono scampoli di marcia funebre e vaghi appigli psych, una specie di orripilante e doloroso punto d’equilibrio tra Spencer Clark e Skip Spence. Tre tracce, tre lati e tre anime del signor Stefan Neville. Magari per pochi, ma resta un gioiellino. (7) Valerio Mattioli