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Territorial Gobbing – Can’t Recall (Cardboard Club)

At the moment there are six musicians working in the UK’s underground/noise/experimental scene that are a cut above the rest. They have been unofficially dubbed The Junk Pack. I will list them alphabetically as that seems fairer. BLACKCLOUDSUMMONER, Cremation Lily, Itching, Knifedoutofexistence, Pale World and Territorial Gobbing. And it is the latter that this review is about. Each of these artists has released a slew of albums, tapes, tracks that really showcase how diverse the underground is at the moment as they speak about how they see the world. Territorial Gobbing is one of the most prolific members of The Junk Pack. On his latest release, Can’t Recall, Theo Gowans showcases why he really is near the peak of his powers.

Can’t Recall opens the album in a jocular mood. After some massive slabs of feedback, a somewhat jaunty motif kicks in. Part of it reminds me of listening to my friend’s demos. All of them would play at once in a garage, with the door firmly shut, and the music would sound even more cacophonous than they imagined. You couldn’t really tell what was going on, but you knew it sounded fun. This feeling of fun is all over the album. Rumour has it Can’t Recall was recorded during Christmas 2021 when Gowans was in the middle of his ‘daily album project’. This gives the music an immediacy that Gowan’s usual output is missing. This isn’t a bad thing. Usually, Territorial Gobbing releases are based around a theme, or idea, and Gowans creates the music from there. Here Gowans is just recording what sounds great at the time. Then either putting it all together later or jamming until he has enough material for one side of a tape. Just after the halfway mark,  a bassline appears from nowhere. There is no beat as such, but it sounds like proto dance music. After some hissing and fizzing a more defined bassline kicks in. Over this, garbled vocals appear. It’s abstract and loose but it sounds awesome. One day I’d like Gowans to try and make a proper dance release. Huge basslines, hulking beats and some utter gibberish ranted over the top. After listening to this it could work so well! ‘Can’t Recall B’ opens more musically. There is the sound of a bass being mangled. It’s hard to know if originally it was a metal riff, garage rock, jazz or just a jam that has been distorted and manipulated. Either way it sounds incredible and strangely uplifting.

After listening to Can’t Recall I’m left perplexed but content. The stop-start nature of the music means that everything is disjointed, but at the same time there are threads throughout that join it all together. At times, it is incredibly sloppy, but music doesn’t have to be pristine to be enjoyable. There is a wonderful DIY swagger to everything that is exhilarating. Look at the artwork and tell me this isn’t fun! Tones that last a few moments reappear later on. They aren’t exactly the same. The second, or third time around they are elongated and slightly skewed. However, they share the same passion. There is something joyous about the album. Throughout you can hear how much fun Gowans is having. He’s really getting off making these drone, blips, fuzzes and wonky basslines. It might be his most enjoyable release to date, whilst being his most inventive. Let’s hope that Gowans has more of these snippets of ideas in the vault as he’s really onto something with them.

 

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.