PRJ012 - Medicine and Duty Flags and Cannons
- Going down with the ship
- A better place for now
- Distinguished gentlemen be aware
- Mechanical surgery solutions
- The tour guide
- Flags and cannons
- Last of the lives
- Mars battalion march
- Life like life support
- Theories demolished
- Baby, please
- Whale hunting
Released: January 2008
Reviews for Flags and Cannons
Losing Today, September 2008
'Long time readers of these musings will be all to aware of the regard and affection to which we hold for all things sneaking out of the Foolproof Projects headquarters. Basically a vehicle for one Andy Pyne to basically shove a sore thumb up at the music industry at large during the labels 7 year tenure (blimey doesn’t time fly) he’s appeared as / in Puffin Boy, Raised by Wolves and Burning Idiot Noise (albeit via A hare called Lucifer records - which reminds me I still haven’t managed to nail that crucial gap in the record collection with their debut mini album ’E is the closest chord to OHM’). Current obsession and ongoing concern though is medicine and duty who you may well recall delivered that rather superb ’clouds burn slowly’ sometime last year in ridiculously limited amounts totalling just 100 copies. Third outing for Medicine and Duty sees the arrival of ‘Flags and Cannons’ - a superbly sporadic, minimal and decidedly austere delight that sees the trio continuing their ad hoc free association trip through the smorgasbord delicacies of post punk’s lesser spotlight chasing moments. Limited to just 150 copies Pyne and Co run roughshod through a disturbingly patchwork assault of irregular and angular lo-fi home brew, all at once manic, detached and very much skewiff, into their subtle impish art rock template they’ve managed on this occasion to wire in a crooked though affecting rhythmic mindset that draws its inspiration first and foremost from ’flowers of romance’ era Public Image LTD (as found on the looping dread industrial coldness of the ominous drone dub ’mechanical surgery solutions’) and as before elements of Talking Heads. Left Hand still provide them with their nearest port of call reference wise, there’s still that gnawing sense of a dislocated mindset running throughout the core though this time its been tailored loosely into an evolving albeit frazzled freeform and resoundingly unhinged fried stew formed from a hybrid injection of skewed jazz signatures, mutant funk follies, kraut rock (the head jarring title track ‘flags and cannons’) subtle psychedelic intonations and ethnic dialects (non more so that on ‘the tour guide’ with its improvised and upbeat white funk flashes) that will appeal to both chin strokers and head scratchers alike. ‘going down with the ship’ opens the proceedings sounding not unlike a particularly chilled and smoked take on latter career era Quickspace kicking out densely hymnal gridlocked grooves that to these ears sounds like they’ve been hoodwinked from the arse pocket of a McKay / Morris era Banshees. Elsewhere there’s the delightfully unhinged ‘distinguished gentlemen be aware’ with its mini art rock grooved squalling riff freak outs a la Henry Cow infused by a grittily frenzied tension while curiously woven around an archaic Voodoo-esque aura. Lovers of mind warping schizoid electronics would do well to check out the proto new wave minimalist ’life like life support’ while both ’theories demolished’ and ’baby, please’ loosely nod in the general direction of - spirit wise - Sun Ra albeit as with the latter via a detour or two to Atari Teenage Riot central. It’s not until the parting cut ‘Whale Hunting’ do all the disparate and seemingly dislocated dialects all come together to a fracturing conclusion to coalesce into a mind numbing psychotropic mantra does it all begin to make some kind of sense adrift as it is on some cosmic star cruiser chartering deep into voids of inner space. Wired and weird stuff indeed.'
Plan B, August 2008
'Crotchety pixels in revolt against the grapic designer's hand. Or, missing link noise pollen. Or, how to plug wirelessly into chaos in several painful steps. Or, the lusty howls of men demanding hubris comes here and gives them the going-over they feel they deserve.'
www.paperthinwalls.com, July 2008
'Britons Medicine And Duty follow no laws—musical, physical or otherwise. Too carefree to qualify as no wave and not repugnant enough to be “free noise,” the harsh guitar skronks, electrical fizzles and pseudo-Esperanto babbles that make up “Distinguished Gentlemen Be Aware” are often more confusing than pleasing. In its disorder, though, the sheer monotony of the vocal line lifts it from what would be predictable avant-rock dreck. The fact that one member of this trio would react so vehemently with the caterwauls of various synths, feedback and cymbolic pitter-patter seems to be the only connecting thread to the song’s title (also, note the second word in the title isn’t “beware,” making it more a helpful hint than an imperative). With this one shred of congruity—a reaction to their lack of musical rules than a rule itself—Medicine And Duty have created a hypnotic piece of art-rock, a moment in time that will likely never be replicated this well ever again. - KORY GROW'
Foxy digitalis, April 2008
'Manic, muddy yet crisp, Medicine and Duty are analog to dig wreckage incarnate. With definite no-wave leanings, they manage to straddle a line demarcating the formless avant looneysphere they have a hard-on for and delusional pop grandeur, all the while hearkening back to the weirdness of Mars. Yeah. It's that kind of energy. The kind where you turn the lights off, drive down some unfamiliar road late at night and scream for death, all while totally alive. Just have a listen to the third cut, “Distinguished Gentleman Be Aware.” It's like NY '79. No? Yes. While we've heard this (somewhat) before, I'd like to think we still have plenty left in the tank for such obliterative cacophony. 6/10 -- P. Somniferum'
Hell is for Hipsters, March 2008
'This Brighton-based improvised music trio, made up of guitarist/bassist/keyboardists Matt Colegate and Jack Cooper, along with drummer Andy Pyne, evolved from the acclaimed Raised By Wolves and are part of a collective of forward-thinking, experimental acts that also includes Burning Idiot Noise and Puffinboy. Medicine and Duty, however, is arguably the most far-out and unhinged of all of them, operating in a wide-ranging sphere that puts them alongside such cosmic fellow travellers as Sunburned Hand of the Man, Merzbow, Lightning Bolt and Boredoms, and in the tradition of illustrious antecedents from Sun-Ra and Ornette Coleman to Can and Faust to This Heat and James Chance and the Contortions. It’s far-reaching shit.
Cannons and Flags opens with the startling, foghorn warning signal of ‘Going Down With the Ship,’ an urgent piece of no wave skronk built upon an insistent, one-note guitar drone spiked with virulent Teenage Jesus scrape shards of high-pitched unpleasant surgical noise. Barely audible beatific vocal harmonies attempt to sooth our terror as the pummelling drums kick in and we feel ourselves lurching towards the unfathomable depths of the vast dark universal ocean, where Cthulhu doubtless waits.
’A Better Place for Now’ recalls Holy Fuck in the way the untutored analog electronics and primitive guitar klang gradually revolve around the stuttering drums until a heavy, hypnotic, killer kraut dancefloor groove emerges. Urgent calls for prayer in some lost ancient language begin ‘Distinguished Gentlemen Be Aware’ -a language that is nevertheless disturbingly familiar on some subconscious, atavistic level. From electronic squiggles, free form tribal drum rolls and percussive tapping it grows increasingly disturbed and frenetic, never settling, always in motion and up in the air, simulating the jangled effect of several days’ sleep deprivation.
‘Mechanical Surgery Solutions’ is the sound of some hideous industrial machine or Kafka-esque torture device, the needle cutting intricate patterns deep into the victim’s body. Yet it’s an oasis of sinister calm after the preceding number, generating dread white English dub sonics almost in the manner of Cabaret Voltaire. Gradually the rhythms coalesce into something more assertive and menacing, and then it’s time for ‘The Tour Guide,’ in which a diatribe in what I now recognise as the ancient language of Mu (or is it some obscure Lemurian dialect?), is rhythmically chanted in the manner of turn-of-the-millennium art rockers Life Without Buildings. Guitars and drums interject and weave around this fascinating vocal discourse on the flora, fauna, history and architectural magnificence of the lost continent.
The chants and wails grow ever more ecstatic on the title track, a frenzy of orgiastic drumming and wild, Dionysian celebration that is nevertheless continually undercut by subdued, melancholy piano chords. It’s as though even in the hour of their greatest triumph, the people of Mu are still tragically aware of their imminent demise, along with that of their entire culture. Which of course is just as it would have been with a race of people so advanced that they occupied several different time streams simultaneously, and in both directions.
Indeed, ‘Last of the Lives’ begins with a sombre and spartan memorial tattoo for those brave Lemurian warriors prepared to go down with their country. Electronic noise stabs are arranged around appropriately seasick guitar wails, and as the music grows ever more hectic, impassioned and uncontrolled a hypnotic voice tells of the unimaginable courage and suffering of those hundreds of men, women and hermaphrodites who all died with their third eyes open.
‘Mars Battalion March’ is a spiky, sparse and brief interlude of quirky reflection before ‘Life Like Life Support’ once again evokes Holy Fuck with pummelling drums and repetitive electronic whistles and belches that may be a last ditch attempt from a dying civilisation to communicate with our alien brethren from beyond the stars. The results though are scrambled and overloaded- joyous to listen to, but as we know, historically tragic. This song uses the metaphor of the competing stimuli of a man with several hearts beating in different rhythms simultaneously, while hooked up to an erratic life support machine, to convey the intensity and chaos of those final, desperate days of Mu.
But then again, what if all of this is completely wrong? on ‘Theories Demolished,’ guitars, keys and drums all lock into a primal ur-kraut groove as the eloquent lyrics urgently refute all of my pat interpretations, ironically using the formal court language of High Lemiurian to devastating effect- a way of speaking, of course, that was expressly evolved in order to observe the intricate protocol of a decadent empire, so full of ambiguity, allusion, double-meaning and now-impenetrable subtleties that the speaker is never definitely committed to one opinion or point of view.
’Baby Please’ is a temporal anomaly- stray bass notes escaping from a Joy Division rehearsal circa 1978, in a disused mill complex still haunted by the vicious ghosts of dismembered Victorian schoolchildren. And suddenly we’re in howling, churning hardcore territory, beyond the valley of At The Drive-In. Whatever it is, she ain’t doing it.
The last track, ‘Whale Hunting’ is an epic finale. Great titanium-hulled longships set sail across uncharted oceans in pursuit of fabled magnificent beasts, each one the size and temprament of a modest post-war housing development. Here we have all the pathos and drama of that life or death struggle, driven by the martial drums of the whaling ships’ oarsmen and the haunting but deafening cries of the whales that the Lemurians hunted into extinction with laser harpoons and sonar nets, all of which are represented sonically on this song. Is it a metaphor for the state of music in 2008, sinking beneath the waves of corporate indifference yet paradoxically illuminated by the very technological innovations that threaten to destroy it? Probably not. But it’s worth considering.'
Brighton Source, March 2008
'Faols take Konono No.1's rhythms and throw the thumb-piano riffs onto indie dancefloors. M&D take the drum and noise elements, ramp up the intensity of the latter and let the beats drive it through a pyrotechnic landscape that should see it end up at the same herky-jerky body-popping destination.'
KFJC, February 2008
'Bristling British mangling melded with impolite impromptu psych experimental noise rock from Brighton, U.K. Andy Pyne (Puffinboy, Raised by Wolves) and Matt Colegate (Raised by Wolves) do drum freak outs & guitar spasms respectively. Jack Cooper (Guillotines) also lends burnt bass bombs & synths sensations to the mix. All three scream ferociously & execute damaged invigorating tense blasts akin to no wave noise rock psych tinged synth seared stunners. Should you tingle at the sounds of Coughs, Melt Banana, Aids Wolf, Lighting Bolt, Acid Mothers Temple or Jackie O Motherfucker then you’re obviously turned on right now & need to find a cheap motel, do your duty and take this medicine… warning, it doesn’t go down smooth & sweet. Reviewed by Guy Montag on February 27, 2008 at 9:40 am'