PRJ014 - Medicine and Duty Don't use 'a'
- Jury rigged
- Maths on fire
- The blind toolmakers
- Horizontal tracking
- Hungry little mouths
- Another grand gesture
- Spring breaks loose
Released: November 2008
Reviews for Don't use 'a'
Hell is for Hipsters, May 2009
'Nothing is certain. This is the latest album from Brighton’s premiere live experimentalists, Medicine and Duty, but even that should be qualified: it’s not ‘new’ anymore, as it came out at the end of last year, and to be honest I don’t know if it’s still their latest. Technically, too, it should probably be called a mini-album, being just seven songs long and less than half an hour in duration. Nothing is certain. And I’m not even certain of that.
The first thing that strikes the listener is that this is a far more mechanically-generated record than their previous releases, or indeed the band’s usual live shows. Matt Colegate and Jack Cooper have left their guitars at home and are credited instead with ‘electronics,’ but they are electronics of a particularly dense and fearsome nature. You could dance to this, but it’s not a ‘Dance’ record. Andy Pyne’s drumming heads boldly out on open-ended expeditions into overgrown and rarely-trod rhythmic territory, where robotic birds fall keening from dark skies and ancient humming force fields wait to trap the unwary. Holy Fuck are another band who started out along a similar path recently, but after the primitive rave-inflected wave oscillations of the album’s opening track Medicine and Duty leave them far behind, exchanging nods with Sunburned Hand of the Man instead as they pass each other further into the wilderness.
The album’s title seems like an injunction never to take the obvious, easy option; Eno’s oblique strategies reduced down to one basic principle. The individual track titles give little away, but point to a general aesthetic: ‘Jury Rigged,’ ‘Maths on Fire,’ ‘The Blind Toolmakers,’ ‘Horizontal Tracking,’ etc. Although all three band members are credited with vocals, the tracks are essentially instrumentals, with any lyrics rendered either inaudible or incomprehensible, chanting, wailing and speaking in tongues: the ghosts in the machine, making their presence felt. Meanwhile, the music moves from claustrophobic industrial noise to oddly beautiful echoes of crystalline jungles, from surreal semi-oriental landscapes to the abstract language of mechanised desire, much like a slim volume of short stories by the late JG Ballard.
Listen: the machines are singing.'
Brighton Source, February 2009
'In an era where some of the most asinine pop music ever known to man graces the nation’s lethargic radios, its antidote and absolute opposite demands to be heard. If you imagine the Yin of this rather poorly thought out metaphor to be Timmy Mallet singing the hits of The Tweenies, so the Yang called unexpectedly into existence to counter it would be free-wave electro terrorists Medicine And Duty. A lot of it sounds like a thousand drum kits falling over a cliff, each landing heavily on a different de-tuned instrument, but we rather like that about it. (NC)'
Losing Today, November 2008
'Absolutely no information with this release so hot off the presses is it that it doesn't even garner a mention on the band / label website safe to say its absolutely essential and no doubt ridiculously limited in nature.
How we love their occasional outings in our (no) neck (blues) of the woods, by our reckoning the Brighton based trio's fourth outing and perhaps their most sporadic, erratic, schizoid and enjoyable to date and veering ever more into extreme left field territories - so much so in fact we suspect they'll be needing a compass and a map to find their way home shortly, 'don't use 'a'' is in some ways a best of Medicine and Duty given that it brings to fruition and frantically fuses the strangely skittish and tribal like rhythmic nuances explored on their previous outing 'flags and cannons' and the maddening friction laced face off between the art rock and no wave dialects that rallied with psychotic delight across the grooves of their second opus 'clouds burn slowly'.
Comprising of 7 tracks and clocking in at just under 29 minutes 'don't use 'a'' is a toxic paint bomb of wiring contortionist anti-pop, acutely austere and decidedly deranged in design Medicine and Duty apply a more freeform approach this time of asking, between the no boundary tolerances (or should that be lack of tolerances) of their no wave mindset noise fractures loom and in their wake a deeply unnerving sense of a non conformist and unhinged anything can happen attitude bleeds through, case in point the seizure like shock therapy antics of the insurgent 'maths on fire' freewheels in the same ad hoc white hot detuned discordance as frequented by some of the media adored support cast adorning Thurston Moore's exemplary Ecstatic Peace imprint while the irrefutably abstract and waywardly flipped 'the blind toolmakers' aside being disturbingly eerie in texture (strange lysergic key cascades, trip wired time signatures…) sounds like a primitive Himalayan jam performed by a seriously shit faced and blissed out Soft Machine undergoing some kind of transcendental pagan ritual with the fried shared mindset of Volcano the Bear and Sunburned Hand of the Man impishly applying their unique brand of strangeness to proceedings (and try telling me that vocal doesn't sound a ringer for an out of his tree Mr Wyatt - go on dare you?).
To these ears both 'hungry little mouths' and 'another grand gesture' still find Medicine and Duty ploughing similarly angulated and austere landscapes as was once the remit of South East London's much missed Left Hand though evidently here as on the latter mentioned cut curdled and scratched by a gnawing and oblique industrial motorik grimness that penetrates and pierces with such chilled blankness you'd swear it was some mutated afterbirth resulting from the cross wiring of PIL's 'metal box' and 'flowers of romance' by a Henry Cow / This Heat collaboration.
Elsewhere there's the disjointed trance like Dadaist futuro funk and spiked pulsing rhythms of the head jarring 'jury rigged' which sublimely erupts into a melt down finale not before recalling elements of drummer Andy Pyne's previous melodic incarnation Puffin Boy as it makes for a skewed slice of frayed and monotonously mind wiring minimalist agit electro charged death disco kraut coded gridlocked groove (think that covers it) - think early Cabaret Voltaire in a face off with a particularly evil Devo. Though much in love with mind erasing slabs of detached drone and generally demented This Heat (again) inspired out there turntable terrorising are best advised to retune your headsets for the fly in the ointment styled 'horizontal tracking' while the flawed jubilance of the chiming cascades (yes you read right - chiming cascades) and repetitive mantra like montages of the parting 'spring breaks loose' may well usher in a sense of brief respite from the overall edgy tonalities that define 'don't use 'a'' and even perhaps have you casually smiling fondly while you simultaneously cast a cautionary eye towards the turntable half expecting a twist in the tail - which incidentally never arrives.
For fans of sounds damaged, bent out of shape, off road and wilfully off radar as always thoroughly recommended.'