Boomkat Product Review:
14 selected archival works by fearless DIY art experimenter, Jeff Keen (1929-2012), widely regarded one of Britain's most important figures in the post-war avant-garde.
The prolific artist developed an idiosyncratic visual and sonic language influenced by both his formative experience as a conscript in WWII and the explosion in mid-20th century pop art and surrealist thinking. Jonny Trunk was all too aware of his extraordinary output and thankfully builds upon interest surrounding the BFI release of 'Gazwrx' - a 4 DVD Keen retrospective - with this collection of innovative 'Noise Art' salvaged from his Brighton studio in conjunction with Jeff's daughter, Stella Keen. Using WASP synth and Atari PC, a ZX Spectrum, Casio keyboards, kids toys, a microphone and cheap FX, Keen's music was often made to accompany his film works yet evidently stands up in its own right, oscillating somewhere between the Burroughsian proto-techno of Nicholas Collins, the ferric-f**ked sludge of Maurizio Bianchi and Thought Broadcast or the swirling collages of Joseph Hammer and Stephen Stapleton.
They range from dislocated word patterns or "blatz-poems" like 'Rayday' through to fractal funk dissections on 'Atari Sounds 4 Track Mix' and pause-button experiments on 'Mix SynthAtariWasp9', veering into rhythmelodic industrialism with 'Artwar Noise Loop' and the kind of stream-of-conscious sputters espoused by eMMplekz on their brilliant ' IZOD Days' with the likes of 'Rayday Readings', or even John Bender at his most bent in the labyrinthine texturhythms of 'MixSynthAtariWar8'. Yet for all the comparisons, you'll be pushed to find one that sounds quite as demented and haphazard as this fruit. It's one of those albums that just had to be issued into the stream of sonic consciousness, partly for the craic, and mostly for the benefit of anyone operating at the fringes of popular culture.