In these days of digital music production and distribution my snail mailbox sees a lot less action than my email inbox. In some ways it’s a relief (I ran out of shelf space for my CD collection years ago). But that fact also makes it all the more special when something more tangible does actually show up, usually unexpectedly and often exceeding expectations. So far this year, one of the most exciting packages to arrive on my doorstep came from D-Trash Records.
After 15-years (at least?) of operations, D-Trash has finally produced a run of t-shirts, and thanks to that delightful mail delivery, I now wear my own D-Trash shirt proudly. But that’s not all that was in the envelope. Even more exciting, in musical terms, was the shiny red USB key featuring D-Trash’s 46-song label showcase complete with high-quality audio files, videos, album artwork and more.
Heavy Metal Adam and I have featured several songs off the compilation on Kill Eat Exploit the Weak (and as I write this it occurs to me we’re due to feature a few more). Despite the uneasy intensity of much of the music on Trash the World, it’s comforting in a sense to re-engage with the work of familiar D-Trash artists like Hansel, The Phoeron, Schizoid and so many more. But it’s also inspiring to delve into a collection so filled with vitality (and admittedly, some honest vitriol) this many years after the label started out.
That red metal USB key marked with the D-Trash logo took on added significance a week or two ago when I had the chance to see Schizoid perform live once again, his own copy of the key dangling from a cord around his neck. There’s a gritty DIY intensity to any Schizoid performance and this one, at Lee’s Palace, was no exception. Accompanied by a laptop wizard and a hooded DJ of sorts, it was Schizoid himself who claimed most of our attention – raw and unapologetic, human viscerality and electronic circuitry in a kind of essential cyborg co-existence if not harmony.
The unanticipated reward for the night, for me at least, was the performance of Japanese headliners Melt Banana. I haven’t been able to get into Melt Banana in their recorded form (the high pitch often inhabited by Japanese women’s vocal performance is not to my taste). But the band’s adventurous music is hard to resist in its live form. Sometimes frenetic,sometimes abrasive, sometimes incredibly catchy… Complexity handled so expertly is sounds almost effortless… And those vocals, embodied in a technology-wielding banshee, so perfectly aligned with the challenging multi-dimensions of Melt Banana’s alchemical brew. I was sold.