Shelf Life
Rheuma (CD-R)
Eh? 2007

1) abbb bbdadpjjd
2) dpjjpabdpdabbt
3) ppajjjbdab pmm
4) jbp ajbdnbrdlb

Shelf Life: Bryan Day, Joseph Jaros, Alex Boardman, Andrew Perdue


(Ampersand Etcetera) A couple of days earlier (29/10) I also reviewed Shelf life's PE release Ductwork - and now they have a new one on Eh? - Rheuma (27) - still a four piece on a range of instruments but AndrewP replaces j.schleidt. The album continues with the ambient improv of Ductwork (and quite a different experience to that of DBH). Playing electronics, keyboards, stringed instruments and probably some processing the 4 build dense ambient spacey soundworks. A dense electronic bed underpins each track over which other sound skitter and pass - it may be some plucked short guitar strings, scrapes, actual guitar solos, and unidentified buzzes and squeals. The mix is somewhat murky, but that adds to the democracy of the sounds, and as with the earlier album the tracks have different feels or moods - the second is more whooshy, the third has squeaky warbles (track titles are 13 or 14 letter codes). In most of the tracks a radio is tuned into the mix, crackling distorted voices adding another mysterious layer. It was probably the guitar in the 4th track, but I was reminded of Fripp & Eno, the density of the ambience also perhaps. In my view ambient music needn't be easy-listening but can, like this album, provide dark edgy soundscapes that can be listened to, absorbing the details, or be allowed to create a distracting backdrop, as they slowly develop and change or throw up nuances. I like what these guys are doing with their instruments and their direction - as Rheuma means flow, just go with it and let the music take you. A fine companion to Ductwork - Jeremy Keens

(Kathodik) “Rheuma” degli Shelf Life esce più o meno in contemporanea con un altro lavoro dei medesimi, il concettuale “Concerning The Absence Of Floors”. Preceduto dall’acclamato “Ductworks” la creatura di Brian Day torna all’attacco. Il patron della Public Eyesore e della instancabile Eh? Records, sotto questo bollo, si lascia circondare quasi sempre dallo stesso manipolo di musicisti-agitatori: Joseph Jaros, Alex Boardman, Andrew Perdue; sostituiti a loro in volta in altri meeting dalla coppia Luke Polipninck e Jay Kreimer. Ammucchiata sediziosa di ambient grezza, che per il 75 % (?!) va in trip sviluppando sostanze (ina)udibili "mucho" acustiche e poco elettro, simili al noise dei Dead C sotto acido e con la smania per il terrorismo sonoro dei Tv Pow. Chitarre (coma fare senza!!!), indefiniti strumenti a corda metallici, tastiere, processori (fondamentali) ed elettroniche analogiche, aeree e diagonali, idonee nel produrre alla fine dei conti una rispettabile parentesi di spaziale – improvvisata – lo/fi. E chi più ne ha, più ne metta: gli SL, molto chiari nella scelta dei titoli (che ne pensate di Abbb bbdadpjjd, oppure della ‘krauta’ Dpjjpabdpdabbt), lo sono altrettanto nella line up armonica, che più ballerina non si può. Si diceva, textures ambientali refrattarie (e pesantemente viscerali nel baratro iniziale di Ppajjjbdab Pmm), contaminate da scampoli di kosmische music casalinga, white noise e radicalismo freak: quest’ultimo, ritaglio estetico sempre vivo e denso in tutta la poetica di Day e dei suoi adepti. Per gli amanti dei pezzi ambient lunghi come autostrade e, parallelamente, consigliato col cuore ai fanatici del lo/fi estremo e colto. - Sergio Eletto

(Broken Face) I guess you could say that Shelf Life is the house band of Public Eyesore as it's probably Brian Day's most prolific musical project. In Shelf Life we see Day teaming up with four fellow musicians to construct detailed minimalism, discordant drone, subdued noise or what about harsh ambience. It's difficult to pin down their sound in mere words but I do know that the wavering minimal tones of their brand new Rheuma album seem to be made to create drawn out low-end drones so haunting that they are likely to affect on both a sonic and physical level. - Mats Gustafsson

(Music Extreme) Dissonances, ambient sounds, atmospheres, experimentation. All this words and more you will find on this recording. Here we have long compositions where the main thing is experimentation with sounds that are twisted and transformed into new shapes constantly. The good thing is that despite being long, the compositions are dynamic enough to catch the listener´s attention. And this is the word: dynamics. Shelf Life experiments with different dynamics and intensities through all this album, surprising constantly with their limitless imagination. - Federico Marongiu

(KZSU Zookeeper) Layered organic noise, old school feel as in living-room recorded cassette sources, "everyday sounds", put together, live mic'ed, etc. All chill, nothing harsh, brutal or otherwise un-listenable. Really great stuff, for fans of Hunting Lodge, Throbbing Gristle, Eno, Spacing Out. Four tracks of 14-21 minutes in length, all very similar, each evolving in different manners. Track 4 is a tad more chill, relying on a held drone-tone more than the others. Choose any. - Your Imaginary Friend

(Touching Extremes) As it happened for another of their releases reviewed here ("Ductworks") I am at a loss for words when it comes to Shelf Life (in this disc Bryan Day, Alex Boardman, Joseph Jaros, Andrew Perdue) . After listening to the 70 minutes of "Rheuma" there's no reasonable way to illustrate what kind of music this is. Is it serious, doctor? Can you see the real me, doctor? Ok - before going to steal that Vespa parked outside the hotel let's just anticipate that this is a great record, but understanding why is very difficult. Several things that usually would spell "defect" work exceptionally fine in this disc. The tracks are stretched, definitely improvised (although forms of predetermination might exist), unfolding bit by bit, cancer cells spreading in an unhealthy body. The frequencies are rather muffled, everything sounding as if recorded in a burrow, at times hyper-compressed. The stereo image seems to have been reduced to an all-frequency jam. Guitars and amplifiers are most likely manipulated, and there should be some shortwave transmission around as well. Sampling, too (...right, guys? What about three-four explanatory lines on the sleeve, so that the poor reviewer who's got no time to surf the web isn't forced to a shitty figure?) The entire jumble often hisses like a hundred geysers and, wait a minute, what's that - chords? - in the third track we hear vaguely Pink Floyd-ish chords, soon scrambled and macerated by yet another accumulation of crumbling distortions and waves. An aircraft flies, a train hoots in the distance (aural illusions, maybe). The sense of anguish never ceases yet the effect is somewhat glorious - principally in the hardly mobile drone at the start of the closing piece (whose title is "JBPAJBDNBRDLB" - does anybody see what I mean, now?). That also ends in Electric Mayhem-land. File under "suburban neighbourhood in the vicinity of Peeesseye and Phantom Limb + Bison", with an ominous touch and more uncontrollable disorders. - Massimo Ricci

(Ragazzi) In SHELF LIFE lässt sich ein Quartett aus Alex Boardman, Joseph Jaros, Andrew Perdue und Labelmacher Bryan Day entziffern, die auf Rheuma (eh?27, CD-R) dem gemeinsamen Faible für bruitistisches Tripping frönen. Gitarrengekrabbel, Electronoise, Bassgebrumm, gespenstische Vokalisationen brauen sich zusammen zu einer Art Spacemusik der mulmigeren Sorte, freakisch und alien, lo-fi, diffus, ursuppig. In irdischen Gewässern würde man das sarkastisch ,Rheuma' getaufte Raumschiff Seelenverkäufer nennen, ein rostiger Kahn für illegale Missionen, mit lauter Galgenvögeln an Bord, die das ungute Rumoren des Antriebs abgebrüht überhören. Ängstliche Gemüter würden statt lose klackenden Eisenteilen eine Totenglocke bimmeln hören, in den Funksprüchen abgehörte Fahndungsmeldungen. So tuckert man mitten hinein in infernalisch brausende kosmische Wirbel, die sämliche Nieten in sämtlichen Spanten ächzen lassen. Hier aber ist das Routine und die Crew schaut bei dem Gedröhn trotz allem bedenklichen Gezwitscher der Bordcomputer nicht einmal aus ihren zerfledderten Lem- und Ballard-Taschenbüchern auf. - RBD

(The Chickenfish Speaks) This is one of those releases that is definitely not for everyone. It's basically experimental noise-scapes with guitars which fade in and out over top of an Erasurhead-like industrial whoosh. This is what I would imagine the soundtrack to be like for a stop motion experimental German film. And like expressionistic art (I'm thinking someone like Jackson Polack here) with this kind of music you either have it or you don't, and Shelf Life manages to pull it off. - Mite Mutant

(Chain DLK) Still from Omaha and Lincoln like Gamma Goat we've another kind of freaks, this time we deal much more with something close to dark ambient even if it would be really reductive above all if considered something close to post-black metal music with which this cd has nothing to share. This is psychedelic crepuscular ambient music the roots of which are so damn planted into kraut-rock that Herzog should bring Kinsky back from the grave and start shooting again the follow-up of Aguirre. Holy shit, Nurse With Wounds, Faust and Popol Vuh would be moved if they're seeing how they made it into the heart of this present generation of "art brut" experimental artists. No hyper intellectualized shit, just a trip for the mere taste of getting lost, America is on its knees today we're again so close to the nightmare of Wall-street that the ghost of some suicidal investor of the crack of '29 is probably waiting for his nephews to reach him wherever he's in his afterlife. The world is trembling in fear these days, dark days "are not coming" they're already here and this music without being too depressive or too dark-wave is still misty, slow, overwhelming and narcotic. We're the descendents of the Pink Floyd generation and this' the logical step into nowhere, this nightly drones and these grey colours won't probably add anything to your collection but without being a copycat of this or that artist these guy assembled an interesting release above all during the closing episodes. - Andrea Ferraris

(Sea of Traquility) More oddball audio torture from the folks at Public Eyesore, Rheuma is the latest release from Shelf Life, which is the project helmed by label honcho Bryan Day that also features Alex Boardman, Joseph Jaros, and Andrew Perdue . Four long tracks, each one containing plenty of bizarro sound effects, electronics, muffled bass rumbles, and guitar noises, Rheuma ultimately comes across as some sort of strange meeting between Robert Fripp's 'Frippertronics' and early Tangerine Dream, except not nearly as interesting. At times ominous and eerie (especially track # 2), for the most part 70 minutes of this type of thing just meanders way too much, and the claustrophobic use of blips, bleeps, clinks, clanks, and wooshes has little if any focus. Still, there's likely an audience for this sort of nightmarish vision, so if your taste runs towards the avant-garde/noise/electronic side of things, by all means check this one out. - Pete Pardo

(Sound Projector) Shelf Life’s Rheuma (EH?027) delivers, in its opening cut at least, the sort of gently-chaotic collage construct drone and noise-lite dribble that keeps me happy for hours, as it spirals out in to never-ending whirlpools of slightly grimy seawater. - Ed Pinsent