Tuesday, 26 April 2016

The Chronicles of Dis (part 8): Disclose "The sound of disaster" Ep, 2003



At first, I didn't really want to post a Disclose record as I originally intended to write about a lesser-known band making to love to Discharge to wrap it up (that will be for next time). But then I thought that to celebrate Discharge-love without talking about Disclose would be a little irrelevant, if not unfair, and, after a few friends pointed it out to me, I almost felt bad. I mean, love'em or hate'em, but Disclose remain THE iconic D-Beat band. I had to do it somehow. So here it is: "The sound of disaster" Ep from 2003.



I have always had a weird relationship with Disclose and, to this day, I am not completely sure if I enjoy the music that much to be honest. For a long time, Disclose were that band on the other side of the split Ep that I bought and that I rarely listened to, if ever. Browsing through my collection, I realized that I had more Disclose records than I originally thought, mostly splits (with Hellkrusher, Homomilitia, Cruelty, Squandered...) and compilation tracks (Crust and Anguished, Meaningful Consolidation, Iron Columns, Chaos of Destruction...). It made me think that Disclose were a bit like that friendly acquaintance that you don't really know that well but that you always bump into at punk gigs. Not really a mate, more like a face that you have known for a long time, got drunk with a couple of times and wishing you would hang out more. And now it looks like the time has finally come.



The first time I heard Disclose (and I think it was this Ep), I thought, not unlike Gordon Ramsay tasting a ghastly-looking, sloppy dish, "Bloody hell, what a mess...". I really didn't get it at all, wasn't even sure of what was actually happening; only Atrocious Madness confused me (pun intended) as much at the time. I was already into bands like Disfear or Meanwhile and I just couldn't figure out why Disclose would go for that fuzzy, murky sound when the Swedes sounded much more powerful and direct at first. Besides, they looked too gimmicky, on the brink of goofiness at times. Basically, I did not get into them at all and never really bothered to actually LISTEN to them (instead of merely HEARING) for a long time (yes, you may boo me). I almost discarded Disclose (pun intended). While I always respected the band and acknowledged their tremendous, but peculiar influence, on punk music, they did not speak to me. I have actually often enjoyed reading Kawakami interviews and writings as he had this deep, unrestrained, articulate, endless passion for Discharge-influenced bands (his mentioning that Death Sentence and Diatribe's guitar sounds had been influential on his playing made me ponder for hours), and yet his music usually underwhelmed me. But the past few weeks have been eye-opening and after spending hours studying Disbands, their songwriting, their sound, looking at their interpretative intent, suddenly it struck me. While listening very closely to "The sound of disaster" (a sound advice given by Zeno), I had an epiphanic moment and realized that I had completely misunderstood Disclose (and I immediately felt like a fool): they were not really about noise, they were about true love.



Contrary to Disaster, Disclose never sounded "just like" Discharge, and I would argue Kawakami never truly aimed at sounding "just like" them, rather he focused on writing and creating art that had Discharge as an ultimate referent pregnant with meaning. I cannot claim to be a Disclose expert, I am not, and although I have spent the past couple of days listening to their entire body of works, I am aware that I have not grasped it all yet, not by a long shot. What I did understand however, is that Discharge were far more than a band or a sound to Kawakami, they were an all-encompassing worldview. His absolute faith in a Discharge-shaped cosmogony became awe-inspiring and I started to admire and relate to the loyalty, the unshakable passion, the unbound love in the face of everything else, quixotic perhaps but also profoundly romantic. And again, I felt like a fool for not seeing it before. If anything, Disclose proved that true love is not static, it was never a silly, barren or stale obsession, it was fluid, creative and generous. Through the impressive (although not so easily accessible) work on the guitar sound and texture that would come to define what we mean today with "raw punk", through the syncretic composition of dischargy riffs, through the clever and witty use of the whole range of D-Beat paces, through the celebration of Dis-referentiality and obviously through the constant re-affirmation of the relevance and validity of Discharge aesthetics, Disclose created a complex but enthralling galaxy of signifiers and signifying where Discharge shone like the Sun.



I have included the obituary that Stuart Schrader wrote after Kawakami's passing in 2007 (it was published in MRR at the time). It is a moving, well-written account of Kawakami's legacy and beliefs that are enlightening.




But let's finally take a look at "The sound of disaster". It was originally released as a tape by Game of The Arseholes (essentially a brilliant fanzine written by Stuart Schrader who also released a couple of records) and Distort Label Records in 2003, but this Ep is the vinyl version that saw the light of day in late 2003 on No Fashion Records, a Brazilian label that was also responsible for more Disclose records as well as works from Subcut, Scum Noise or Agathocles. "The sound of disaster" embodied the Disbones period of Disclose, which basically corresponded to the years 2003/2006. It is quite amazing, given the very narrow artistic requirements of the D-Beat genre, how Disclose still managed to evolve and innovate. Be it their all-out "Why?" period (the "Once the war started..." Ep), their raw Swedish hardcore phase ("Tragedy" Lp) or their late Disbones obsession, the real tour de force is that they always brought something new, notably with their minute work on sound textures, and syncretized an array of Discharge-loving bands while always keeping Discharge as the original building clay. The term "Disbones" might be a little misleading at first (it certainly confused me at the time) as one could be led to think that Disclose were trying to blend Discharge and Broken Bones, which was only (very) partially true. "Bones" didn't refer to Broken Bones so much as it did, quite literally, to Bones. "The sound of disaster" included Bones' style of riffing while he was in Broken Bones (if you listen closely, you will spot some obvious loving rip-offs) and integrates them in the Disclose recipe with added fuzz and distortion. And it works very well as it gives the songs extra headbanging crunch and catchy hooks that allow for some solid singalongs. I really enjoy the dynamics on this Ep which has a triumphant vibe that I feel is perhaps missing from earlier records.

As you can expect, the record is a celebration of Dis-intertextuality with the cover being a blend of the Discharge and Broken Bones' skull logos and the war-themed lyrics displaying an assortment of references.    




As a last word, I am still not quite sure whether I love Disclose music or not. However, I now know that I love Disclose and what they stand for. I have always been a late bloomer...

  

13 comments:

  1. same here. but for me relief was when i realized that disclose were NOT discharge copy, they're more style of their own. for me best record by them is aspects of war 10", but i must admit i'm not expert about them.

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  2. Man, splendid write up. As always. Well thought out & articulated.
    Good stuff man!!

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    1. Thanks!! I tried something a little different for this one because Disclose were different I presume.

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    1. I wish I could but I don't have the bootleg Ep... for now!

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  4. disattack started as a sorta satire of discharge to begin with(1984 )put about in afew fanzines misquoting stuff from actual discharge interviews.. a planned 12" "when" on mick bricks "hay" records..all very very funny. some of these zines i think you can down load(there was abit in wasteful existence fanzine an of course..pheonix from the cyrpt)the tapes pek passed off as disattack then were the g-zet flexi(noone had these records then so didnt know better0 an a live tapewhich was obviously discharge with the vocals removed!..think dig of earache infamy helped out here aswell(see--genocde association tapes) then a year or two later they did became an actual band an recorded a demo that is only popular now because bill steer was in the band! middie was earlier inHEREDITARY DISEASE, early uk hc thrash.. anyone got tapes by them?

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  5. arent dissatack pre carcass band?

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  6. I wasn't the one who recommended The Sound of Disaster. That was someone else in the V/A Discharged CD comment discussion.

    I really appreciate you including the MRR obituary. I'd never seen that until now. Caused me to wonder how many other articles and thoughtful blog posts I haven't seen about him. Another beautiful bit of thought and writing from you. There won't be new music, but there is a tiny bit of satisfaction from stumbling into things like that obituary. In the last 12-18 months, I've been surprisingly aware of Kawakami's absence. Huge fan. Great respect. All that. But really missing new material and new interpretations of sounds and ideas from him. I'm not sure I've ever noticed such a void from an artist. At first, I wasn't able to recognize it as that. What wonderful thing would he be introducing to me NOW, if he was still here? So, I don't only miss not having new, but I also noticeably miss what could have been. Kind of a strange feeling for me in the context of music. People sometimes talk like that, but I'm not sure I've felt it quite like this until him. A strong brick that somehow migrates and becomes a cornerstone. -ZM

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    1. Oops, sorry for that, I got mixed up in the comments then.

      I did find a few decent articles and interviews about him on the web and I am sure there are more. I almost feel bad for not paying more attention to Disclose when I still could instead of focusing on bands at the time that I now realize are hardly memorable... But I can understand how you feel though and I now wonder what Kawakami would have come up with in 2016.

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  7. Excellent write-up and understanding of the art of Disclose.

    I remember seeing a list of Kawakami's top ten d-beat bands somewhere. It might have been in Stuart's Game of the Arseholes, actually...I can see it in my mind, a white square at the bottom of the last page perhaps. Do you (or anyone else) have a scan of it? It was an interesting window into Kawakami's tastes. If I recall correctly, it had the usual suspects like Shitlickers, but also bands who were less heralded at the time such as Diatribe and EU's Arse.

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    1. I can definitely picture that top 10 as well and I am almost certain it was in an issue of GOTA. I think I had it at some point but am not sure I still do. But I know some who do, I'll drop them a line. I also remember a short write-up from Kawakami in which he revealed which bands influenced him in terms of guitar sound, and Diatribe and Death Sentence were definitely on that list (and EU's Arse probably were as well).

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  8. The great thing about Disclose is that when you're ready to dive in, there are two 2CD sets in which to plunge your mind. I've been collecting rips of the releases that came after Vol.2, but I have 7-10 more to find before maybe compiling a final Vol.3. By listening to the CD sets, you aren't missing much. The booklets are nicely done, with lyrics and whatever else Kawakami included with the records. I have rips of both of them, and one of them has complete, good resolution scans (not downloaded from Discogs). Both can also be found at Punk Torrents.

    I'll check to see what GotA issues I have. I believe I'm missing the first two. I'll try to scan and share anything related to Disclose. It's strange that Stuart Schrader doesn't have GotA included at Shit-Fi.

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    1. I would delighted to see the Disclose and GOTA scans as I didn't buy the cd's when I had the chance (silly me, I know).

      I also always wondered why Stuart didn't put his zines online. They were always a great read, though-provoking and passionate.

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