(VxPxC)- Drapery Dept.
Recorded in a deserted movie lot office, this ghostly document shows the threesome in full family mode, with a guest in town. The expansive six-member line-up rages distantly at the single microphone and fills the hollow air with a thick sonic fog. "Ballad of the Empty Room" sounds as if you were sitting in the corner of the room and listening to three different bands play in rooms around you. It is the sound of a Titan's lullaby, a massive drift of ice and earth across a sea.
CD-R edition of 123.
2006. 002. OUT OF PRINT
Housing a CD in a square of rough sacking material reminiscent of British prisoner-sewn mailbags of the 1950s and 60s is probably one of the more unusual packaging concepts that has come my way in a good long while. Those responsible go by the vowel-unfriendly name of VxPxC and are a shadowy free sound unit who are based in Los Angeles comprising of Justin McInteer, Grant Capes and Tim Goodwillie. However, for ‘Drapery Dept’, their debut CDR on the House of Alchemy label, their number was bolstered by numerous other willing hands including, if I’m not mistaken, the vocal presence of a pre-schooler, well worth his or her weight in rusks when the question of payment arises. Choosing to record in a deserted movie lot office on a “one mic – one take” basis, their sound contains few “real” instruments - bass guitar and percussion rub edges with whirled hosepipes and audio generators - and from the very first instance, a feeling of nervousness and foreboding is evident in their scuttling and antsy approach. In fact, their titles, such as ‘Ballad of the Empty Room’, ‘In The Walls Tonight’ (with its monk-like chants) and ‘Caged Echoing Footfalls’ are pretty much self-explanatory, and could easily work as an instant audio storyboard for a prospective screenwriter raised on ‘The Innocents’ and ‘The Haunting of Hill House’. This should jolt the spending arm of anyone into the wild talents of Pengo, P.S.I. or that solitary A Band album on Siltbreeze. (Rumbles. June 2007)
If one is to defer to
stereotypes, a band hailing from Los Angeles should be creating music that
reflects hard living: hard liquor, hard drugs and hard bodies (Note: I’m
unsure of that last item; I must investigate further). (VxPxC) – both as a
music-creating entity and as a collection of individuals – is proof that
stereotypes are for suckers. The city in which Grant E. Capes, Tim
Goodwillie, and Justin McInteer reside is a creation of their own. It’s a
carefully constructed patchwork of people, places and things that simply
happen to be geographically located in the same place as the City of
Angels. Listening to the intensely atmospheric sounds they create, I
imagine that the world of (VxPxC) exists outside of the trappings
typically associated with LA. These guys live well, not hard.
Packaging! This one comes in a hand-sewn, stamped burlap sleeve, stamped CDr, and a handsome full color insert (plus the vellum!). (VxPxC) has been around the block, this last year releasing one million releases on two million labels - yet embarrassingly enough (I haven’t hear any of them). From what I’ve read, they are a collective of somewhere between three and six members, which may explain their prolificacy, and certainly explains the expansive and variegated compositions they present on this disc. “Wailing Drones” is actually far more than that, with a variety of voices conversing with a treasure chest of instruments - stringed and otherwise - over gentle crests of live drones. Xylophone stars in the gorgeous “Ballad of the Empty Rooms”, resonating next to where a child tap-dances as her family plays woodwinds in the adjoining room. “Hole Removal Plans” shimmers like a Labradford song in less of a hurry (if you can imagine), until “No Bop Bop Bop” breaks in with the exotic discord of Eastern strings, groans and tones in unrest, and under the conduction of a mischievous child. “In the Walls Tonight”, perhaps the best track on the album, features a simple theme played out through a thick organ tune, accompanied by a weary voice and spacey guitar. Synthesizing the album, this track conjures a swaying, lofty reverie over the rich textures of activity in the acoustic space, again reminiscent Labradford or a less danceable Polmo Polpo. Almost all the tracks meld together nicely, as when “Caged Echoing Footfalls” rises up, adding booming percussion and a near beat to the ethereal spirit carried on from the last. “Phantom Dressing Room” is a dark relapse into the creepy imagery of horror movie tones and swampy moans, leading into the final emergence of the “band” behind it all; “Slow Breath for a New Morning” sees primary elements (piano, guitar, xylophone) coalesce into a focused waltz which dances from the room. Recorded in an old, empty movie lot office, this album has absorbed years of echoes captured in the worn wooden floors and plastered brick. ‘Drapery Dept.’ is an impressive accomplishment for such an active band, and an early victory for the young label. Limited to 123 copies.
(vxpxc) are an experimental
three-piece (though, sometimes they have more members, for this particular
release the line-up doubled in size) who hail from southern california.
the core members, judging by their myspace page, are justin mcinteer,
grant capes and tim goodwillie. tim's little girl cat also lends her vocal
talents to drapery dept.