Essay- BYRON COLEY (Box Set)

Jul.02, 2013

The LAFMS was a lightning rod for pre-punk & non-punk musical whatsis from all over the globe. This compilation deals primarily with the associations core members and their good works, but one of the LAFMS' prime functions was to transform itself (via "mere" extended activity) into a kind of magneto-art-sump for universal noise oddballs. Because it was physically locate-able, and copiously documented its members' gush, the LAFMS drew disaffected weirdos to its hub in the way that doughnuts attract fat cops. Its name became a kind of secret handshake that allowed culturally disenfranchised puds & pudettes to identify each other. Indeed, several of my closest friendships were cemented in the 70s w/ phrases like, "Oh, you know Le Forte Four?" -spoken w/ surprised delight while poking through a new acquantance's records.

In a way, the LAFMS bridged the years between the appearance of Meet the Residents in '74 and 1/2 Japanese's first EP in '77; linking the Euro-rooted sophistication of early '70s American experimentation to the insanely intuitive noise gushing that came about after punk unlocked the undergrounds id. The sound of Smegma was the exact kind of thing that every isolated suburban Beefheart fan imagined himself or herself producing in the company of true peers. The same could be said of Le Forte Four, the Doo-Dooettes, Airway, and most of the other units that the LAFMS extruded. These bastards all glued together choice, disparate elements of musical-fringe-culture like the dedicated, all-American scientific-hobbyists they were.

Improvisation, concrete assemblage, kraut-moosh, tinkling, noise, and weirdness for the sake of weirdness were all perceived as hallmarks of the LAFMS ethos. In a year as dull as 1975, the wee-est taste of meat that strong could be enough to separate your head from your body. Forever. Again. For those who were brave enough to send away for LAFMS records or tapes, its name will gawp forever as a wide portal to a parallel cosmos that could only be suspected in the years before the "cassette revolution" (so called). And since almost no one has ever heard all the material that makes up this voluminous compendium, it is guaranteed to be its own set of trap doors to a very special void.

You are there. Now. Lucky. -

--Byron Coley, Northampton, MA. 1994