Sign up for our newsletters   

Baltimore City Paper home.

music Home > Record Reviews

Sound Tracks

Magik Markers: Feel the Crayon

Magik Markers: Feel the Crayon

Label:Apostasy Recordings/Arbitrary Signs
Release Date:2005

Magik Markers play the Talking Head Sept. 14 with Sunburned Hand of the Man and Nautical Almanac.

By Bret McCabe | Posted 9/7/2005

New York by way of Massachusetts trio Magik Markers is the next generation of no-wave noiseniks, fleeing further away from sonic fidelity, rock song structures, and whatever conventions you’ve got. But they had to crawl through previous eras’ broken glass to get there. Its 2005 LP-only I Trust My Guitar, etc. (Ecstatic Peace) felt more like a nostalgic concept than a recording. Gregory Crewdson-esque photos of guitarist/vocalist Elisa Ambrogio, drummer Peter Nolan, and bassist Leah Quimby adorn the gatefold cover, suggesting some obtusely psychosexual violence. The included Why the Fuck Are You Here? zine—with the usual brain soup from Thurston Moore, Byron Coley, and Matthew Wascovich—feels very much like the “album magazine”/no-wave compilation Just Another Asshole. And the music itself—five songs on the A side, one long wander on the flip—transports the mind back to Asshole’s art-damaged early 1980s, all atonal screech, almost-tribal drum pound, and urgent vocals from Ambrogio that sound like she’s rushing toward meltdown, fight, orgasm, or all three at once.

Feel the Crayon captures the trio trying to escape no wave’s narrow affront. “Creaking Jesus” struggles to life with a series of low-volume electric guitar flails, 8.5 minutes of arrhythmic binge and purge that swells into an Arvo Pärt-ian feedback hum with martial drumming before finally molting into a hypnotic stomp. Ambrogio’s seductive chill eases the droning finery of “My Sweet” under the skin, where it festers into a clamorous sore. Both parts of “Hero for Our Times” belch with Harry Pussy attack and Plastic Ono Band ecstasy, seamlessly marrying the invasive with the creepy. Feel the Crayon doesn’t demolish any rooms that the Scissor Girls or the Siltbreeze catalog didn’t already plow through years back, but it’s a healthy suggestion that Magik Markers are gamely wiggy enough to see if anything exists on the far end of off the map.

E-mail Bret McCabe

Comments powered by Disqus
CP on Facebook
CP on Twitter