MR. STERILE ASSEMBLY – Hulagu CD
Mr. Sterile Assembly
Actually they prefer to be “mr. sterile Assembly”, note the lowercase spelling. I’m not sure why the preference is so, but I suspect it has something to do with the fact that mr. sterile himself is a solo act and the Assembly is actually the realisation of his songwriting onto a more traditional band format.
However, mr. sterile Assembly is NOT a traditional “rock” band, not at all. If you’d ask me what would the lineage be, I would say the wacky early 80s avant-garde new wave bands like Invisible Sex (saxophone tooting UK punk band of the early 80s which appeared briefly on the Urgh! A Music War film), early Devo and maybe very early Split Enz; all especially for the kooky, anarchic nature and also a predilection for colourful costumes.
Unlike their New Zealand forefathers Split Enz though, mr. sterile Assembly is a punk band. Punk in the way Crass and Chumbawamba were punk bands. The politics entrenched deep in the anarcho angle while the music built by bored punks who wanna go further from the usual dirge of doom or the typical thrash, or the three-chords flail etc.
If you are fortunate enough to own and love copies of Chumbawamba’s mid-80s stuff (right from Pictures of Starving Children to Never Mind the Ballots), this Hulagu CD will remind you of those albums. It’s a point where the free-form mid-period Crass of Yes, Sir I Will, taken to a more jolly and punchy area by Chumbawamba. mr. sterile Assembly didn’t try to recreate the same though, they went on a more rootsy area, right from using slide guitars to Black Sea polka to rowdy sailor jigs to a lot of jazzy brass etc.
Another point worth noting is that the band is from New Zealand, and of course that’s where the label Flying Nun came from. Flying Nun is well-known for putting NZ post-punk and off-kilter music up on the Good Musical World Map. Their releases were always a bit weird, with bands such as The Tall Dwarfs, 3-Ds, The Clean, Dead C and all that. Growing up in such a climate surely has affected mr. sterile Assembly. They are uncompromising musical adventurers, mixing all sorts of influences and putting it all together without a care for a manual.
Anyway, here’s a brief from their own site:
The mr sterile Assembly manifest itself around 2002 in Wellington, Aotearoa/New Zealand. Taking many forms in its duration, the Assembly presents its anarchic blend of politics and humor with its ear intent on a theatrical bent. Orbiting around the solo songwriting of mr sterile, the band has taken many configurations, with the most well known being the 7 member line up. This version comprised of the usual bass, guitar, drums plus the additional riotous colour of cello, trombone, clarinet, percussion and multiple voice.
Staunch advocates of the DIY (do it yourself) ethic, the mr sterile Assembly has toured and played extensively within NZ and abroad on their 2005 tour of eastern Europe, in which they spent time as artist-in-residence at CESTA, Czech Republic.
One of the best tunes on Hulagu, it’s a bit more “punk” than other. This is called Feed The Machine
FEED THE MACHINE
Feed the petrol from the bowser
Feed the gas into the beamer
Feed the tape into the tape deck
And dust to vacuum cleaner
Feed the plastic to the crack
Feed the cash into the bank
Feed the labour to the wheel
And the shells onto the tank
FEED THE MACHINE!
Feed a bureaucratic paper chase
Fill the forms in with the proof
Feed the telly full of power
So it can feed you truth
Feed the market with your custom
The things your fed give you worth
Feed the fire to your hatred
That was fed to you from birth
FEED THE MACHINE!
Feed the meat into the oven
Feed the needle to the vein
Feed the world with racist lines
And then say were all the same
Feed the factory with the fodder
Feed the frontline for the trade
Fuel the system with injustice
And say the outcomes self-ordained
FEED THE MACHINE!
more on the band:
Skirted Records on MySpace
mr sterile Assembly
The band is willing to play any sort of gigs, preferably proper gigs and of course, DIY or indie, without sponsors etc. You know the drill lah.