Toxo-Vomit “Crisis of Life” flexi (Dream-Record 001)

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Describing Toxo-Vomit’s “Crisis of Life” flexi requires a superlative or two. The band name is the best. This flexi is the most obscure record on this list. It is also the most amateurish. (If auctioned on eBay, it could become the most expensive.) Whereas Confuse or Gai were professional antiprofessionals, studied in the imitation of the UK masters of chaos punk to the point that one gets the feeling their broken English was no more broken than that of the average Evo-huffing nutter from the East End, Toxo-Vomit, on the other hand, had a hard time putting together a record. The tracks are listed incorrectly on the sleeve. The center print of the label says “Toxo-Vomip.” And the front of the sleeve actually says, somewhat illegibly, “Crisis of Lfe.” Oh well. One gets the point. I don’t even really need to mention the drawing (or include this scan) for you to get an idea of what it looks like. The record appears to have been the first release on a label run by the Dream recording studio: maybe the blame doesn’t fall fully on the band. But why would a recording studio want to advertise its services with the work of these rank amateurs? Luckily for us, amateurism is the gold standard of shit-fi.

In the latter part of 1986, Toxo-Vomit were a little late for the trend. But their sound differs from Kyushu’s “typical” noise-core noise. Like Rustic Top Dogs and Armed Government’s Error, Toxo-Vomit came from Niigata, on the northwest coast of Honshu, Japan’s largest island. Niigata is the largest city on the Sea of Japan, but it might as well be an Alpine hamlet if Toxo-Vomit are its cultural emissaries. Though this record incorporates the fuzz/noise guitar attack we expect from Japanese noise-core, one can tell from its sound that the early 80s had ended. Although Gai and others had sped Japanese noise-core up on their own, it was European (well, and Brazilian, if I’m to be totally accurate) bands, taking cues from US degenerates like Gang Green, that really put the pedal to the metal, to far beyond the point of musical dissolution, totally, as they said, unhindered by talent. Toxo-Vomit recall bands like Scraps or Kuolema more than Chaos UK, even though it’s far more likely they dreamt of crash landing in Bristol than, say, Lille or Turku. It’s not so much that the Tox-Voms don’t sound Bristolian, it’s that by 1986, hardcore’s sonic limits had been stretched so far by so many that it was impossible for a band aiming for extreme noise not to capture some of what was in the proverbial ether. Unlike for Confuse in 1983, for Toxo-Vomit in 1986 there was no longer a single (perceived) geographic well-spring of extreme music. Maybe Toxo-Vomit never listened to any noise merchants other than Chaos UK and Disorder, but by 1986, those bands had already begun themselves to take influences from bands that had been influenced by them and had adopted their approach of pushing the limits of what was musically possible. I am discussing hardcore here, so rest assured the bad-arsed Toxo-Vomit don’t sound like some avant-garde outfit. Their sound is bare-bones and rough, but it’s also chaotic in a way that evokes the minute faction of contemporaneous noise-core from France, for example, as can be heard on “Imitation.” Their sound is a further permutation of Japanese noise-core, one step removed from the originators but also still one short of the next era, which would be dominated by sound-alike revivalists.

The bad news: my copy of this flexi skips. Badly. It’s definitely a pressing defect, not a warp or a bend. Maybe this too can be ascribed to their status as neophytes in the record-releasing game. (Then again, thousands of assjacks throughout history have self-released records that sound and look professional—and don’t skip—so who knows…) If I fiddle with my tone-arm enough, I can almost get the record to play properly, but I’ll have to save fiddling for another day. Thus, only one digitized track is available with this article. Shame too because you really must hear the drawn-out dirge “Ridiculous Life.” And how.