Truculent – A Worker’s Guide To Transfiguration
10.17.23 by Matty McPherson
“Workers assuage their resentment of laboring for our “corporations” with the belief that we (the worker) are “good” and rise above “evil” (the corporation) spiritually. Economic stoicism loses all importance when you eliminate the temptation of an “afterlife”. Corporations never die, they just rebrand…”
That’s an excerpt from the thick j-card liner notes of Truculent’s latest, A Worker’s Guide to Transfiguration; not a tweet or excerpt of a thread left in the wake of the (likely full) gutting of Bandcamp Daily from yesterday’s news. It called to me through the evening as one tweet or discord ping after another signaled a new breaking point for this centralized network of left-of-center, curiosity-oriented music writing being taken away. Platforming under that banner and the legitimacy of the Daily blogging machine meant something to the long tail niche audience that I’d be damn surprised if it didn’t include anyone currently reading this. People want this stuff and it’s the only way to document an omnibus of sounds that never will cease to come.
Dan Timlin’s dense j-card package struck a nerve with me while on the hi-fi yesterday. Itself a small (socialist-leaning) manifesto, a personal treatise based around “the four imprints” (Eagle, Lion, Bull, Angel). Itself seeking to codify 4 species to correspond to hostile or friendly anger and strength, and present a theory on “living insiding them, while simultaneously being centrally detached from them” towards healing, mindful human interaction. It’s denser than your typical call to action in a cassette.
Yet, within one based around American Primitivism guitar pieces that feature a strong roots-oriented calling card to their swaggering sound, the treatise matches to the music. It’s a sound that itself embodies living within anger and strength on hostile or friendly terms. Cut names reference the animals as much as images of either blight or boon, religion and mythology, amongst the dallies of increasingly absurd life. Many tracks prioritize brevity, snapshots of these 4 co-existing in a mindful balance, where this MO could theoretically play out. As much as recalling spaces of communion, from railyards and backroom bars to the streets of South Philly’s Point Breeze. Amongst caterwauling finger picking and devious dirges, there is a white hot intensity even in Tomlin’s restrain over these 16 tracks.
Strange Mono, a benefit record label, founded in 2021, out of Philadelphia, has been prioritizing these kinds of “bespoke” limited run cassettes and unlimited digitals. There is still work to be done on a mastering level for the format, with Timlin’s delicate finger at an ever-steady presence in the red, it’s tempo slightly run up from the digital’s more clarity-oriented master, lending a jank and zippy character; all courtesy of a Sony CCP-2300 being utilized and pushed to its limit. Yet, there’s a warming quality that comes from such accidents, giving Timlin’s cassette release an unkempt level of quality akin to unpolished Smithsonian Folkaways materials. It’s the kind of crate digging that still calls to me and reminds me that at heart, the blogging never dies, the sounds never die, we just pack up and begin the begin once more. And if there’s any time for a Transfiguration, well Dan Timlin’s tape is right on the money.
Edition of 50 C40s. Clear Shells, Extended J-Card With Liner Notes, Dubbed on a Sony CCP-2300. Now Sold Out at Source