(Copyright © 2018 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of Use )
Eldritch (2014), 6/10
Uncanny Valley (2017), 8/10
Twilight Dawn (2020), 6/10
Radioactive Boss Baby (2022), 5/10
Prison Jar (2022), 5/10

Stabscotch, a combo from Bloomington (Indiana) fronted by vocalist Tyler Blensdorf, debuted with the ten-song album Eldritch (2014), split between manic hardcore imploding in psychological depression (such as Genganger and Trough Cult) and sonic experiments (like Anhedonia). However, the closing eight-minute Holiday is a different animal, a lengthy expressionist drama over warped electronica, brittle noise and creative drumming.

The 12-minute composition of the EP Ziggurat (2015) is mostly an exercise of expressionist declamation.

Stabscotch then recorded between November 2015 and July 2016 the sprawling 18-song album Uncanny Valley (Visual Disturbances, 2017), a work that defies the laws of physics, or, at least, the laws of harmony. The trio, with guitarist Zack Hubbard and percussionist James Vavrek, covers an enormous range of styles, tempos, and mental states, methodically jettisoning rationality in the name of expressive eloquence. Half of the songs would be enough to candidate the album to most intense release of the decade. Open Sesemji, which opens with the vocalist's obsessive shouting amid roaring noise, is a chamber opera that proceeds at a stuttering pace. Hide Me, a tableau of aimless guitar strumming and ghostly noise, is lost in Pere Ubu's wastelands of free-form music, until it suddenly soars into thundering post-metal. The whirling chaos of voices and cacophony of Hands Undressed decays into a Gong-like musichall skit. Nick of Time begins with a calm and gentle Frank Zappa-esque declamation that escalates into an epileptic fit, sinks into a Zappa-esque collage, and ends with a hysterical Zappa-esque tirade. The Zappa influence continues in the nine-minute Tanic, a Zappa-esque mini-opera which is also the vocalist's tour de force, with an apex of pathos seven minutes into the piece when all instruments collide against each other. The seven-minute Along Alligator Drunes (a visceral peak) struggles with sparse chords and Jim Morrison-ian suspenseful recitation before turning into a punkish rant and a catastrophic funk-metal jam and ends with an odd coda of acoustic guitar that echoes the Pink Floyd's Astronomy Domine. Radio Spiricom is an instrumental intermezzo of ghostly musique concrete and childish gamelan tinkling with a Stockhausen-like symphonic finale. Tdykila-Thuru Wara is the opposite: torrential blast-drumming, carpet-bombing of guitar noise and pompous vocals. Creature Control builds magniloquence over the martial chords of Van Halen's Runnin' with the Devil alternating with horror electronics. The nine-minute instrumental jam The Fugal Brooden Rainforest is an absolute mess: an African tribal and possibly cannibal dance with horribly played flutes that after four minutes is further derailed by accelerating rhythm with the guitar that repeats a runchy riff. The voice returns in the seven-minute Black Effigy Speaks, which pits an acoustic guitar motif a` la Pink Floyd's Learning to Fly against a distorted guitar and industrial clangor. Voice and instruments compete in the brief Unkown Pleasures in crafting extremely painful music (punk, metal or whatever), another peak of pathos but this time crafted via uncontrolled Captain Beefheart-style mayhem. The nine-minute The Spires indulges in minimalist repetition and lysergic vocals before venturing into a demented psychedelic guitarscape, warped and looped into endless transformations. The insane tornado of I Master incubates another terrifying kammerspiel, the third sadistic pillar of the album with Along Alligator Drunes and Unkown Pleasures. The least emotional of their songs, Liberation / Dimensional Snot, despite its carpet-bombing coda, shows that they could deliver a power-ballad if they wanted. Luckily, they don't.

Blensdorf debuted solo with the album Anthrocide (2018), credited to Dizayga.

(Copyright © 2016 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
(Translation by/ Tradotto da Alessandro Rusignuolo)

Stabscotch, un combo di Bloomington (Indiana), con alla testa il cantante Tyler Blensdorf, ha realizzato l'esteso album di ben 18 brani dal nome Uncanny Valley (Visual Disturbances, 2017), un'opera che sfida le leggi della fisica o, almeno, le leggi dell'armonia. Il trio, con il chitarrista Zack Hubbard e il percussionista James Vavrek, copre un'enorme varietÓ di stili, tempi e stati mentali, rifiutando metodicamente la razionalitÓ in nome dell'eloquenza espressiva. La metÓ delle canzoni sarebbe sufficiente per candidare l'album quale prodotto artistico pi¨ intenso del decennio. Open Sesemji, che si apre con le urla ossessive del vocalist in mezzo a un rumore ruggente, Ŕ un'opera da camera che procede con un'andatura balbettante. Hide Me, un tableau di chitarra che strimpella  senza scopo e di un rumore spettrale, si perde nelle terre desolate di musica a forma libera dei Pere Ubu, fino a quando, all'improvviso, non si libra in un tuono post-metal. Il vorticoso caos di voci e cacofonia di Hands Undressed si deteriora sino a diventare uno sketch tipico dei Gong. Nick of Time inizia con una calma e delicata declamazione di Frank Zappa che si trasforma in un attacco epilettico, sprofonda in un collage zappiano e termina ancora una volta con una isterica tirata zappiana. L'influenza di Zappa continua nei nove minuti di Tanic, una mini opera che Ŕ anche il tour de force del vocalist, con un apice di pathos di sette minuti dopo che tutti gli strumenti si sono scontrati l'uno contro l'altro. Il pezzo di sette minuti Along Alligator Drunes (un picco viscerale) lotta con accordi sparsi e recitazione alla Jim Morrison prima di trasformarsi in uno sproloquio punk e in una catastrofica jam funk-metal, concludendo con una strana coda di chitarra acustica che riecheggia il pezzo dei Pink Floyd Astronomy Domine. Radio Spiricom Ŕ un intermezzo strumentale di musica concreta spettrale e gamelan tintinnanti infantili con un finale sinfonico assimilabile a quello di Stockhausen. Tdykila-Thuru Wara Ŕ l'opposto: una torrenziale esplosione di tamburo, un bombardamento a tappeto di rumore chitarristico e voce solenne. Creature Control costruisce magniloquenza sulle corde marziali di Runnin' with the Devil dei Van Halen in alternanza con elettronica dell'orrore. La jam session strumentale di nove minuti The Fugal Brooden Rainforest Ŕ un caos assoluto: una danza tribale africana e possibilmente cannibale con flauti suonati orribilmente che, dopo quattro minuti, Ŕ ulteriormente inquinata dal ritmo accelerato di chitarra che ripete un riff runchy. La voce ritorna nei sette minuti di Black Effigy Speaks, che mette in contrasto un motivo di chitarra acustica come in Learning to Fly dei Pink Floyd verso una chitarra distorta e un clangore industriale. La voce e gli strumenti competono nel breve Unkown Pleasures nella produzione di musica estremamente dolorosa (punk, metal o qualsiasi altra cosa), un altro picco di pathos ma questa volta realizzato attraverso un disordine incontrollato in stile Captain Beefheart. I nove minuti The Spires indulgono nella ripetizione minimalista e in una voce lisergica prima di avventurarsi in un forsennato/psichedelico paesaggio chitarristico, deformato e avvolto in infinite trasformazioni. Il folle tornado di I Master cova un terrificante kammerspiel, il terzo pilastro sadico dell'album con Along Alligator Drunes e Unkown Pleasures. La meno emotiva delle loro canzoni, Liberation/Dimensional Snot, nonostante la sua coda esplosiva, dimostra che avrebbero potuto offrire una power ballad se avessero voluto. Fortunatamente hanno rinunciato.

They also released the 100-minute Witness (2017), consisting of three lengthy droning compositions: Inside Room (29:22), Thieves (30:57) and Tihkal (39:53).

Tyler Blensdorf also released Faux Shaman's Forbidden (2020), which sounds like a cross between Current 93's pagan folk and noise-rock of the 1990s, and Dizayga's Anthrocide - Exit by Accented Figures (2018).

Twilight Dawn (2020) compiles the mini-album 7 is a Cycle and the EP Drama Dragon. Songs such as The Last Alchemist and Glass Bubbles seem influenced by the new wave of the Residents and Pere Ubu. Blood Loves // Satyrs is an impressive show of declamation, but not very musical, ending in a tornado of noise. The eleven-minute Gravity is instead one of their most powerful shock-therapies, a psychotic nightmare of loose violent distorted spasmodic sounds and screams. The four songs of Drama Dragon include the furious hardcore of Jump on the Urinal and Stand on Your Head, with a sideral acceleration at the end, and the dislocated jazz ballad NRG Pisces.

Dizayga also released the mini-album Room on Fire (2021)

Stabscotch collaborated with Five Star Hotel (Melanie Jerome's project) for the chaotic electronic songs of Radioactive Boss Baby (2022). Most of them, starting with Bitch Baby Boss Killer, are abstract sound collages, but too many are ruined by the petulant spoken-word of Tyler Blensdorf. Nonetheless the project yields the demonic industrial voodoo-polka of Kids 4 Christmas and the savage digital hardcore dance of Human Colored Walls, both decorated with a jungle of noisy arrangements.

Stabscotch were a quartet on Prison Jar (2022): vocalist and bassist Tyler Blensdorf, guitarist Zack Hubbard, drummer Scott Mcgough and Dominick Grande on sax, flute, and synth. Perhaps under the influence of Radioactive Boss Baby, the new lineup embraces more electronica and jazz, but the electronic sounds cannot hide the fact that the songs are childish and trivial, whether the violent sound collage Xallelujah Daemon or the virulent punk-jazz jam Monkey With a Bomb or the bombastic noise-rock theater of Sugar Asshole. The collision of punk-rock and drum'n'bass in Hyper Xtal Immolation, or the explosive convergence of videogame music and heavy metal Life Beam, could be interesting if they went somewhere, but instead they remain occasional and tentative. The six-minute Prison Jar has several moments of sheer terror but also twice as many moments of utter irrelevance. The other long song, Love Me Feed Me but Please Don't See Me, is a better example of industrial punk vomit... for about three minutes, before it decays into pointless doodling, making the catastrophic ending a sort of footnote instead of an emotional peak. For what it has to say, the album is overlong. It could have been a three-song EP, and even that would not have been a terribly interesting one.