Description: Shifting Collective
Known Members: Junk Nurse
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The beauty of underground music is that you never know quite what is gonna turn up from the murky depths. Coupled in with a label who knows their stuff (Cardinal Fuzz), then its always intriguing to hear something that has been dragged kicking and screaming from the depths of nowhere to see the light once more. Sometimes the music is best left alone, other times though, like with Hopital De La Conception, there is almost a mythical quality to it. That the band retain an air of mystery around who they actually are, makes this all the more intriguing.
A set of two lengthy instrumentals built around electric guitar, the meandering tunings and lo-fi fuzz perform the rather neat trick of sounding like something that should really be left alone. There is a grimy quality to it all which reeks of that layer of the underground that is below the underground. You dig? The places where only hardy souls venture in the depths of night after the hedonistic kick of The Heads has worn off and you need to find a come down. The nurse will help you, that is, the Junk Nurse who provides the requisite guitar thrills that you need, albeit wrapped up in a dirty syringe of chords and feedback. You thought Sonic Youth could sound filthy? You heard nothing yet.
The base grime that seeps through these two tracks picks at the itch that develops as you become increasingly entranced by the vision of the electric chair staring bleakly back at you. The music becomes a kind of Southern Gothic operatic cry of pain as it bursts forth from it’s bastard birth. Enveloping you in waves of distraught energy, it becomes a caressing un-soul ready to devour your insides, leaving just a spirit, lost but not alone, as other worthy travellers seek to experience the same music. It becomes an addiction, a cult, much like the rumoured videotape from Ringu, only instead of Sadako crawling out of a well and into your very fears, it is the ravaged sound of Hopital De La Conception. You probably need some sort of medical relief once its all over.
For those willing to seek further into what psychedelic music can mean then this is a perfect reminder that outside the underground is another layer of music which simply doesn’t fit anywhere. To the uninitiated it may sound simply unlistenable but to the seasoned traveller, it become a mantra for something more. That search to expand horizons and understand what it is that drives people to make such experimental music, albeit this time simply from a bastardised blues guitar.
Perhaps it’s the knowledge that whoever made this knew that they were never gonna make any money out of it, or that there are just some crazy fuckers out there who want to make you feel that you really have only scratched the surface of music out there, and that if you keep scratching that itch, then the real, pulsating soul of it all will start to ooze into your life. Either way, by the end of it all you are probably gonna be left staring into space. — Echoes & Dust
What’s better than pure guitar-on-guitar action? Nothing but, of course! With this in mind, Electric Rockin’ Chair is an uninterrupted 35-minute, free-form flow that takes no prisoners, all guitar all the time. Led by the mysterious Junk Nurse, Hôpital De La Conception is more Louisiana than it is Louis XIV, a bluesy porch-dwelling freak-out plugged straight into the mains to fry. Swampy strumming gives way to strangled slide and atonal wah, liquid soloing overtaken with noodling layers as the über jam really begins to take hold. Tapping directly into your scrambling synapses, a smear of spartan, near-spoken word descends into guttural chant, wild feedback further scuzzing proceedings up whilst underpinned with a rhythmic chug.
A kind of double-speed take on Dylan Carlson’s head music at this point, side B comes on quick with graunching feedback terrorising the waveform with abject noise, wild whammy indulgence going off like an untamed firehose. Driven ever forward with a motorik groove, this second slab of endurance rock twins its raw garage production with nimble fingers working a few melodies out of the fret to vary the tempo and texture, unadulterated wah otherwise splashing primitive funk onto the canvas too. Every last bent tone and off-notation scrape and pop is eked out of the strings and guitar body, this monolithic listen eventually falling out to fuzzed-out Swans-like intensity to close. When it all gets too much, taking refuge within the walls of the unforgiving Hôpital De La Conception may be a blessing in disguise. — Sic Magazine
head-scratcher of a platter from a triumvirate of labels (Feeding Tube/Cardinal Fuzz/Opaque Dynamo) births the mysterious debut and sole artifact from France’s Hôpital De La Conception. The record is swift to note that it features Junk Nurse, but he seems to be the only avatar piloting this thing through the blooze swamp foot stomp anyhow. The record is ripped and ragged – zeroed in on an Earth’s core riff that drills down to the very kernel of psychic consciousness. There’s a dogged locomotive rhythm to the record, constantly chuggin’ through the smoke curls and feedback flutter. That hypnotic heave anchors “The Electric Rockin’ Chair” to the concrete so that it doesn’t get flayed clean by the storm swirling about it. The Junk Nurse doesn’t relent, plowing this one through a “Sister Ray” / Don Van Vliet vortex caked with noise and cursed to rumble for all days.
The album’s just the one song – flip it and it starts chuggin’ all over again like a lost soul condemned to scream sonic fury for all time. If this is Dante’s soundtrack to scuzz, then when the fury kicks up, the Nurse has you hitting your head on every wrung of the inferno before laying limp on the floor and begging for no more volume. The Hôpital and Junk Nurse hear your plea and turn the thumb down. The riff will rage and you will be inflamed with the body buzz of chooglin’ fury once more. Into the abyss, let it lock down and linger. That’s what I say. Now as for all the mystery, shadows and riddles about who’s behind this opus of guitar offal. I don’t know about you, but the possibility that the only other record to come out on France’s Opaque Dynamo is from GR (aka Gunslingers’ Gregory Raimo) makes this one a very good bet. Who knows who the Nurse serves but if its outta that camp, I’d put my money on it being a necessary pickup. — Raven Sings The Blues
As far as personal listening concerns go, Hôpital de la Conception’s THE ELECTRIC ROCKIN’ CHAIR tape continues to be my number one nighty-night fave listening experience, oozing me into sonic dreams that only Lou Reed was once capable of having! Let me tell you, it’s rock ‘n roll like this that really gives me the spirit to get up in the morning and face life knowing that there still is a streak of bared-wire intensity out there somewhere and that existence out there is not all sicko decadent stuff the kind YOU like to wallow in. Hope that things do get brighter even if I have to rely on 40/50-plus-year-old material in order to get those proverbial jams kicked out, at least in my mind…
When it comes to the early French punk rock groups you undoubtedly never heard about before, European Son might have been one of the more tasty of the entire batch of obscurities who should have released something but remain forgotten because of their misfortune even to this very day. Perhaps somewhere in between the atonal flow of Mahogany Brain and the arrival of Metal Urbain (at least from the few reports extant they were!), European Son were a two-guitar and two-guitar only group who wore their influence on their name. Not only that but the two were perhaps one of a handful of seventies acts to actually tackle “Sister Ray” long before the Velvets’ more cute and camp influences began to penetrate the hearts and minds of acoustic buskers and other precocious jellybabies, people who never were able to stomach the real reason for being that I would have ASSUMED was part and parcel to the Velvet’s entire reason for existing in the first place.
Like you, I never had the opportunity to hear European Son and they do rank on my list of various VU-minded acts who never released any documents I must hear sometime in the near future. However it is a WELL KNOWN FACT that this new French group, Hopital de la Conception, is the SPIRIT AND ENERGY OF EUROPEAN SON WOOSHED INTO THE MINDS AND BEINGS OF TWO OF THE TRUE HEIRS OF FRENCH UNDERGROUND ROCK BRAVE ENOUGH TO ACTUALLY CHANNEL THE FERAL ELEMENTS OF THE VELVET UNDERGROUND INTO THEIR OWN DECADENT DNA, and I really do mean it.
Two tracks (flip the tape over and it’s the exact same thing!) that surprisingly enough have that “Sister Ray” hard-nosed Velvets drive which kicks up the spirit and makes you PROUD that you are a mammal and alive in the here and now if this is any indication of what the future shall bring us in music. Like European Son this is two guitars (and vocals) and nothing else, with loads of feedback, atonal soloing, repeato riffs and that whole general basement/bedroom/garage recording rock ‘n roll that’ll get you up and moving like you did when you’d rush to the mailbox and open up the latest issue of TAKE IT! even before you got to your welfare check. It’s that much Velvet homage and thankfully eschews all of the sappy sweetness that never really was part of that group’s heritage no matter how many versions of “Sweet Jane” you may hear strummed.
Yes this “Electric Rockin’ Chair” is rockin’ me crazy (the package this came in sez INTENSE SATURATION INSIDE and who am I to argue?) and I suggest that you send these guys (or at least Gregory Raimo) some filthy lucre and hope he sends you something back. And (as Peter Laughner said about the Electric Eels) just hope it doesn’t bite you when you open the thing! — Chris Stigliano, Blog To Comm