Written and recorded within one week, this eight track CD will be smuggled out of gigs for not much money and then treasured by its purchasers for a long time to come.
Its 25 hectic minutes are a bit of a mess. Which is pretty much the point. Anthony Wright (Ant) and Daniel Brader (Dan) are bass and drums respectively, with each as culpable as the other of wedging in plenty of additional distortions. eruptions, squeaks and dysfunctional aural blemishes whose origins cannot (and probably should not) be guessed.
One way to imagine how much you might love it would be to start somewhere like Fripp and Bruford on a good day. Get Bruford to play bass, Put Fripp behind the drums without a stool and let them play to a punk audience for an hour and then send then home while the audience nominates two unlikely candidates to emulate what they have just heard without rehearsal.
Maybe I exaggerate a little. CASTROVALVA are a fresher and newer breed than KING CRIMSON, and are probably much more influenced by later generation's post-punk reformulations of rock's primary sources.
But whether I exaggerate or not, it's that joyous recklessness that makes CASTROVALVA what they are. A visceral, outrageous experience of sanity refusal. Very big, not very clever, but intuitively right on the ley line joining Hawkwind to the imagined senescence of Melt Banana.
The main voice is damaged-sounding cymbal splashing and dry hi-tom battering competing with an outrageously disintegrating bass sound. The energy and the tempo keep it moving and there are moments of deeper cunning for variation (and humour's) sake.
"London Kills Me" adopts some atypically well-ordered electronica to unsettle listeners midway through the programme. And then "My Father Bleeds History" restores the belching heaviness to everyone's huge relief. It's more or less the same riff as the earlier (improvised) "Dream Carpet", but louder and a fraction slower. With lashings of pitch-bending noise to puncture (if not punctuate).
"Bellhausen" Germanifies label owner Tom Bellhouse and includes some worrying falsetto voices in space rock style (but not as we know it).
My favourite part is the exchange of punches that open final riff "Triceratops". It seems to be the very Jurassic Beast itself, engaging in some kind of self-mutilating identity crisis, flailing around to rip itself apart one spasmodic thrash at a time.
With music like this being churned out on wing-and-a-prayer labels of love like Brew Records there is absolutely no danger of expressive, rule-breaking, impassioned music ever going away. Three cheers.